I have just emerged from the media room at the Hospital Club (a screening for one; rather a strange experience) after watching the WikiLeaks movie The Fifth Estate. I didn't have high expectations, since the film is currently running at only 35% on the aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes, but I was pleasantly surprised; Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Julian Assange with demotic conviction, was brilliant, as were Daniel Bruhl as his co-conspirator Daniel Berg and David Thewlis as the Guardian reporter Nick Davies. The film itself is, by and large, pretty compelling and its subject matter thought-provoking.
It begins by presenting Assange and Daniel Bruhl as the natural heirs to Woodward and Bernstein, but then suggests their mission was undermined by Assange's ego and fanatical commitment to telling the truth in all circumstances, whatever the damage.
We will be discussing this with our panel on The Agenda tonight and it has reminded me what a privilege it is to be able to present this show, the only forum I can think of where you can hear political leaders discussing cultural issues and their implications as much as political ones. We had Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg, George Osborne, Harriet Harman, William Hague, Boris, Ed Balls and many others discussing all kinds of things in the last season, but for me the highlight was talking to David Cameron and Stella Rimington, the former head of MI5, about the last Bond movie and what it was actually like to have to make those life or death decisions for real.
We are on air for ten weeks now and then back again for ten weeks from early February. So do seek us out. We'd like to think the show is warm, thoughtful, intelligent and fun. Just what I hope we need on a Monday night.
Oh, and we are the only show we know of that has maintained a rigid 50/50 gender balance amongst our guests.
- The Agenda with Tom Bradby will be broadcast on ITV tonight at 10.35pm