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Head to Head

Head to Head: Testimonials

Guests, panellists and members of the public share their views and opinions about the programme.

Head to Head is Al Jazeera’s forum for ideas, hosted by Mehdi Hasan. In each episode, he asks probing, hard-hitting questions and goes head to head with a special guest to tackle some of the big issues of our time in front of an opinionated audience .

Al Jazeera asked some of the show’s guests, panellists and members and public to share their views, opinions and feelings about Head to Head . This is what they had to say:



Richard Tice

Chair of the Brexit Party in the UK

“The ultimate challenge is both to survive and enjoy an hour of intense Head to Head with Mehdi Hasan. It sharpens you up and keeps you on your toes. I loved it!”


Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Former NATO Secretary-General

“A razor-sharp and exciting debate on important issues. I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the Head to Head programme.”


Lt Gen Michael T Flynn 

Former Director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency

“I found Head to Head and my interview with Mehdi Hasan as challenging an interview as I have ever given and the important issues debated shine a light on the very serious challenges our world will face in the coming decade.”


Lt Gen Asad Durrani 

Former Director General of the Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)

“I thoroughly enjoyed the entire process: the run up to the arrival in Oxford; the briefing and conduct by the team before I was ushered in the arena; and indeed the event itself. It was lively to say the least. The host kept the heat on, as he must; and the audience, even those whose feathers I must have ruffled, applauded sportingly whenever it was required.”


Viviane Reding

Former Vice-President of the European Commission

“Mr Hasan is a tough and impressive interlocutor and we sincerely appreciated the strong exchange.”



Dr Mowaffak al-Rubaie 

 Former National Security Advisor of Iraq

“I was extremely impressed with the huge amount of administrative effort which was put into the preparation of this programme. I was deeply touched with the warm reception and the meticulous attention to details in the run-up towards the actual appearance in the program. As for the set-up, the audience and the guests (pros, cons and the impartial academic) and the venue were unique and distinctive.”


Gen Sir Mike Jackson

 Former head of the British Army 

 “It was a fascinating debate, it was very good to be back in such splendid surroundings. It’s only when you get a good debate that you start to bottom out some of the, dare I say, somewhat superficial statements.”


Jimmy Wales

Internet entrepreneur and co-founder of Wikipedia

“It was exciting and dramatic and fun.”


Professor Norman Finkelstein

Political scientist, activist, professor and author

“My most vivid memory of doing a Head to Head programme is the professionalism of the staff. They’re smart and serious, competent and confident. In a word, Head to Head is the model that must be duplicated elsewhere in the Arab-Muslim world if that portion of humanity is ever to get a fair hearing in the West.”


Robert Wistrich 

Author, Antisemitism, the Longest Hatred

Head to Head is a unique and challenging experience especially for the invited guest who finds himself being grilled and tested in sometimes unexpected ways. The audience atmosphere is electric, Mehdi Hasan is a tough interviewer and the panel contributes its own viewpoint to what was already a controversial topic.”


Dr Arthur Laffer

Former Reagan economic adviser

“The show was high energy and covered a broad range of serious topics, and Mehdi’s fast-paced questioning was just what this doctor ordered. Being 74 years old, I was very happy to see how the whole programme turned out, especially given that I did pretty damn well.”


Nicholas Cheeseman

Professor of African politics and author   

“I have rarely seen a TV programme that has been so carefully researched or thoughtfully put together. This gives rise to such an intense and thorough debate that the audience are on the edge of their seats. To make serious analysis and discussion this entertaining is a real skill, and a rare one.”



Steven Woolfe

UK Independence Party MEP and migration spokesperson 

“A high-level, intense, informative style of debate that discusses the big issues facing our nation and world in the 21st century. It certainly kept me on my toes, to maintain such a high standard of articulation and debate.”

Agnes Gitau 


Analyst and commentator

“Head to Head is a testimony of the critical role the media plays towards social, political and economic development of our society. Mehdi in this programme nails it, forces the audience to remove ‘the veil from our eyes’. He asks questions a journalist in my country would never ask. The great efforts behind the scenes in preparation of the programme are commendable. This can only be summarised as follows, when you invest in media, you get quality!”


Ghada Karmi

Palestinian activist, author and academic

“Doing Head to Head with Mehdi Hasan and team has been a total pleasure. A bright, friendly group of people who make one feel welcome and special; an incisive, charismatic presenter; and a smooth professional operation. It’s one of the most interesting TV programmes around, sharp, educational, provocative, and fun. Long may it continue.”


“I think the programme was very well prepared – lots of aspects of Russia’s political life were covered. I also liked the audience – mostly young and well-informed.”


British historian and author

“Head to Head is probably the leading English language debating programme on TV. I was very impressed by the quick-fire questioning of Mehdi Hasan who was very well briefed. Russia is a highly controversial subject and this came out well during the debate.”





David Goodhart 

British journalist, commentator and Director of the think tank Demos

“This is one of the most sustained and serious – and feisty – arguments I have ever been involved in on television.”



Dr. Titilola Banjoko

Senior Research Associate – The Foreign Policy Centre

“The programme presents its audience with the ability to analyse and engage in areas that mainstream media avoid.  By doing this, it brings the avoided conversation to light and better informs its viewers, panellists and the expert. This will benefit the global society to understand each other 


Andrea Stuart

Award-winning feminist author and lecturer

“What an extraordinary programme Head to Head is. It allows its audience and panel guests the opportunity to interrogate the most significant thinkers of our day. A must see.”


Hana Riaz 

Founder and Director of The Body Narratives NGO

“Head to Head doesn’t shy away from the hard and gritty topics that matter. Mehdi Hasan sets the basis for a challenging exchange. It is the unique format involving the guest, panellists and audience, however, that renders critical dialogue on-going long after the show ends.”


Richard Itaman 

Nigerian economist & researcher

“The probing nature of Mehdi’s questions to unravel ambiguous answers reveal that there are subtle differences in what we individually agree to be the solutions to the problems of the world. But these subtleties end up shaping our world very differently.”


Richard Kuper

Former Chair and Spokesperson, Jews for Justice for Palestinians

“I thoroughly enjoyed being a panellist on Head to Head. I was most impressed by it all: the professionalism, enthusiasm and energy of the entire team, the substantial research preparation, Mehdi Hasan’s well-chosen questions and pressing interventions, politely and incisively, firmly but fairly holding the main speaker (and panellists) to account. I feel privileged to have taken part.”


Jonathan Arkush 

Barrister & President of Board of Deputies of British Jews

Head to Head is a very impressive programme. Mehdi Hasan is an incisive interviewer and comes well-prepared. He chairs a lively and fast-paced dialogue with the main speaker, panel and members of the audience. It was a stimulating experience to be on the panel. The highly professional team of organisers also deserve a strong commendation.”


Richard Sakwa

Author & Professor at the University of Kent

Head to Head is one of the most challenging and stimulating forums for genuine debate and dialogue on the most important issues of our day. Mehdi conducted the discussion with dignity while ensuring that the tough questions were not only asked but also answered. Fast-paced, furious and fun, this is political broadcasting at its best.”


Alexander Nekrassov

Former adviser to the Kremlin

“I have enjoyed taking part in the recording of Head To Head. I was very impressed by Mehdi Hasan and the way he conducted the interview with former NATO boss Anders Fogh Rasmussen. I was also impressed by the coordinated work of the whole production team that made it possible to record the show without a single hitch. Bravo!”


Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

Journalist and author

“The format is unique – tough anchor and an involved audience – it feels like real hard talk, not [a] made for TV performance. I think it changes people’s minds – which is a very rare and great achievement.”


Peter Oborne

Chief Political Commentator of the Daily Telegraph

“It’s absolutely superb TV, [an] amazing event.”



 Dr Ann Pettifor

 Director of Prime: Policy Research in Macroeconomics

“Mehdi Hasan holds feet to the fire in this series about the big controversies of the day. He leads participants through serious debate and challenges both experts and the wider public to think afresh about important themes and issues. Intellectually stimulating. Unmissable.”


Professor Costas Lapavitsas

Professor of economics at SOAS, University of London

“What a pleasure it was to take part in a penetrating discussion on contemporary capitalism staged by a leading global news company. And all in the hallowed grounds of the Oxford Union. Congratulations to Head to Head for its audacity and skill.” 




Sharif Nashashibi

Journalist and analyst on Arab affairs 

“I felt privileged to be a panellist on Head to Head. I particularly appreciated the interactivity between the guest, panellists, audience and Mehdi, which made for a diverse,lively and thought-provoking debate.”


Dr Barak Seener

Middle East Associate Fellow of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)

Head to Head was extremely heated, presenting foreign affairs in a dynamic manner by encouraging broad participation, grilling Bernard Kouchner in a no-holds barred manner while providing him the platform to air his views. Mehdi Hasan is unique in his ability to be analytical and passionate simultaneously.”


Professor Stephen Chan 

Professor of international relations  at SOAS, University of London

“He [Mehdi] is immaculately researched and fiercely combative. Head to Head is probably the English-speaking world’s most sustained thinking-person’s programme.”

Professor George Joffe


Research Fellow at the Centre for International Studies, University of Cambridge

“I found the programme a fascinating mixture of very direct questioning of an invited guest by Mehdi Hasan, leavened with expert comment and, at the end, direct questions from the audience.  As such it combines the best features of face-to-face interviews, testing of opinions and claims against expert evidence, and an exposure of the guest to popular comment
and criticism. It is really quite a feat to combine all three aspects successfully!”


Adam Memon

Head of economic research at the Centre for Policy Studies, UK

“The team was welcoming and professional and the subject matter was thoroughly engaging. A very well put together programme!”