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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 May 2006, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Money Programme history
The Money Programme logo 2006
The Money Programme is the BBC's's longest running business affairs programme.

The programme was first broadcast on 5 April 1966 from Lime Grove Studios in Shepherd's Bush, West London.

In the week of its first broadcast, The Radio Times described the Money Programme as "a new weekly magazine about international business".

Terry Hughes, the programme's first editor wrote: "Where the large corporation invests its money, what kind of plant it builds, what kind of training it gives its employees, what products it designs and what influence it has on social amenities - these are important decisions."

"The Money Programme will look at the way these companies are managed. It will also aim to broaden interest in business, in a year when it matters how we manage our money".

In the early years the Money Programme was fronted by "commentators" - distinguished financial journalists who gave viewers an insight and an understanding into Britain's new economic reality.

The programme was not an immediate success. Audiences started at around half a million.

Someone at the time wrote: "The only bright spot was the signature tune, with its honking brass harmonica riff and whispering cymbals". The music - called "The Cat" from the film The Carpetbaggers - went on to become one of the most distinctive and well-recognized on television.

But the programme had soon established itself and was making headlines - like the edition in November 1977 when Sir James Goldsmith appeared to answer questions from financial journalists James Bellini and Hugh Stephenson on his company Cavenham Limited.

In the event, Sir James accused the programme of telling lies and promptly stormed off the set.

Finding a wider audience

By the 1980s the Programme had been completely transformed.

A new glossy magazine format was introduced with two new presenters, Valerie Singleton and Brian Widlake, who helped to bring the programme to a wider audience.

It was no longer a serious finance-orientated programme. The idea was to reflect a new monetary decade in which the City of London began to flourish and the government espoused popular capitalism.

Stories about the London Stock Exchange's Big Bang were as important as the best mortgage deals on the High Street.

The formula was a great success. Three million viewers were tuning in every week.

Movers and shakers

Since then the reputation of the programme has grown and a roll call of the biggest names and the biggest companies in the world have appeared on the programme.

Those interviewed in the past decade include: Michael Eisner, Bill Gates, Tony Blair, Rupert Murdoch, Robert Maxwell, George Soros, Michael Dell, Larry Ellison, Sir Richard Branson, Lord John Browne, Lakshsmi Mittal, Sir Paul Smith, Alexander McQueen, Conrad Black, Sir Rocco Forte, Stelios Haji-Ioannou, Philip Green, Bernd Pischetsrieder, Sir Chris Gent, Jeff Bezos, and Michael Bloomberg.

The major companies who have granted significant filming access to the Money Programme include: McDonald's, IBM, General Motors, Apple, Microsoft, Chanel, De Beers, Boeing, British American Tobacco, BAE Systems, Daimler-Benz, Airbus, Anglo-American, Jardines, Ladbrokes, Zara, Amazon, Marks and Spencer, Cadburys, BP, Porsche, BMW, DuPont, Fiat, Disney, Cisco Systems, Monsanto and British Airways.

In 2001 the Programme was given a new look, changing from a magazine to a single subject documentary.

The new format has proved a great success with increased audiences, even greater press attention and a clutch of awards for its programmes.


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