Panorama (TV series)
|Format||Current affairs, documentary|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|Running time||30–60 minutes|
|Original channel||BBC One
BBC World News
|Picture format||576i (16:9 SDTV)
|Original run||11 November 1953– present|
Panorama is a BBC Television current affairs documentary programme. First broadcast in 1953, it is the world's longest-running public affairs television programme. Panorama has been presented by many well known BBC presenters, including Richard Dimbleby, Robin Day, David Dimbleby and Jeremy Vine. In 2013, it still retains a peak time transmission slot on BBC One, but without a regular presenter.
Panorama was launched on 11 November 1953 by the BBC Television Service; it emphasizes investigative journalism. Daily Mail reporter Pat Murphy was the original presenter, who only lasted one episode after accidentally broadcasting a technical mishap. Max Robertson then took over for a year. The programme originally had a magazine format and included arts features. Richard Dimbleby took over in 1955 and presented it during the late 1950s and 1960s.
His son, David Dimbleby, later presented the programme from 11 November 1974 – the 21st anniversary of the show. Other past presenters include: Sir Robin Day, Sir Ludovic Kennedy, Sir Charles Wheeler and Jeremy Vine. On 13 December 2010 it was announced that the programme would be relaunched during the new year with no regular presenter.
Panorama set an example for the German magazine series of the same name, which is produced by Norddeutscher Rundfunk, and broadcast by Das Erste. Panorama started there in 1961 and is one of the leading political magazine shows.
The theme music is an adaptation of Francis Lai's "Aujourd'hui C'est Toi" ("Today It's You"), which has run since 1971. Prior to this, from 1968, Rachmaninov's Symphony No.1 in D Minor, 4th Movement, was used, and before that the theme was Robert Farnon's "Openings & Endings".
- Max Robertson (1953–54)
- Richard Dimbleby (1955–65)
- Sir Robin Day (1966–2000)
- David Dimbleby (from 1974)
- Robert Kee (1982–2013)
- Jeremy Vine (January 2007–December 2010)
- No presenter (December 2010–present)
- Hilary Andersson
- Richard Bilton
- Jane Corbin
- Tom Heap
- Shelley Jofre
- Paul Kenyon
- Gerry Northam
- Samantha Poling
- Raphael Rowe
- John Sweeney
- Peter Taylor
- Jeremy Vine
- Vivian White
Panorama broadcast a famous hoax film about the harvesting of the spaghetti crop on April Fool's Day, 1957.
Diana, Princess of Wales interview
Arguably the most famous Panorama programme of all was the 1995 interview of Diana, Princess of Wales by Martin Bashir, which occurred after her separation, when she openly discussed the rumours about her personal life. The programme's filming and planning was subject to extreme secrecy, with Richard James Ayre, the Controller of Editorial Policy, authorising a series of clandestine meetings between Bashir and Diana.
One of the most controversial broadcasts of recent time was the "Who bombed Omagh?" programme, which named those suspected of involvement in the Omagh bombing. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Alan Fry of Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist unit SO13 said that the Real IRA attack on the BBC Television Centre could have been a revenge attack for the broadcast.
In 1987, the Panorama programme Scientology: The Road to Total Freedom? for the first time exposed on broadcast television the secret upper-level doctrines of the Church of Scientology, and featured an animated retelling of the Xenu incident of Scientology doctrine.
On 14 May 2007, an episode titled Scientology and Me was broadcast. The journalist John Sweeney presented the edition, showing how the Church reacted to his journalistic investigations, including its reaction when he stated to members that some people describe the organisation as a "cult". At one point during an interview, the presenter lost his temper with a member of the Church of Scientology; an edited portion of this incident was released subsequently by the Church on YouTube and DVD in an attempt to publicise it and raise controversy. However, the 2007 Scientology episode was Panorama's greatest audience since it moved to Monday evening.
A follow-up programme, The Secrets of Scientology, was broadcast on 28 September 2010, presenting proof that the Church had harassed Sweeney during the making of the earlier documentary, with the specific intention of making him react in the way he eventually did, in addition to numerous interviews with former high-ranking members of the organisation who had been subject to harassment.
Panorama and Seroxat
Since 2002, Panorama has made four programmes about the anti-depressant Seroxat: "The Secrets of Seroxat" (2002); "Seroxat: Emails from the Edge" (2003); "Taken on Trust" (2004) and "Secrets of the Drug Trials" (2007).
"The Secrets of Seroxat" elicited a record response from the public as 65,000 people telephoned the BBC helpline and 1,300 people emailed Panorama directly.
The major mental health charity Mind collaborated with Panorama in a survey of those who emailed the programme. Anonymous findings from the 239 responses were sent to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
The second Panorama programme on Seroxat, "Emails from the Edge", included a report of the survey to which the 239 people responded. It showed widespread experiences of suicidal feelings and other severe reactions, very bad withdrawal symptoms and lack of warnings from doctors. After the broadcast users/survivors and Mind protested outside the offices of the MHRA.
On 29 January 2007, the fourth documentary of the series about the drug Seroxat was broadcast. It focused on three GlaxoSmithKline paediatric clinical trials on depressed children and adolescents. Data from the trials show that Seroxat could not be proven to work for teenagers. Not only that, one clinical trial indicated that they were six times more likely to become suicidal after taking it. In the programme, Panorama revealed the secret trail of internal emails which show how GlaxoSmithKline manipulated the results of the trials for its own commercial gain. Access to the documents has been gained as GlaxoSmithKline fights a fraud trial in the US.
Some of these previously secret Glaxo documents featured in the programme were leaked into the internet after the programme's broadcast.
Undercover: Football's Dirty Secrets
On 19 September 2006 Panorama showed a documentary called "Undercover: Football's Dirty Secrets", which alleged payments in English football contrary to the rules of the Football Association, involving:
- That Bolton Wanderers manager Sam Allardyce, and his agent son Craig were implicated for taking "bungs" (a bribe or kickback) from agents for signing certain players. Two agents, Teni Yerima and Peter Harrison, were secretly filmed, each claiming separately that they had paid Allardyce through his son. Allardyce denies ever taking, or asking for, a bung. The programme was aired on the same night that Bolton beat Walsall 3–1 in the Carling Cup, so Allardyce missed the original showing.
- Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp is secretly filmed discussing the possibility of buying the Blackburn Rovers captain Andy Todd with agent Peter Harrison, which is against Football Association rules.
- Then Portsmouth first-team coach Kevin Bond, who was first team coach of Newcastle United at the time of broadcast, is secretly recorded admitting he would consider discussing receiving payments from a proposed new agency involving agent Peter Harrison. Consequently, Bond was relieved of his duties at Newcastle.
- Chelsea director of youth football Frank Arnesen is secretly filmed making an illegal approach or "tapping up" Middlesbrough's England youth star 15-year-old Nathan Porritt. Arnesen offers a fee of £150,000 spread over three years as an incentive to relocate. Both of these allegations are against FA rules.
- Agent Peter Harrison told the undercover reporter that, to secure transfer deals with Bolton, he bribed Sam Allardyce by offering to pay his son Craig. Harrison is a FIFA-listed agent who is based in the north-east of England.
- That three different Bolton transfer signings involved secret payments from agents to Craig Allardyce, some when he was contractually banned from doing any Bolton deals. Panorama alleged Bolton's transfer signings of defender Tal Ben Haim, midfielder Hidetoshi Nakata and goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi involved secret payments from agents to Craig Allardyce. Allardyce's son quit the agency business in summer 2006, and has admitted in newspaper interviews that his working as an agent might have cost his father the chance of becoming England manager.
The Football Association has asked for any evidence as it tries to rid such action from football.
Sex Crimes and the Vatican
On 1 October 2006 Panorama did an episode on Crimen Sollicitationis, a church "instruction" approved by Pope John XXIII in 1962, which establishes a procedure for dealing with child sex abuse scandals within the Catholic Church. It was enforced for 20 years by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he became the Pope. It instructs bishops on how to deal with allegations of child abuse against priests. Critics claim the document has been used to evade prosecution for sex crimes.
Panorama investigated claims that as much as $23 billion (£11.75 billion) may have been lost, stolen or not properly accounted for in Iraq.
What Ever Happened to People Power
Shown on 6 July 2009, the programme investigated the increasing repression of peaceful protest by the police in the UK, in particular of environmental protesters. The episode was shown in the context of the aftermath of the G20 protests in London on 1 and 2 April 2009 which resulted in the death of Ian Tomlinson and many protesters being assaulted. Police also used the controversial “kettling” technique to detain people for hours.
Death in the Med
Jane Corbin asks what really happened on the ship Mavi Marmara, when Israeli commandos seized the ship as part of the blockade of Gaza (2010). (R)
Abbas Al Lawati, a reporter for Gulf News, who was on the Mavi Marmara during the Gaza flotilla raid, criticised Panorama's reporting of the raid in the documentary, "Death in the Med", stating that it was either a result of "weak journalism" or "deep bias". Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire, who had also participated in the Free Gaza flotilla, has also accused the programme of a "lack of truth" and "bias" in a letter to the BBC, describing its effects on the families of those who died as a "grave injustice".
"The BBC Trust has ruled that a Panorama documentary about the Israeli boarding of the Mavi Marmara was "accurate and impartial" overall..."
What the Pope Knew
On 13 September 2010 Panorama aired an investigation into Pope Benedict XVI's involvement in the cover-up of the Catholic sex abuse cases. The program was broadcast three days before the first visit of the Pope to the United Kingdom in almost three decades.
FIFA's Dirty Secrets
Undercover Care: The Abuse Exposed
On 31 May 2011, Panorama aired an investigation into physical and psychological abuse suffered by people with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour at Winterbourne View private hospital in Bristol. It showed a number of patients being repeatedly punched, kicked, slapped, pinned down and given cold punishment showers – then left outside in near zero degree temperatures.
Local social services and the national regulator had received various warnings but the mistreatment continued. One senior nurse three times contacted the national regulator saying he wanted to talk about “abuse” – but heard nothing back. The hospital was shut down.
On 21 June 2011, 86 people and organisations wrote to the Prime Minister, David Cameron about the revelations, "We are aware of the various actions currently being taken within and outside government – such as the DH review and CQC internal inquiry. We hope to make submissions to those both individually and collectively. However, on their own these will not be enough and a clear programme is needed to achieve change."
The prime minister responded saying he was "appalled" at the "catalogue of abuses" Panorama had revealed.
In June 2011 the Association of Supported Living issued a press statement, which was followed up in writing to every member of parliament in the United Kingdom, calling for community based assisted living services to replace institutional services for people with learning disabilities.
The national regulator, the CQC did a nationwide check on facilities owned by the same company – as a result three more institutions have been closed.
The CQC also inspected 132 similar institutions and a Serious Case Review was commissioned – some of the roughly ten local and national enquiries were carried out to examine what went wrong, including one by NHS Southwest which was one of the first to be published and list many of the others.
The head of the Care Quality Commission resigned ahead of a critical government report, a report in which Winterbourne View was cited.
Eleven people plead guilty to criminal offences of neglect or abuse as a result of evidence from Undercover Care and six of them were jailed. Immediately after the eleventh person pleaded guilty, the Serious Case Review was published, revealing hundreds of previous incidents at the hospital and missed warnings.
Mencap published a report warning that similar abuse could be going on elsewhere and calling for the closure of all large institutions far from people’s families.
The film has also won a number of awards including the RTS Scoop of the year and a BAFTA.
The Daily Mail said "Without the investigation by the BBC's Panorama, given huge coverage in the Mail, the abuse of patients at Winterbourne View might be continuing to this day. As it is, the secure hospital and two other care homes have been shut down, 11 guilty staff have been brought to justice – and a devastating report now exposes the serial failings of the local NHS, police and health watchdogs. For the past year, the Leveson Inquiry has focused relentlessly on the failings of the media. Never let it be forgotten how much this country owes, in the fight against cruelty and corruption, to its free Press."
The Daily Telegraph said, "It is impossible to read the details of what went on at Winterbourne View, a care home for the severely disabled in Gloucestershire, without feeling repelled. In the wake of an exposé from the BBC’s Panorama, 11 members of staff were convicted of almost 40 charges of neglect and ill treatment of those in their care." 
Euro 2012: Stadiums of Hate
On 28 May 2012, Panorama examined the issues of racism, antisemitism and football hooliganism which it stated were prevalent among Polish and Ukrainian fans. The programme, titled Euro 2012: Stadiums of Hate, included recent footage of fans chanting various antisemitic slogans and displays of white power symbols and banners. The documentary recorded antisemitism and monkey noise taunts of black players in Poland. In Ukraine, the documentary recorded Nazi salutes and FC Metalist Kharkiv fans violently assaulting a group of Asian students at the Metalist Oblast Sports Complex, one of the stadiums hosting matches in Ukraine. Panorama filmed former England defender Sol Campbell watching these clips, and then asked him whether he would recommend families go to the Championship. He responded: "Stay at home, watch it on TV. Don't even risk it… because you could end up coming back in a coffin."
The report was then followed up by most of the British media, which published a large number of articles accusing Poles and Ukrainians of racism.
The documentary was criticised as sensationalist, unbalanced and unethical. Jonathan Ornstein, Director of the Jewish Community Center in Kraków, Poland, and who was interviewed for the film said: "I am furious at the way the BBC has exploited me as a source. The organization used me and others to manipulate the serious subject of anti-Semitism for its own sensationalist agenda... the BBC knowingly cheated its own audience – the British people – by concocting a false horror story about Poland. In doing so, the BBC has spread fear, ignorance, prejudice and hatred. I am profoundly disturbed by this unethical form of journalism."
Another source used in the film, anti-racism campaigner Jacek Purski said: "The material prepared by the BBC is one-sided. It does not show the whole story of Polish preparations for the Euros. It does not show the Championship ran a lot of activities aimed at combating racism in the "Respect Diversity" campaign. For us the Euro is not only about matches. The event has become an opportunity to fight effectively against racism and promote multiculturalism. There is no country in Europe free from racism. These are the facts."
Black Polish MP John Godson said: "The documentary was biased, one sided and rather sensational. I have received information that there were also interviews that were omitted by the BBC—for example interview with the Polish police."
A reporter from Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's most popular left-wing newspaper, questioned Panorama's practices and said: "I am becoming more and more surprised with what the BBC says. So far it has denied two situations I witnessed. I would not be surprised if the BBC prepared a statement saying that the Panorama crew has never been to Poland."
Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesman Oleh Voloshyn responded that the allegations were an "invented and mythical problem", and that "Nazi symbols can be seen at ... any match in England". Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk stated: "Nobody who comes to Poland will be in any danger because of his race. This is not our custom, as is not pointing out similar incidents in other countries."
The Guardian reported: "Other sources have come forward to say that an interview with a Jewish Israeli player was also cut from the programme because he failed to confirm Panorama's "anti-semitism" thesis. The BBC interviewed midfielder Aviram Baruchian, who plays for the Polish team Polonia Warsaw. One source who was present said the Panorama journalists had complained afterwards that the interview was "useless". Panorama strongly denies this. It says the interview wasn't used because Baruchian had only played in the Polish league since January.
Panorama responded to the criticism, saying: "England Fans, the official England Supporters' Club, travelling to Euro 2012 called the programme unhelpful and some Poles in the UK have expressed concern that they have been labelled as racist. But amid all of these accusations against Panorama and the BBC, there is a real fear that the key issue has been missed – the overt and frightening racist and anti-Semitic abuse and violence of the kind broadcast by Panorama is both wrong and deeply upsetting to those on its receiving end. That was the point of the programme. We set out to highlight a wrong. Were the beatings that the students from India sustained in Ukraine's Metalist stadium somehow "exaggerated"? Was the fact that they said the police were of "no use" as they walked off bruised and alone into the Ukrainian night somehow "made up"? Were the monkey chants hurled at the black players we filmed in Poland somehow "sensationalised"?
British columnist Edward Lucas wrote: "Either the allegations against the BBC are a tissue of lies (and those who make them will be exposed), or the programme-makers have a lot of explaining to do. ...it rightly decried the use of “Jew” as an insult, but never mentioned that just the same – deplorable – language is used by rival fans against Ajax in the Netherlands or Tottenham Hotspur in Britain. It said ethnic minorities were “all but invisible” – but did not mention that Poland has two black members of parliament (Britain elected its first only in 1987). Poland certainly has its problems – but the highly questionable assumptions behind eastern ‘backwardness' and Western ‘progress' went blithely unexamined. It would be easy to scent a kind of 'orientalism' here: the belief that ‘ex-communist' is synonymous with 'poor', 'nasty' and 'ignorant'. The muddy wastelands of the east are great places to make shocking documentaries. Best of all, because nobody there knows English, you can say pretty much what you like and get away with it. Not any more."
Brendan O'Neill, the editor of Spiked wrote that England fans had staged "a protest against BBC Panorama's hysterical depiction of Ukraine as a hotbed of racism and anti-Semitism, which they have discovered during their stay in that country to be untrue. ...it was the respectable Beeb, echoed by broadsheets, which painted an entire nation “over there” as backward and prejudiced, while it has fallen to everyday fans to poke holes in this xenophobic mythmaking and to point out that there is actually nothing scary about modern Ukraine and its inhabitants. England fans have proven themselves way more racially enlightened than the aloof suits in the current-affairs department of the BBC."
England football coach Roy Hodgson said the racism allegations were "the biggest negativity in England... As a result I think we’ve lost a lot of fans who didn’t come because of a lot of horror stories about how life would be in the Ukraine and Poland." Hodgson added that he had nothing but positive impressions of Poland and Ukraine.
According to the Dutch daily de Telegraaf, during an open training session in Kraków, Dutch black players were allegedly subjected to monkey noises and jeers, an incident that the Holland captain Mark van Bommel described as a "real disgrace". UEFA acknowledged that there had been "isolated incidents of racist chanting". However, other Dutch media, including the prestigious daily de Volkskrant, have reported that the allegations of monkey chants were made up. According to the newspaper, the coach of the Dutch team has made several statements to the BBC that he had not heard the supposed chanting, nor did the rest of the team. According to de Volksrant, the story was sensationalised by de Telegraaf. The Daily Mail reported that the FA intended to write a letter of complaint to the BBC. Jessica Elgot wrote an article in The Jewish Chronicle titled "I went all the way to 'racist' Kiev and all I got was love" reporting how "By-and-large, no one understood why we were going. Friends raised their eyebrows in horror, before inquiring if we had seen "that Panorama programme". My grandmother politely inquired why we wanted to go to “that shmatte place”. As I left for the airport, I got a sweet good-bye text from my house-mate. “Have a lovely trip. Please don’t get Jew-bashed." Irish football fans filled 14 pages of their blog with praise for Poland and Ukraine, many of them highly critical of the BBC and Panorama
The Daily Mirror commented: "The biggest plus of Euro 2012 must be the scaremongering presented by BBC's Panorama of violence and terrible racism in Poland and Ukraine largely proved to be just that. If you do not believe me, then take the word of Gary Lineker who did not mind taking a swipe at his BBC bosses to point out how friendly and accommodating the locals have been. Ahead of Spain’s semi with Portugal, Lineker tweeted: 'Donetsk is a lovely town with friendly folk. Pre-tournament scaremongering way off the mark.'"
The Daily Mail reported that the Football Association intended to write a letter of complaint to the BBC. The paper also said that the three nations fined by UEFA for racism were not the hosts but visitors from Spain, Croatia and Russia.
The deputy mayor of Kraków, referring to the incidents of racism and anti-Semitism broadcast by Panorama, said: "We believe that, step by step, the clubs will also take more responsibility for this kind of activity at stadiums". Adam Bulandra, project coordinator of the Interkulturalni Foundation and co-author of Kraków's new anti-racist strategy said: “The local community does not react properly to this problem, it does not actively oppose the incidents that happen, that's why they are so visible, and we want to change this situation.” A spokesperson for Poland's Omsbudsman for Citizens' Rights, noted that while there may seem to be only a small number of racist incidents in Poland, that 80 percent of racist crimes go unreported in the country.
The Mind Reader: Unlocking My Voice
This Panorama Special broadcast on 13 November 2012 showed the pioneering work being done by scientists to help patients who have suffered severe brain injuries. The film told the stories of a group of patients and their families, and showed the revolutionary efforts made to help them communicate with the outside world. The film included the story of Scott Routley, a Canadian man in a persistent vegetative state for more than a decade who was able to tell doctors he is not in any pain.
North Korea Undercover
North Korea Undercover was filmed in North Korea in late March 2013 by a 3 person team which accompanied a group of students from the London School of Economics. The trip was organized through the Grimshaw Club, an international relations club affiliated with LSE, by Tomiko Sweeney the wife of John Sweeney. The North Koreans, who require permission for entry by journalist have jailed journalists who have attempted unauthorized entry, were not informed of the BBC team and failed to recognize John Sweeney, calling him "professor." The degree to which the students were informed led to a difference of opinion between the institutions later with the BBC maintaining that less than full disclosure was a measure taken to protect the students in the event of discovery. Sweeney and his wife were accompanied by a BBC cameraman. According to Gianluca Spezza, an informed critic and one of the directors of NK News, the documentary was of low quality, comparable to many of the videos frequently taken by tourists and posted to YouTube. In addition, according to Spezza, the undercover filming had a detrimental effect on responsible efforts to engage in legitimate cultural exchange and development of mutual understanding.
Attempted censorship by security services
In December 2011 it was revealed that former BBC Director General Sir Ian Trethowan had met with the chiefs of MI5 and the Secret Intelligence Service about an episode of Panorama dealing with the security services in 1981. He showed a video recording of the original programme to Bernard Sheldon, then legal adviser to MI5. The latter suggested cuts to the programme and Trethowan asked the head of BBC News to reduce the programme to half its length.
The scheduling of Panorama has, since the 1980s, often been a subject of media debate and controversy, due to the duties of the BBC to provide both on the one hand entertaining programming that appeals to a mass audience, and on the other serious journalism that might have a narrower audience. In February 1985, with the programme being watched by an average audience of just 3.5 million viewers, Controller of BBC One Michael Grade moved the programme from its traditional prime time 8.10 pm slot on Monday evenings back to 9.30 pm, after the Nine O'Clock News. Despite many protests about this move in the media, Panorama remained in this slot until 1997, although two of Grade's successors, Alan Yentob and Michael Jackson, were known to be unhappy about running 70 continuous minutes of news from 9 pm. In May 1997 the Acting Controller of BBC One, Mark Thompson, did move Panorama back half an hour to 10 pm, to make way for the sitcom Birds of a Feather, which opened the BBC to criticism that it was side-lining serious content in favour of lighter programming.
In 2000, the programme was moved again, with the 10 pm timeslot no longer available due to the transferring of the BBC News from 9 pm to the later slot. Panorama was moved to Sunday nights, after the news, usually shown at around 10.15 pm – labelled by some critics as a "graveyard slot". The number of editions made per year was also reduced, which attracted press criticism for the BBC in general and its Director-General Greg Dyke in particular, as Dyke was the driving force behind the schedule changes. The incoming Controller of BBC One, Lorraine Heggessey, defended the move, claiming that the programme's audience would have "dwindled" had it remained on Monday nights.
In January 2007 Heggessey's successor, Peter Fincham, moved Panorama back from Sunday nights to a prime time Monday evening slot at 8.30 pm, although it was now shorter than it had previously been, running to just half an hour. This decision was at least partly in response to a demand from the Board of Governors of the BBC for the channel to show more current affairs programming during prime time.
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- Panorama at BBC Programmes
- Panorama Encyclopedia of Television
- Panorama returns to prime-time TV BBC News, 18 July 2006
- "Scientology and Me"
- Scientology and Me: transcript, Panorama, BBC News, 11 May 2007