Open Media

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For the Canadian advocacy organization, see

Open Media is a British television production company, best known for the discussion series After Dark, described by the Daily Mail as "the most intelligent, thought-provoking and interesting programme ever to have been on television".[1]

The company was founded in 1987 and has produced more than 400 hours of television for all the main UK network broadcasters, including BBC TV, the ITV network and Channel 4. It has made entertainment series and factual specials which have sold all over the world. It also produces communications and corporate media for some of Britain's most important businesses.

Open Media programmes have been nominated for many awards by the Royal Television Society and the British Academy BAFTA.

Two different Open Media productions were featured during the 25th anniversary of Channel 4 in autumn 2007: The Secret Cabaret [2] and After Dark [3] were shown again on More4 during the celebratory season.

In 2009 the British Film Institute announced that Open Media, in partnership with The National Archives, the Parliamentary Broadcasting Unit, FremantleMedia and the BBC, makes programmes available online through InView as "examples of how some of Britain's key social, political and economic issues have been represented and debated".[4]

In 2010 the Open Media series Opinions and After Dark were praised as "two of the best talk-shows ever seen on British television" in a well-reviewed book of social and cultural history.[5] In 2012 After Dark featured prominently in a number of two-page tributes in British newspapers on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Channel 4.[6]


Stars of Open Media productions include Simon Drake, Ricky Jay, Andrew Neil, James Randi, Jerry Sadowitz, Sandi Toksvig and John Wells.

After Dark featured appearances by such well-known figures as Buzz Aldrin, Harry Belafonte, Andrea Dworkin, Edward Heath, Patricia Highsmith, Shere Hite, David Irving, Bianca Jagger, Christine Keeler, Adnan Khashoggi, Eartha Kitt, Yehudi Menuhin, Sinéad O'Connor, Bruce Oldfield, Richard Perle, Edward Teller and Peter Ustinov.

The two series of Is This Your Life? featured extended and in-depth interviews with Jeremy Beadle, Ian Botham, Morris Cerullo, Max Clifford, Germaine Greer, Olivia Newton-John, Albert Reynolds, Jimmy Savile, Peter Tatchell and Fatima Whitbread: "a must-see, the most incisive chat show on the box".[7] The interview with Jimmy Savile can be viewed on YouTube.

Open Media has produced talks by such figures as Edward de Bono, Brian Cox, Linda Colley, James Goldsmith, Paul Hill, Dusan Makavejev, G.F. Newman, Andrew Roberts, George Soros and Norman Stone. One such - an Opinions talk for Channel 4 in 1993 by Alan Clark - was described in his diary (later published) as "It was good. Clear, assured, moving. I looked compos and in my 'prime'. Many people saw it. All were enthusiastic. Today acres of coverage in The Times."[8] Another Opinions talk - by Dennis Potter, also in 1993 - was given a cinema screening by the BFI in July 2014.[9]

Among those appearing in a Channel 4 Opinions debate in Westminster Central Hall about democracy in Britain chaired by Vincent Hanna were Zaki Badawi, Christopher Hitchens, Paul Kennedy, Michael Mansfield, David Miliband, Geoff Mulgan, Vincent Nichols, Jonathan Sacks, Nancy Seear and Crispin Tickell.[10]



Entertainment series include The Secret Cabaret and Don't Quote Me,[11] hosted by Geoffrey Perkins and described as "forerunner to Have I Got News For You and every other comedy panel show thereafter".[12]


Factual series and specials include After Dark, Brave New World, The Great Pot Debate, The Greatest F***ing Show on TV, Is This Your Life?,[13] James Randi: Psychic Investigator, John Wells and the Three Wise Men,[14] Natural Causes,[15] Opinions, Orient: Club for a Fiver,[16] The Spy Machine, The Talking Show, and Weird Thoughts, as well as various films for Channel 4's Equinox, e.g. The Big Sleep,[17] Secrets of the Super Psychics, Superpowers?[18] and Theme Park Heaven.[19]

One of the company's documentary specials - The Mediator[20] - was described in the British Medical Journal as providing "a new clinical role for a community psychiatrist — namely, healing rifts between gangs of aggressive young men in two neighbourhoods...a lively and well reasoned example of what can be done by a professional with group and family mediation skills."[21]

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External links[edit]


  1. ^ Jaci Stephen, Daily Mail, 9 May 1997
  2. ^ TheDigitalSpy, accessed 3 March 2009
  3. ^ After Dark
  4. ^ BFI website page, accessed 14 August 2009
  5. ^ Alwyn W. Turner, Rejoice! Rejoice! Britain in the 1980s, Aurum 2010
  6. ^ Just don't f*** it up, The Guardian, 1 December 2012, and The Sunday Times and The Observer, 2 December 2012
  7. ^ A.A.Gill, The Sunday Times, 6 August 1995
  8. ^ Alan Clark, The Last Diaries, Weidenfeld, 2002
  9. ^ Dennis Potter: The Outsider Inside, BFI website, accessed 4 July 2014
  10. ^ The Opinions Debate, transmitted by Channel 4 on 28 March 1993 (the eve of the 50th birthday of the then Prime Minister John Major)
  11. ^ UKGameshows, accessed 3 March 2009
  12. ^ Geoffrey Perkins RIP, accessed 3 December 2012
  13. ^ BFI, accessed 3 March 2009
  14. ^ MemorableTV, accessed 23 November 2011
  15. ^ BFI, accessed 3 March 2009
  16. ^ IMDB, accessed 3 March 2009
  17. ^ BFI, accessed 3 March 2009
  18. ^ TCM, accessed 3 March 2009
  19. ^ BFI, accessed 3 March 2009
  20. ^ BFI, accessed 3 March 2009
  21. ^ A new role for a psychiatrist?, review by Richard Morriss, British Medical Journal 10/1995