Last night I settled down in front of my television to watch my good friend, Shazia Awan, take part as a panellist on BBC 3’s Free Speech.

While I didn’t agree with everything she said, I thought she made her points in a clear and concise way and I was proud of her performance.

But what was even more heartening was the contribution from the audience. Free Speech is a programme for young adults run along the lines of Question Time, and while those asking the questions had less life experience than the QT crowd, they weren’t any less passionate and that was great to see.

Youngsters all too often get a bad press (I should know I’m a journalist!) for being disengaged and lazy, but those on Free Speech were anything but, taking the panel to task on issues ranging from the economy and unemployment to gay marriage and the way women dress.

Watching them take part in the lively debate made me nostalgic for the time Shazia and I were their age. I remember sitting with her in our school common room discussing our futures, and we were both determined to be on television – something we have both achieved.

And watching the next generation perform on screen last night I’m convinced they’ll be just as successful as we’ve been, and probably even more so.

Shazia and me (several years ago!)

Shazia and me (several years ago!)