Exposure (UK TV series)

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Genre News, current affairs, human interest
Narrated by Various
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 25
Running time 60 minutes (inc. adverts)
Production company(s) Various
Original network ITV
Picture format 1080i HDTV
Original release 26 September 2011 (2011-09-26) – present
Related shows ITV News,
The Agenda,
On Assignment,
External links

Exposure is a current affairs strand, broadcast in the United Kingdom on the ITV network. The programme comprises long-form films, investigating and exploring domestic and foreign topics. Episodes are produced both by independent production companies and in-house by ITV Studios. The average budget for a single edition is between £150,000 and £200,000.[1]

The series was commissioned by Peter Fincham, ITV's Director of Television, and is a sister show to year-round current affairs strand Tonight. It made its debut on Monday 26 September 2011 – airing at 22.40, directly after ITV News at Ten. Since its launch, the programme has usually occupied this near-peak slot, but has also been shown as late as 23.10. On 3 March 2015, it made its only appearance to date in primetime, airing at 21.00.

The series was broadcast on Mondays in 2011 and Wednesdays in 2012. The 2013 series was billed as an eight-episode run (the longest to date), with five of the editions airing on consecutive Thursdays in their traditional autumn slots and the remaining three being broadcast as standalone episodes between February and July 2014.

In January 2014 it was announced that ITV would no longer air episodes in a series block, instead spreading them throughout the year. Independent producers expressed concern that this would result in fewer editions, but ITV said the changes allowed for a more flexible approach regarding delivery deadlines, which are often complicated by the need for legal clearance before broadcast.[2]

The three standalone editions aired in early-mid 2014 as part of series 3 from 2013 effectively meant that there was no 2014 series of the strand. The programme began its first non-series run in January 2015.

Promotional trailers for individual editions are rare, but the strand itself featured in a promo for ITV's news and current affairs coverage (along with ITV News, Tonight and The Agenda) in late 2012.[3]

Series 1[edit]

Episode 1[edit]

  • Gaddafi and the IRA (Broadcast 26 September 2011)

Colonel Gadaffi gave the IRA enough weapons to turn a militia into an army. Exposure's first film examines his support for the Republicans and investigates the continuing danger of his legacy. Narrated by Paul McGann.

In this episode, ITV mistakenly presented footage taken from the game ArmA 2 as footage of a 1988 IRA attack. The broadcaster apologised, blaming human error.[4] A spokesperson for ITV commented on the error and said:

"The events featured in Exposure: Gaddafi and the IRA were genuine but it would appear that during the editing process the correct clip of the 1988 incident was not selected and other footage was mistakenly included in the film by producers. This was an unfortunate case of human error for which we apologise."[5]

Episode 2[edit]

  • The Factory

Focusing on a city in Europe where the pollution is so bad, children struggle to breathe, DNA is damaged, and the vulnerable are forced indoors. This programme investigates the role played by a global multi-national.

Episode 3[edit]

  • Heart Hospital

Episode 4[edit]

  • The World's Deadliest Arms Race

Episode 5[edit]

  • On the Run

Mark Williams-Thomas investigates

Episode 6[edit]

  • Heart Hospital

Series 2[edit]

Episode 1[edit]

  • The British Way of Death (broadcast 26 September 2012)

Undercover investigation which reveals disrespectful behaviour by British funeral directors.[6]

Episode 2[edit]

  • The Other Side of Jimmy Savile (broadcast 3 October 2012)

Former police officer Mark Williams-Thomas investigates claims of sexual abuse of underage girls against the charity fundraiser and television presenter Jimmy Savile. Five women (two of whom waived their right to anonymity) all allege that they were assaulted or raped by the entertainer.[7]

The programme was born out of an aborted investigation by the BBC's Newsnight in late 2011, on which Williams-Thomas had worked as a consultant,[8] with reporter Liz MacKean and producer Meirion Jones.[9]

Williams-Thomas took a leading role in the programme, having pitched a proposal to ITV after the BBC dropped the Newsnight investigation; he has praised MacKean and Jones for allowing him to do so.[10] He says he researched the piece as if he were running a police investigation and admits that he was worried that both he and the programme-makers would be heavily criticised if other alleged victims hadn't come forward in the wake of the broadcast.[10]

Producers and ITV News bosses agreed that the edition would be broadcast only if it could have been shown had Savile still been alive. The testimony of those making allegations against Savile was only included if their contact with him could be established by a photograph or other supporting evidence.[1]

The piece came within the usual budget for Exposure, costing around £170,000 for the ten-month investigation. It was broadcast in a later-than-usual timeslot of 23.15, but still attracted 2.5 million viewers (including time-shifted viewing) and a 23% audience share.[1]

The edition won Royal Television Society awards in 2013 in the Current Affairs (Home) and Scoop of the Year categories.[11] It was also given a Peabody Award in 2012.[12] The programme gave ITV News a platform for extensive follow-up reports on the subject, which resulted in ITN winning the News Coverage (Home) category in the RTS awards in 2013.[11]

Although it would become the highest profile edition of the programme to date, this episode was broadcast at the later-than-usual time of 23.10.

Episode 3[edit]

  • No bribes please! We're British (broadcast 10 October 2012)

Episode 4[edit]

  • Driven From Home (broadcast 17 October 2012)

Residents forced out of an estate blighted by violence

Episode 5[edit]

  • Who cares in Britain's care homes? (broadcast 24 October 2012)

Episode 6[edit]

  • Banaz: An Honour Killing (broadcast 31 October 2012)

The story of Banaz Mahmod, who was 19 years old when she became the victim of a so-called honour killing ordered by her own family. The programme features footage from a police interview with Banaz, who says she is being followed by members of the Kurdish community from which she originates, having walked out on an abusive forced marriage and pursued a relationship with another man.[13]

The programme is a shorter version of the film Banaz: A Love Story, produced by Fuuse Films created in collaboration with Hardcash Productions for Exposure.[11] Banaz won a Peabody Award and International Emmy Award in 2013,[12] but lost out to another Exposure film, The Other Side of Jimmy Savile, at the Royal Television Society Journalism Awards in 2013.[14]

In view of the programme's content, a warning about "graphic discussion of rape and murder" was aired in the continuity announcement at the start of this edition; unusually, this warning was repeated after the first commercial break before the programme continued.

Episode 7[edit]

  • Exposure Update: The Jimmy Savile Investigation (broadcast 21 November 2012)

Mark Williams-Thomas revisits his investigation into the disgraced entertainer Jimmy Savile, which dominated the news agenda in the weeks after it was broadcast. Set against a backdrop of the criminal and institutional investigations which had been launched in the intervening seven weeks, this programmes hears testimony from more alleged victims and explores how Savile ingratiated himself with politicians and royalty.[15] It also considers the question of how Savile was able to gain widespread access and power within NHS institutions, in spite of being unqualified for any of the roles which he purportedly fulfilled there.[16]

The programme considers why charges were not brought against Savile after he was interviewed by Surrey Police in 2009; Williams-Thomas declares "for the record" during this segment of the programme that he used to work for the force.

Series 3[edit]

Episode 1[edit]

  • Predators Abroad (broadcast 2 October 2013)

Mark Williams-Thomas investigates new concerns over British paedophiles in Cambodia.

Episode 2[edit]

  • Forced to Marry (broadcast 9 October 2013)

UK imams agree to perform underage marriages.

Episode 3[edit]

  • Britain's booming cannabis business (broadcast 16 October 2013)

Conor Woodman investigates the shift in the UK cannabis industry from commercial to home-grown production and reveals how this move towards small domestic units can result in growers encountering the kind of violent criminals whom they had tried to avoid by growing their own supply. The programme explores the extent of cannabis cultivation in the UK and shows how major dealers are generating their profits by operating multiple small-scale sites.[17]

Episode 4[edit]

  • Undercover Colleges (broadcast 23 October 2013)

An undercover investigation into the recruiting practices, administration and facilities at the Academy de London and London School of Business and Finance[18]

Episode 5[edit]

  • Too Late to Save Your Life (broadcast 30 October 2013)

An investigation into the effectiveness of the UK's cancer screening programme, exploring how some testing regimes have better early diagnosis and detection rates than others.[19]

Episode 6[edit]

  • Fashion Factories Undercover (broadcast 6 February 2014)

An investigation uncovers pressures, abuse and violence - as well as locked fire doors and lies about health and safety - behind the closed doors of Dhaka's sweatshops. Presented by Laura Kuenssberg, who had provided extensive coverage in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza factory disaster in April 2013 as ITV News Business Editor. This programme was broadcast shortly after Kuenssberg had departed ITN to rejoin the BBC,[20] but she made appearances on ITV News bulletins throughout the day, trailing the edition. It was the first standalone edition in what had been billed as an eight-episode run when the series returned in autumn 2013.

This edition was produced by Hardcash Productions.

Episode 7[edit]

  • Inside the Diplomatic Bag (broadcast 26 April 2014)

Mark Williams-Thomas investigates how privileges for foreign diplomats based in the UK are open to abuse. Issues explored include diplomatic immunity and the protected status of the so-called 'diplomatic bag' for moving items into and out of the country. The programme centres around a sting on a member of the Nigerian High Commission, who claims he can smuggle stolen goods out of the UK, but is later revealed not to have diplomatic status.[21]

Episode 8[edit]

  • Don't Take My Child (broadcast 15 July 2014)

Exploring the issue of forced adoption and considering whether the power is being used too readily in the wake of several high-profile child protection scandals.[22] Narrated by ITV News presenter Nina Hossain. Another standalone edition; the last episode in the 2013/14 series.

Occasional episodes[edit]

  • Britain's Secret Slaves (broadcast 22 January 2015)

ITV News presenter Julie Etchingham fronts an investigation into forced domestic servitude. The programme includes interviews with those who have experienced modern-day slavery after being brought to the UK. It also considers how changes to visa rules, designed to toughen the immigration system, could be responsible for trapping victims in slave-like conditions[23] and features an undercover sting on a recruitment agency which promises non-existent jobs to foreign domestic workers in return for a fee. The culmination of the sting sees a producer on the programme confront the woman who had been secretly filmed.

The lack of pictures resulting from the need to obscure identities and provide an appropriate visual accompaniment to disturbing cases studies is addressed with the use of still drawings of the situations under discussion.

This edition was produced by Hardcash Productions.

  • The Kill List (broadcast 11 February 2015)

This edition reveals how real-time information from mobile phones was used by coalition forces to target suspected insurgents during conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the height of the military action, up to a dozen addresses were raided per night in an effort to capture or kill the individuals concerned.[24]

Some senior military figures involved in the operations defend their use and effectiveness, while other analysts suggest they hampered efforts to negotiate an end to the conflicts - perhaps even improving the gene pool of insurgent fighters, making them more difficult to defeat militarily.[25]

The programme is narrated by former Parachute Regiment commander Sean Rayment and produced by Brook Lapping Productions.

  • Charities Behaving Badly (broadcast 18 February 2015)

An investigation into charities alleged to be promoting extremist views, including white supremacy, anti-semitism and jihad.[26]

ITV News presenter Mark Austin presents and also conducts several interviews, including one in which the Charities Commission admits it does not have the power to close charities for the reasons highlighted by the programme.

  • When Pregnant Women Drink (broadcast 3 March 2015)

This edition explores a condition known as Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, which can affect the offspring of women who consume alcohol during pregnancy. It focuses on the apparently contradictory advice given to pregnant women in the UK about a 'safe level' of alcohol intake.[27]

The programme features several sufferers of FASD and follows the progress of one child with severe behavioural and developmental problems whose adoptive parents are seeking a definitive diagnosis. They are given access to advanced facial profiling techniques which aid in confirming the condition.[28]

Research is revealed from the United States which claims an analysis of various studies shows alcohol to be a greater risk factor to unborn babies than heroin.[27]

Good Morning Britain and ITV News presenter Ranvir Singh presents and takes on an active reporter role, conducting the majority of interviews, including a combative encounter with a consultant obstetrician.

This edition aired in peaktime at 21.00, the only occasion to date on which the strand has done so. It was produced by October Films.


  1. ^ a b c Brown, Maggie (26 February 2013). "ITV's Jimmy Savile sex scandal documentary made for just £170,000". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  2. ^ Kanter, Jake. "ITV scraps Exposure block in favour of single films". Broadcast. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  3. ^ "ITV News: Life From Every Angle". ITV (via YouTube). 7 November 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  4. ^ "ITV documentary in IRA computer game blunder". BBC News. 27 September 2011.
  5. ^ Crecente, Brian (27 September 2011). "Idiot Documentarians Reveal "Secret IRA Terrorism Footage". It's a Video Game from 2009.[Update 2]". Kotaku.
  6. ^ "ITV investigation uncovers disrespect, exploitation and racism in funeral business". ITV News. 26 September 2012.
  7. ^ "Sir Jimmy Savile accused of sexually abusing young girls". ITV. 2014-09-30. Retrieved 2014-08-19.
  8. ^ Ponsford, Dominic (2013-02-22). "Meirion Jones: The BBC knew Jimmy Savile was a paedophile and they ran the Christmas tributes". Press Gazette. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  9. ^ "Revealed: Newsnight emails that accuse BBC of Jimmy Savile cover-up". The Independent. 2012-10-20. Retrieved 2014-08-19.
  10. ^ a b Halliday, Josh (2013-02-24). "Mark Williams-Thomas: I ran the Savile film like a criminal investigation". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-08-21.
  11. ^ a b c "RTS ANNOUNCES SHORTLIST FOR TELEVISION JOURNALISM AWARDS 2011/2012". Royal Television Society. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  12. ^ a b 72nd Annual Peabody Awards, May 2013.
  13. ^ "Exposure: Honour killing victim predicts death in video". ITV. 31 October 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  14. ^ "RTS Announces Winners For Television Journalism Awards 2011/2012". Royal Television Society. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  15. ^ "ITV1 Exposure: Savile's rise among the great and good". ITV. 2012-11-21. Retrieved 2014-08-24.
  16. ^ "Currie: Savile 'suggested himself' for Broadmoor role". ITV. 2012-11-21. Retrieved 2014-08-24.
  17. ^ "ITV Exposure finds torture and coercion in Britain's home-grown cannabis industry". ITV. 2013-10-17. Retrieved 2014-08-24.
  18. ^ "Undercover Colleges". ITV Exposure. 23 October 2013.
  19. ^ "Exposure: Too late to save your life". ITV. 30 October 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  20. ^ Plunkett, John (12 November 2013). "BBC Newsnight recruits ITV's Laura Kuenssberg". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  21. ^ Emma Slater, Lesley Gardiner (26 April 2014). "Caught on camera: Embassy worker who says he can smuggle stolen goods out of the UK in diplomatic bags". itv.com. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  22. ^ "Senior judge says 'highly defensive' atmosphere means social workers under increased pressure to intervene in families". ITV. 13 July 2014. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  23. ^ Etchingham, Julie (2015-01-19). "Exposure: The truth about Britain's secret slaves". itv.com/exposure. ITV. Retrieved 2015-01-22.
  24. ^ "Exposure: The Kill List". brooklapping.com. Retrieved 2015-04-11.
  25. ^ "Exposure: The Special Forces 'kill list' 'tracked using mobiles'". itv.com. ITV. Retrieved 2015-04-11.
  26. ^ "Exposure: Hatred and extremist views in charities". itv.com. ITV. Retrieved 2015-04-11.
  27. ^ a b "Exposure: Health experts call on Government to change advice on drinking while pregnant". itv.com. ITV. Retrieved 2015-04-11.
  28. ^ "When Pregnant Women Drink: The families living with FASD". itv.com. ITV. Retrieved 2015-04-11.

External links[edit]