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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 February, 2004, 17:12 GMT
Panorama 'creator' passes away
Dennis Bardens
Dennis Bardens as editor of Panorama
The first ever editor of Panorama Dennis Bardens, has passed away at the age of 92 after a long battle with cancer.

The journalist and author, died on Saturday, February 7, at St Charles' Hospital in west London.

Dennis was born in Midhurst, Sussex on July 19, 1911 and had a journalistic career which spanned more than 80 years.

His first job in the profession was at the age of 15 as a trainee, he was still writing articles into his 92nd year.

Before coming up with the idea for Panorama, Dennis had already had a distinguished career as a journalist.

He worked as a Fleet Street journalist for the Sunday Express and Daily Mirror, in the emergency planning department during World War II and was responsible for editing 100 editions of the popular 'Focus' magazine programme on BBC radio.


He came up with the idea of translating the format of the Focus programme onto the fledgling medium of television in the early 1950s, and worked upon the proposal with BBC producer Andrew Miller Jones.

Legend has it that as many as 100 potential programme titles were put forward for this television project. These included, 14 Days Journal, Fortnightly Witness, Eye on the World and You and the World, were rejected in favour of Panorama.

The name Panorama was allegedly suggested by Dennis, he says it came to him in a flash of inspiration as he was enjoying the panorama in his fifth floor office at Alexandra Palace.

Six months after the first programme - which was taken off air for a fortnight after being badly received by the public and the BBC hierarchy alike - Dennis left the BBC when his contract wasn't renewed.


Dennis Bardens
Dennis Bardens pictured in 2003
He then found his way to commercial television where he produced several programmes for the networks - including one with the now familiar BBC title of "Points of View"

But he always maintained his love for writing, and was a regular contributor to several newspapers, including the New York Times.

Away from journalism, Dennis was also an author and penned 15 books, including biographies of Princess Margaret, Winston Churchill and Elizabeth Fry.

He was also a leading authority on the paranormal and wrote several books on the subject. These included Psychic Animals, Mysterious Worlds and Ghosts and Hauntings' which has received worldwide acclaim.

He married his wife Marie in 1936, and the couple were together for nearly 50 years before she was killed in a car crash in 1985.

They had one son - the rock musician Peter Bardens. He found fame with the progressive rock group 'Camel' in the 1970s but also played in bands with Mick Fleetwood and Van Morrison.

Peter Bardens died of cancer in America in 2002.

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