Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn faced questions on Brexit and foreign policy from a live studio audience in a special general election programme.
Mr Corbyn was quizzed about his views on drone strikes, tax-raising plans and past campaigning in Northern Ireland.
Mrs May defended her social care reforms and was repeatedly asked if she had changed her mind on Brexit.
But the leaders did not appear together, as Mrs May declined to take part in a head-to-head encounter.
The Labour leader chose to be first up in the Battle for Number 10 show, which was broadcast by Sky News and Channel 4, after winning a coin toss.
In a Q&A with the studio audience, a small business owner attacked Mr Corbyn's "ruthless short-sighted policies" such as increasing corporation tax and putting VAT on private school fees.
"This country is badly divided between the richest and the poorest," the Labour leader replied, asking the man whether he was "happy" that children were going to school hungry and being taught in "supersized" classes.