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Cameron bumps Cameron off the TV schedules…

After months of wrangling, the broadcasters have finally confirmed their line-up of TV debates ahead of the General Election on May 7.

The matter of who would be included in the debates and when they would take place had been going on for what felt like a lifetime.

But to make matters even more confusing, the first of the debates – this Thursday (March 26) on Channel 4 – replaces a dramatised version of what went on behind closed doors when the coalition Government was formed in 2010.

Coalition, which stars Mark Dexter as Conservative Party leader David Cameron, Bertie Carvel as Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and Ian Grieve as former Labour leader Gordon Brown, has now been moved to 9pm on Saturday March 28.

The drama also stars Sherlock and League of Gentleman star Mark Gatiss as Labour’s former business secretary Lord Mandelson. Written by James Graham, the show focuses on Clegg whose popularity surged after the TV debates in 2010.

Gatiss will also be starring alongside Dame Judi Dench, Catherine Tate and EastEnders star Timothy West in a new stage play called The Vote, which opens on March 30 but will be broadcast live on More4 on election night – May 7. The play, also written by Graham, stars Dench as a voter who turns up at a polling station accompanied by her daughter who will be played by her real life daughter, Finty Williams.

So, plenty to feast your eyes on in the run up to polling day then!

Here’s a breakdown of all the programmes:

Thursday March 26,  The Leaders’ Interviews, Channel 4 / Sky News 9pm

A live 90-minute question and answer session with David Cameron and Ed Miliband. Both will be interviewed separately by Jeremy Paxman before Sky News presenter Kay Burley moderates questions from the audience.

Saturday March 28, Coalition, Channel 4 9pm

Coalition is based on the events leading up to the 2010 general election and the negotiations between the political parties which led to the formation of the current coalition Government.

Thursday April 2, The ITV Leaders’ Debate, ITV 8pm

David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, Ukip’s Nigel Farage, the Green Party leader Natalie Bennett and Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood will take part in a live two-hour debate. ITV News host Julie Etchingham will have the task of keeping all seven of them in order.

Thursday April 16, BBC1

David Dimbleby will chair a debate between Ed Miliband, Nigel Farage, Nicola Sturgeon, Natalie Bennett and Leanne Wood.

Thursday April 30, BBC1

Prime Minister David Cameron, leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will be quizzed separately by the audience in a Question Time special. David Dimbleby presents.

Thursday May 7, The Vote, More4 8.30pm

Live broadcast of a stage play in which Dame Judi Dench plays a voter who arrives at a polling station accompanied by her daughter.

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