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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 September 2003, 09:43 GMT 10:43 UK
Vivian White
Vivian White

Vivian has been working for Panorama, for well, longer than he can remember.

In fact he is such a part of the furniture that his 2001 film 'Tony in Adland' - about the rules governing the use of public money for advertising - used footage from a programme he had made on the same theme about Mrs Thatcher.

Vivian is a former TV producer who then turned to reporting and became a political correspondent and industrial editor in commercial radio, before returning to TV as a reporter on Granada, and Channel 4, before finally re-discovering the Beeb.

His take on his job is simple: "It is a huge privilege being a reporter on Panorama - I'd say it was better than work but I wouldn't want to be quoted on that."

Panorama, Vivian says, expects its reporters to deal not just with the subject areas that they know especially well but with subjects about which they previously knew little or nothing.

It is a huge privilege being a reporter on Panorama... better than work
Vivian White

So, in the wake of 11 September, Vivian had to learn - for the first time in his life - about the rudiments of Islam, to report on the reaction of the Muslim community in Birmingham to the attack and to the War on Terrorism that followed it.

That meant carrying television "tracks" into the Birmingham Central Mosque before the Friday lunchtime service and marvelling at the patience and tolerance of the congregation once the magnificent mini-railway was ready and it was time to push the camera around the worshippers.

"Koran and Country" was the film that resulted. He has since made other films along similar lines - including "Covering Up" which examined why young British Muslim women were choosing to wear the hijab and cover their faces.

Another memorable moment in Vivian's Panorama career saw him spend two months at St Peter's hospital in Surrey. The programme: "Condition Red," broadcast in March 2001, won him the "Medical Journalist of the Year" award in the Broadcasting section.

Vivian White reporting on Tony in Adland
Vivian White reporting on Tony in Adland...with Vivian White in the background

Whilst filming there, Panorama became so much a part of the scenery filming at St Peters that the League of Friends cafeteria there used thoughtfully to keep aside his favourite sandwich for him every day.

Ah, the glamorous life of reporters, filming on the front line.

He has however managed to escape to more far flung destinations, once heading to Taiwan to report on the way they teach maths in primary schools in Asia and on what they can tell us about teaching methods, called "Hard Lessons From Abroad".

He has also travelled throughout the USA on the awful quest for evidence in a film about the connection between deliberate cruelty to animals, and violence against humans.

Recently Vivian went on a whistle-stop tour of the world - taking in Guantanamo Bay, Gambia, the USA and Afghanistan as part of his investigation into the infamous camp in Cuba.

In "Out of Guantanamo" Vivian also spoke to the family of three British detainees who were released from the infamous camp in 2003.

SEE ALSO:
Covering up
07 Jun 04 |  Panorama
Out of Guantanamo
10 Mar 04 |  Panorama
Inside Guantanamo
19 Sep 03 |  Panorama
Blair's War
17 Mar 03 |  Panorama
How Safe is your Pension?
11 Nov 02 |  Panorama
Tony in Adland
17 May 02 |  Panorama
Koran and Country
07 Oct 01 |  Panorama
Condition Red 25 March 2001
23 Mar 01 |  Archive
Losing Control February 28 2000
28 Feb 00 |  Archive


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