I wondered if the image of those three approaching Ed Miliband to shake hands, while Nigel Farage stood isolated and aloof, was a true sign of things to come.
And I found the way Farage fell out with the studio audience fascinating.
Is the BBC really a left-wing bastion, as Farage, Jeremy Clarkson and their right-wing ilk believe? Or does it have a pro-establishment, anti-left bias, as some on the other wing have long felt? Maybe the fact that both sides seem to think the Beeb is against them shows Auntie is getting something right.
But the most telling moment in last Thursday’s Westminster debate was the moment chairman David Dimbleby lost it.
“We’re not debating the NHS!” he shouted, rebuking Miliband and Farage in particular, but all the others too. Oh yes we were, David, whether you liked it or not.
It’s interesting – as Bennett pointed out in the previous TV debate – how the health service has become the dominant issue in this election.
Last time out we had posters of David Cameron assuring us the NHS would be safe in his hands, and no one seriously challenged him on it. Since when, while cuts have fallen heavily in so many areas, it’s the future of the NHS that has become public worry No.1.
Many thousands of doctors, nurses and patients will take to the streets on Saturday to make that point in another national day of action against further cuts and privatisation.
Labour is justifiably proud of its heritage as the party that created the NHS. Unfortunately, the heritage of 1945 is not one the modern party does much to live up to.
The Conservatives say they have spent more on the NHS each year since 2010 and promised to put in another £8billion over the next five years if they’re still in power.
But it’s not just about how much money is spent. It’s how it’s spent, and where it goes.
More and more public cash – the money you and I pay through taxes for the services we rely on – is going into private hands. That’s money lost to the service, siphoned into shareholders’ pockets.
It applies equally to everything from housing to public transport, energy to emptying the bins. But it shows up starkly in a service already stretched by an aging population, better (but pricey) treatments keeping people alive longer, and the axing of social services looking after the ailing and elderly outside hospital.
Ever since Margaret Thatcher set about demolishing or flogging off national services of all kinds (“the family silver” as that old Tory Harold Macmillan memorably put it) the idea has stuck that “the market” somehow finds the most efficient way of doing things.
So why have overheads gone from taking three per cent of the NHS budget to 15pc since it was opened up to the “internal market”?
When John Major introduced the Private Finance Initiative in 1992, Labour warned that it was “privatisation by the back door”. But the Labour government that came in five years later opened that back door much, much wider.
It still stands wide open, letting in a cold draught that has left the whole NHS shivering and sick. Unhappily, neither of the parties responsible shows any interest in closing the door now.
Apart from the Americans – who seem to relish paying through the nose for an inferior service which can render the poorly destitute – most of the world still envies us our health service. But for how much longer?
It's the planet, stupid
If your doctor got every diagnosis completely wrong, would you keep going back?
So why would you trust economists and politicians who seem to get their economic forecasts right about as often as hens grow teeth?
This question is put, in different words, in a recent review of the book “It’s the Economy, Stupid: Economics for Voters” by Vicky Pryce, Andy Ross and Peter Urwin.
The authors seem to assume elections are decided by how well the economy is doing. Or, rather, how well or badly voters can be persuaded it’s doing.
Whether or not you think the economy’s doing well largely depends on which witch doctor you happen to believe.
Whether you think things like health services, railways, schools and prisons will be better run by the state or private companies.
But also on personal things such as whether you have a job. And if you have, how well paid it is and how secure you feel in it.
If it really is all about the economy, though, how depressing is that?
How much better if we could take a longer and broader view. Not just the money in our pockets for the next five years, but the long-term well-being of all, regardless of race, gender, creed – or species.