Britain finally adopted leaders' debates in the 2010 general election - and life may never be the same again.
The three 90 minute debates transformed the fortunes of Nick Clegg and his Liberal Democrats. They confirmed Gordon Brown's weakness in an era when easy charm pays dividends. And they posed a serious challenge to David Cameron, who surely assumed he was bound to become Britain's next prime minister.
But the series of debates was far from perfect. The third debate felt like one too many, as the leaders bombarded us with soundbites and questions were repeated from the first two encounters. (All three debates included a question about immigration.) The ban on audience applause or heckling didn't have as much an impact as I suspected it would, though it probably added to the boredom of the final debate. And, above all, the debates had an air of unreality as the leaders pretended there would be no great pain to come whoever wins the election.
So debates are here to stay. And that must mean that no political party will ever again risk a leader so unsuited to debating and engaging with voters as as Gordon Brown.