BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Page last updated at 13:00 GMT, Monday, 19 July 2010 14:00 UK

A dip in the File on4 archive

Transcripts of File On 4 programmes are published here within two weeks of each broadcast. Transcripts are available for all programmes dating back to June 2004. There are also news reports for most programmes.

SUMMER 2010

Court of Protection 27 July 2010

A special court system is supposed to protect the interests of the vulnerable and the elderly. It's appointed thousands of 'deputies' - or guardians - to ensure their money is properly managed. The system was reformed three years ago - but have the changes worked?

There have been allegations the system is slow, bureaucratic and open to abuse. In some cases lawyers are appointed to oversee people's financial arrangements - and families claim they charge excessive fees. In other cases, it's a relative who's appointed as a deputy - but are there adequate safeguards to ensure they're not misappropriating the money? Fran Abrams investigates cases where the system has left some vulnerable people worse off.

Producer: Samantha Fenwick. Editor: David Lewis.

Oil spill hangover 20 July 2010

As BP's oil spill threatens fishing towns and tourist beaches along America's Gulf coast, Gerry Northam asks if lessons from previous disasters could have prevented the tragedy.

When the tanker Exxon Valdez hit a reef in Alaska's Prince William Sound in 1989, the resulting oil spill became the worst in American history. Fisheries were closed and the local economy was undermined. Many said such a disaster should never again befall American coastal communities. Tankers were obliged to be constructed with a protective second skin, and the law was changed to give polluters the clear responsibility to pay for oil spills.

More than a hundred million gallons of oil have poured into the Gulf and a growing chorus of critics is asking why more preparations were not made for such a tragedy? Gerry Northam reports.

Producer Andy Denwood. Editor David Ross.

Arms smugglers 13 July 2010

Britain claims to have one of the most effective arms export control regimes in the world, but Allan Urry investigates how weapons dealers are using the UK to get huge secret consignments to the Middle East and other conflict zones, in defiance of UN Security Council sanctions.

Producer: Gail Champion Editor: David Ross.

Illegal workers 6 July 2010

Lifting the lid on illegal London - welcome to a world of forged documents and faked identities. It is believed there are likely to be more than 200,000 illegal migrant workers in the UK's capital city. But how are they able to survive. How do they get work? In this special investigation, Jon Manel obtains rare access into the lives of some of London's illegal workers - lives often based on lies and deception. He discovers that some are now so much part of the system, they even pay tax and national insurance.

He hears of miserable and difficult times spent living in the shadows. But other illegal workers say they are making a bigger contribution than many who were born here. "I'm doing a job that most English persons wouldn't do. I think I've never seen an English person cleaning a toilet". And he goes to a well known part of London that owes its survival to the workers who shouldn't be here.

Producer: Paul Grant. Editor: David Ross.

Stingy banks? 29 June 2010

Is Britain's economic recovery going to be stifled by banks not offering sufficient finance to small and medium size companies?

Firms are concerned that although the banks say they are open for business the reality of the terms, conditions and fees make it unrealistic for them to apply for finance.

In frustration, some businesses have turned to foreign banks to make finance available to them.

And at a time when hi-tech businesses are seen as a source of future growth for the British economy, companies complain that banks are assessing loan applications using traditional business criteria which offer little support to this sector.

As the part state owned banks fail to meet lending targets set by the previous administration, the new Business Secretary Vince Cable says he is determined to address this. But in the current climate Morland Sanders asks how much more financial help can British business really expect?

Producer Ian Muir-Cochrane. Editor David Ross

Domestic servitude 22 June 2010

Described as the modern-day face of slavery, scores of foreign workers are being brought into the UK to work in domestic servitude. They work long hours - often under physical duress and for low or non-existent pay. Jenny Cuffe investigates whether the authorities are doing enough to protect these workers - and to prosecute the people who've exploited them.

Producer: Nicola Dowling. Editor: David Ross.

Troops trauma 15 June 2010

New research plays down claims of an epidemic of mental illness among soldiers who've served in Afghanistan. But do the official figures tell the full story? Julian O'Halloran investigates and speaks to veterans who warn of a huge hidden problem and a culture that still pressurises soldiers to get on with the job rather than seek help.

And he reports from The Netherlands on efforts there to discover the extent of the psychological damage their military personnel may be suffering.

Producer: Sally Chesworth. Editor: David Ross

Crisis in public sector pensions? 8 June 2010

As MPs and senior officials retire on 'gold-plated' pensions, the media report that public sector pension schemes are heading for crisis because of multi-billion pound funding deficits. Local Councils alone are said to face a black hole of £53bn, which critics claim can only be filled by drastic cuts in entitlements and increased contributions from staff.

Both Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are committed to reform of the system. Unions are planning a campaign to preserve their members' rights and have already secured a significant court victory blocking cuts to redundancy payments.

Gerry Northam looks behind the headlines and asks if there really is a looming pensions crisis.

Producer: Samantha Fenwick. Editor: David Ross.

Why does the UK have high stillbirth rates? 1 June 2010

The UK has some of the highest rates of stillbirths and early neonatal deaths in Europe.

There have been calls for improved care in hospital labour wards and an increase in research efforts to discover why so many apparently perfectly normal babies die.

However there is growing concern that in some hospitals, these deaths are not being properly investigated. Parents report difficulties in finding out full details of what went wrong. Shortages of specialist pathologists have meant that crucial post-mortem examinations are never carried out. And the inquest system is patchy when it comes to discovering the cause of a new born baby's death. Ann Alexander investigates.

Producer: Ian Muir-Cochrane. Editor: David Ross.

Are bribe firms escaping justice? 25 May 2010

Allan Urry investigates concerns that the punishment is not fitting the crime when it comes to UK firms guilty of corruption abroad.

Producer: Andy Denwood. Editor: David Ross.

WINTER 2010

Is Jobcentre Plus working? 23 March

The government is promising extra help for people out of work during the recession. But, as Britain braces itself for a rise in unemployment, Allan Urry reports from the communities already hardest hit and asks what redundant steelmakers, public sector workers and others joining the dole queue can really expect at the Jobcentre?

Producer: Ian Muir-Cochrane. Editor: David Ross.

Children who abuse children 16 March 2010

Around a third of all youngsters who have been abused are victims of other children and young people. Jackie Long investigates what is done to help young abusers stop offending and asks why so many are slipping through the net.

Producer: Ed Main. Editor: David Ross

Pensions crisis 9 March 2010

Five years ago the government promised to provide a safety net for when pension funds went bust, but this new scheme is already more than a billion pounds in deficit. Fran Abrams investigates allegations that some companies are simply dumping their obligations and leaving the Pensions Protection Fund - and in some cases the taxpayer - to pick up the bill.

Producer: Paul Grant. Editor: David Ross.

Computing calamities 2 March 2010

As ministers decide whether a 12-billion-pound NHS computer project in England offers value for money, Gerry Northam asks if some major IT projects could be scrapped by a new government looking for big spending cuts.

Producer: Trudi Barber. Editor: David Ross

Concerns over child courts 23 February 2010

CAFCASS, the family courts' advisory service, is again facing claims that it is failing the vulnerable children it is supposed to protect. Seven years after reporting that the organisation was in crisis, Jenny Cuffe returns to ask why the service is still facing a backlog of urgent cases and unprecedented delays.

Producer: Sally Chesworth. Editor: David Ross.

NHS safety alerts ignored? 16 February 2010

After two big scandals in a year over dire standards in hospitals which put patients at serious risk, Julian O'Halloran asks how many people are still being killed by avoidable medical blunders, and how far the NHS has progressed since it began to address the problem ten years ago.

Producer: Andy Denwood. Editor: David Ross

The next banking nightmare? 9 February 2010

While Britain's top bankers celebrate their bonuses, Michael Robinson investigates the commercial property market and the nasty surprises that it may hold for the banks and for the long-suffering British taxpayers who bailed them out.

Producer: Ian Muir-Cochrane. Editor: David Ross.

Dealing with Taliban bombers 2 February 2010

The government has pledged £150m to combat the threat of improvised explosive devices, which are now the biggest danger to British and other coalition troops in Afghanistan. But is the UK doing enough to tackle the increasing threat they pose? Allan Urry investigates.

Producer: Gail Champion. Editor: David Ross

Drug danger distraction? 26 January 2010

A British drug company is being sued by more than 15,000 people in the United States who claim its bestselling antipsychotic drug caused severe weight gain, diabetes and other serious medical conditions. Ann Alexander investigates concerns about the way it was marketed and asks how much the public should be told about the drugs they take.

Producer: Paul Grant. Editor: David Ross.

Who polices the police? 19 January 2010

In 2009, 2,445 cases, including allegations of police brutality, deaths in custody and serious negligence, were referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. But is it truly independent, and does its record over five years encourage public confidence? Gerry Northam investigates.

Producer: Rob Cave. Editor: David Ross.

AUTUMN 2009

Forensic cost cutting? 8 December 2009

The Government's forensic science service is crucial to tackling crime but it is shedding hundreds of jobs and closing half of its laboratories in a drive to make the organisation more commercial. Fran Abrams investigates whether the aggressive cost cutting is beginning to hit the way the service operates and undermine criminal justice.

Producer: Gail Champion. Editor: David Ross.

Too scared to return to Iraq: 1 December 2009

Earlier this year, US troops handed control for security in Iraq back to the Iraqi Government. It was supposed to be the first sign that normality was returning to the streets, so why are thousands of Iraqi refugees still refusing to return home. Kate Clark investigates.

Producer: Sally Chesworth. Editor: David Lewis.

Transplant trauma: 24 November 2009

With around 8,000 people waiting for an organ transplant in the UK, hospitals are having to use organs from the elderly, smokers, cancer sufferers and drug abusers. Gerry Northam examines the dilemmas posed for doctors and assesses the risks to transplant patients.

Producer: Paul Grant. Editor: David Lewis

Dirty gold: Tuesday 17 November 2009

With record gold prices stimulating demand, Jenny Cuffe reports from the Democratic Republic of Congo on the scale illegal mining and asks whether the industry does enough to ensure that gold supplies are not being used to fund conflict.

Producer: Samantha Fenwick. Editor: David Ross.

Postcode policing: Tuesday 10 November 2009

Some of Britain's police forces are warning of a funding crisis, with staff cuts, stations closing and parts of the motorway network left unpatrolled. Allan Urry investigates whether the police could still do more to deliver better value from the money they get.

Producer: Ian Muir-Cochrane. Editor: David Ross.

Casino banking: Tuesday 3 November 2009

The head of the Financial Services Agency, Lord Turner has questioned the social usefulness of what banks do. But as he and other regulators wrestle with ways of controlling so-called "casino operations", Michael Robinson lifts the lid on the latest tricks of the trade which some banks are now using to increase their profits.

Producer: Sally Chesworth. Editor: David Ross.

Council fat cats? Tuesday 13 October 2009

Fears over deep cuts in council jobs and services have brought prediction of a winter of discontent and strife unlike anything seen for 30 years. But as councils prepare to wield the axe, Julian O'Halloran asks if some authorities have added to their crises through over-the-top pay, perks and severance terms they have awarded to their own top executives.

Producer: Rob Cave. Editor: David Ross


Defence equipment blues: Tuesday 6 October 2009

With a parliamentary report expected this month to add criticism of Whitehall's defence purchasing systems, Gerry Northam, asks why it seems so hard to buy the right equipment for UK armed forces.

Producer: Andy Denwood. Editor: David Ross.


Care concerns: Tuesday 29 September 2009

Following criticism of the NHS earlier this month over the Fsystem failures which allowed a man with schizophrenia to kill two people, Miriam O'Reilly investigates claims of widespread problems in community mental health services which are allowing dangerous patients to commit violent offences or to harm themselves.

Producer: Gail Champion. Editor: David Ross.

Extreme danger: Tuesday 22 September 2009

As the Government's strategy for combating extremism is revised to focus on white racist groups as well as Islamic radicals, Allan Urry assesses the threat of attacks by right wing extremists and fears they could lead to a rise in racial tensions.

Producer: Paul Grant. Editor: David Ross.


SUMMER 2009

Torture by fax: Tuesday 28 July 2009

As evidence continues to emerge about the CIA's secret detention and interrogation programme, calls grow on this side of the Atlantic for an inquiry into claims that Britain colluded in the torture of suspects. Stephen Grey investigates the relationship between the US and the UK security services in the "hidden war on terror."

Producer: Ian Muir-Cochrane. Editor: David Ross.

Safe from arrest? Tuesday 21 July 2009

Fraud is estimated to cost the UK economy upwards of £14bn a year, a figure which is expected to rise dramatically during the recession. Gerry Northam investigates whether some of the biggest and most audacious corporate fraudsters are now practically immune from prosecution.

Producer: Rob Cave. Editor: David Lewis.

Safe flying? Tuesday 14 July 2009.

With an inquiry underway into the mid-air explosion in 2006 aboard a Nimrod aircraft, which killed 14 service personnel, Angus Stickler examines the safety record of the RAF in recent conflicts.

Producer: Gail Champion. Editor: David Ross

Freed to kill?: Tuesday 6 July 2009.

Following a series of blunders by the justice authorities, who left a dangerous criminal free to torture and murder two French students in London, Allan Urry asks whether government ministers can still justify their claim that Britain's system of public protection from violent offenders and sex abusers is among the best in the world.

Producer: Rebecca Woodward. Editor: David Ross.

The real cost of no win. no fee: Tuesday 30 June 2009.

With payouts in clinical negligence cases expected top reach a record £700m next year, Miriam O'Reilly investigates the way no-win, no-fee lawyers are allowed to charge up to £800 an hour bringing claims against the NHS, enabling many law firms to earn substantially more in fees than their clients receive in damages.

Producer: Paul Grant. Editor: David Ross.

Paying the price of PFI: Tuesday 23 June 2009.

The government's flagship policy for public investment, the Private Finance Initiative, has always relied on big loans from banks. But now, as lenders demand far more for their money, Michael Robinson investigates disturbing increases in the cost of building our schools, hospitals and roads.

In today's economic climate, does PFI represent value for money for hard-pressed taxpayers?

Producer: Jenny Chryss Editor: David Ross.

Quango's cash crisis: Tuesday 16 June 2009

As the recession leads to rocketing unemployment, apprentices and local college students have been hit by a dramatic cash crisis in the Government Agency that oversees their training. Gerry Northam investigates allegations of incompetence and neglect in the England's biggest quango, The Learning and Skills Council.

Producer: Ian Muir-Cochrane. Editor: David Ross.

Where did Swine Flu come from?: Tuesday 9 June 2008.

The Swine Flu virus that has hit Britain and dozens more countries has caused panic and scores of deaths in Mexico. But where did it come from? Julian O'Halloran investigates claims that industrial pig farms in the USA played a key role in exposing us to the threat of a global pandemic.

Producer: Samantha Fenwick. Editor: David Ross.

Pay retreat: Tuesday 2 June 2009

With the UK jobless total now topping more than 2.1m people, the Government says it is tightening the immigration rules to help preserve British jobs for British workers. But Jenny Cuffe asks if the policy is being undermined by employers who are intent on bringing in overseas workers as a way of driving down pay.

Producer: David Lewis. Editor: David Ross.

Bankers behaving badly: Tuesday 26 May 2009.

In the first of a new series Allan Urry investigates more claims of bad behaviour by bankers and follows the David and Goliath struggle of a group of small business owners now battling to force one of the high street giants to take responsibility for the decisions they say left them in ruins.

Producer: Karen Kiernan. Assistant Editor: Lynne Jones.

WINTER 2009

Who stole my house?: Tuesday 31 March 2009

Criminals are "stealing" houses from under their owners' noses and getting away with the proceeds by exploiting the way information is made available. Critics say it calls into question the state's ability to protect property rights. Are inadequate safeguards contributing to the theft of millions of pounds. Shari Vahl investigates.

Producer: Ian Muir-Cochrane. Ass Editor: Lynne Jones.

Torturers in the UK: Tuesday 24 March 2009

Has Britain become a haven for torturers? Fran Abrams investigates the case for new laws and tougher policing to prevent human rights abusers taking refuge in the UK.

Producer: Andy Denwood. Ass Editor: Lynne Jones.

The crisis in town hall finances: Tuesday 17 March 2009

Local authorities are struggling to balance the books because of the economic downturn. At a time when councils say they are forced to lay off thousands of staff, why have some councils invested £1bn of taxpayers cash in banks which have crashed with no sign of getting their money back. Allan Urry reports on a crisis in town hall finances.

Producer: David Lewis. Editor: David Ross.

Concerns of 'Redcaps' role: Tuesday 10 March 2009

The Royal Military Police comes under judicial scrutiny next month after concerns abut the quality and independence of their investigations into civilian deaths in Iraq. Simon Cox examines the RMP's recording in dealing with alleged crimes by UK forces both during operations and peacetime.

Producer: Paul Grant. Editor: David Ross.

Teachers in the dock: Tuesday 3 March 2009

Efforts to protect children from abuse are intensifying but have some safety measures gone too far? Julian O'Halloran investigates claims that over-reaction by schools to minor incidents or unproven allegations is wrecking the careers of hundreds of innocent teachers.

Producer: Samantha Fenwick. Editor: David Ross.

Zimbabwe's sanctions busters: Tuesday 24 February 2009

As Zimbabwe's economic collapse continues, File On 4 asks whether the sanctions imposed by Britain and Europe are adequate to stop wealth being channelled out of the country by people close to the Mugabe government.

Producer: Iain Muir-Cochrane. Editor: David Ross.

The legacy of toxic lending: Tuesday 17 February 2009

As Gordon Brown stuggles to bolster British banks and stave off economic depression, Michael Robinson investigates the legacy of toxic lending and reveals why the threat it poses to UK jobs, homes and incomes is especially acute.

Producer: Jenny Chryss. Editor: David Ross.

Egypt's role in the Gaza crisis: Tuesday 10 February 2009

The Arab world's elder statesman President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt was centre stage in the attempt to end the crisis in Gaza. But what role did Egypt play behind the scenes in the build up to war? And how will its octogenarian leader weather mounting criticism at home and abroad. Lucy Ash reports.

Editor: David Ross. Producer: Andy Denwood

Counterfeits on prescription: Tuesday 3 February 2009

The NHS is under pressure to cut its £11bn annual spend on buying drugs but has the hunt for cheaper alternatives opened the door to dangerous counterfeits? As Britain's GP's, hospitals and high street chemists are targeted by criminal syndicates selling cheap fakes disguised as life saving medicines, Allan Urry asks how they have penetrated a supply chain which is supposed to be safe.

Editor: David Ross. Producer: Phillip Kemp.

Are surrogacy laws outdated?: Tuesday 27 January 2009

More and more British couples are having children using surrogate mothers - both in the UK and abroad - but is the law keeping pace? Jon Manel investigates.

Editor: David Ross. Producer: David Lewis.

Debt dumping: Tuesday 20 January 2009

With a record number of companies expected to go into administration or bankruptcy this year, Julian O'Halloran examines Britain's insolvency laws and asks whether weaknesses in regulation and enforcement are being exploited by some company directors to dispose of debts unfairly.

Editor: David Ross. Producer: Paul Grant.

AUTUMN 2008

Staving off housing repossessions: Tuesday 25 November 2008

As the credit squeeze goes on tightening, repossessions are rocketing and businesses are running out of cash. The Prime Minister has instructed banks to keep funds flowing but with lenders increasingly desperate, can this initiative cut the rise of evictions and unemployment? Michael Robinson investigates.

Producer: Ian Muir-Cochrane. Editor: David Ross.

The fight against extremism: Tuesday 18 November 2008

Britain is spending millions of pounds on grassroots projects to prevent violent extremism taking root in muslim communities. But is it an effective use of money? Amardeep Bassey investigates fears that some of the funds may be ending up with groups promoting an extremist agenda.

Producer: David Lewis. Editor: David Ross.

Red card for football finances: Tuesday 11 November 2008

Professional football is in the red with Premier League clubs alone owing £3bn. The governing bodies in England and Europe want action and the government has called for a review of financial regulation in the game. Simon Cox investigates how football has got into such a mess and asks who the next casualties will be.

Producer: Paul Grant. Editor: David Ross.

Troop trauma the NHS response: Tuesday 4 November 2008

Why are growing numbers of Afghan veterans and other ex-soldiers failing to cope with life outside the army? With estimates that as many as one in 10 people in prison now have army backgrounds, Allan Urry investigates claims that the NHS is still failing to deal with soldiers traumatised by war.

Producer: Rob Cave. Editor: David Ross.

What really happened in Georgia: Tuesday 28 October 2008

Georgia's summer war put East-West relations back in the freezer, but who fired the first shot and could the fighting have been avoided? Reporting from the world's newest and most contested border, Tim Whewell gathers first hand evidence of the countdown to the conflict and assesses its impact on leaders in Washington, Moscow and Tiblisi.

Producer: Andy Denwood. Editor: David Ross.

Why are fuel bills soaring?: Tuesday 21 October 2008

As millions of families struggle to pay rocketing gas and electricity bills, suppliers blame prices on forces beyond their control. But Julian O'Halloran hears claims that our bills may be hundreds of pounds too high due to weak regulation, bad planning and a market dominated by just six big companies.

Producer: Ian Muir-Cochrane. Editor: David Ross.

Who regulates the regulators?: Tuesday 14 October 2008

Hundreds of lawsuits are being filed in the USA by banks and financial institutions arguing over who is to blame for the crisis in the global financial markets. Michael Robinson investigates and reveals what those legal documents tell us about the banking system and the effectiveness of our regulators.

Producer: David Lewis. Editor: David Ross.

A new witch hunt? : Tuesday 23 September 2008

Allan Urry examines the case for linking animal cruelty with child abuse, amid concerns from organisations such as the RSPCA and the NSPCC that offenders may be more likely to commit both crimes. Is this a breakthrough for those who investigate such serious and sensitive allegations, or a new "Satanic Panic"?

Producer: Paul Grant. Editor: David Ross.

New superbug threat: Tuesday 16 September 2008

While Britain's hospitals struggle to contain the spread of MRSA, Jenny Cuffe reports on a new and potentially deadly strain of the bacteria that attacks children and young people in the community. Experts warn that without Government action, the death roll will continue to rise.

Producer: Jenny Chryss. Editor: David Ross.

SPRING-SUMMER 2008

Profits before poverty: Tuesday 15 July 2008.

In 1948, the post-war Labour Government set up the Colonial Development Corporation, a tax-payers' fund to promote industry and agriculture in the poorest parts of the Empire. Sixty years on, today's Labour Government denies suggestions that it wants to privatise the agency, but its critics say the CDC is increasingly concerned with making profits rather than relieving poverty. Gerry Northam reports.
Producer: Andy Denwood. Editor: David Ross

The Regeneration game: Tuesday 8 July 2008.

Britain's towns and cities are relying on building shops and apartments to regenerate run-down areas. But the credit crunch and falling property values have forced some developers to abandon their plans, leaving the local authority partners unable to develop key sites. Allan Urry investigates the impact of the economic downturn on urban regeneration.
Producer: Ian Muir-Cochrane. Editor: David Ross

Bad blood: Tuesday 1 July 2008.

Blood transfusions have been carried out for more than a century but Lesley Curwen investigates growing concerns that many are unnecessary and could do more harm than good to patients.
Producer: Paul Grant. Editor: David Ross

The drugs war in Afghanistan: Tuesday 24 June 2008.

After last year's record opium crop in Afghanistan, counter narcotics is a top priority for Britain and the Afghan Government. Over the last year, Kate Clark has had rare access to the fight against a trade which fuels corruption and insecurity and bankrolls the Taliban. She asks just how effective these efforts can be.
Producer: David Lewis. Editor: Lynne Jones

Doping the elderly: Tuesday 17 June 2008.

Tens of thousands of elderly patients suffering dementia are given powerful psychiatric drugs they do not need. The side effects can be devastating and even fatal. Gerry Northam investigates.
Producer: Jane Beresford. Editor: David Ross.

Roll for coal: Tuesday 10 June 2008.

Fears about energy security and rocketing gas prices have caused electricity generators to press for a new wave of coal-fired power stations. But as Julian O'Halloran, reports the "roll for coal" - turning the clock back half a century - is causing splits in Whitehall, anguish among climate change campaigners and fury among families living in the shadow of vast new open cast coal mines.
Producer: Samantha Fenwick. Editor: David Ross.

Funding terror: Tuesday 3 June 2008.

Later this month, money-laundering experts from all over the world gather in London to review progress in the financial war against terrorism. But after the recent High Court ruling that the Government's powers to freeze suspects' assets are unlawful, are the authorities falling behind on a crucial front? Fran Abrams, investigates.
Producer: Rob Cave. Editor: David Ross.

A capital crisis?: Tuesday 27 May 2008.

Being Capital of Culture should be a boom for Liverpool Liverpool's £4bn regeneration programme is one of the biggest in Europe. This year the city is also celebrating its status as European Capital of Culture. It should be a boom time so why is Liverpool City Council, the area's biggest employer, mired in mounting debts and rated by government auditors as the worst performer in the country. Allan Urry reports.
Producer: Paul Grant. Editor: David Ross.

Food speculation: Tuesday 20 May 2008.

Politically explosive rises in the price of food, oil and metals are mostly blamed on growing demand from China and India. But is that the true cause or are commodity prices being inflated by a dangerous new speculative bubble? Michael Robinson investigates a new potential threat to the world's already weakened financial system.
Producer: Ian Muir-Cochrane. Editor: David Ross.

FILE ON 4 SPECIAL

A terminal failure : Tuesday 29 April 2008.

Following the chaos at Heathrow's new Terminal 5 in which thousands of people were left without their luggage, this special edition of File On 4 investigates what went wrong and examines the record of BAA, the company that runs some of our biggest airports.
Reporter: Julian O'Halloran. Producer: David Lewis. Editor: David Ross.

WINTER SERIES 2008

The human cost of platinum: Tuesday 25 March 2008.

Platinum is an essential component of catalytic converters that clean up car emissions - it is now twice the price of gold. Yet as mining companies rush to exploit South Africa's reserves, traditional farmers complain they are being forced off their ancestral lands. Angus Stickler investigates. Producer: Andy Denwood. Editor: David Ross.

Will bigger jails solve the prisons crisis?: Tuesday 18 March 2008.

BBC Home Affairs Correspondent Danny Shaw examines some of the Government's proposals to deal with prison overcrowding and reports from Fleury-Merogis, Europe's largest prison, just south of Paris. Producer: Gaetan Portal. Editor: David Ross.

Compensation fatigue: Tuesday 11 March 2008.

When a new compensation scheme for wounded soldiers began in 2005, they and their families hoped that payments would start to match the sums paid out to victims of crime. However as Julian O'Halloran reports the number of troops who are eligible for such awards has been drastically cut to the point where some of those injured in Iraq may get nothing. Producer: Julia Rooke. Editor: David Ross.

Development agency doubts: Tuesday 4 March 2008.

The Government is devolving more and more responsibilities to England's nine regional development agencies, but how do we know how well they are performing? Allan Urry asks whether their record stands up to critics who accuse them of being unaccountable, out of touch and poor value for money for their £2bn budget. Producer: Jenny Chryss. Editor: David Ross.

Sikh extremism: Tuesday 26 February 2008.

With attention focussed on Islamist extremism, Amardeep Bassey asks whether the authorities are doing enough to counter the activities of UK-based Sikh groups supporting the violent campaign for an independent homeland in the Punjab. Producer: David Lewis. Editor: David Ross.

Back pay blues: Tuesday 19 February 2008.

Britain's town halls are now facing wage reviews and thousands of claims for back pay from women workers who had been earning less than their male counterparts. But how are cash strapped local authorities going to meet the potential bill of £2.8bn. Jenny Cuffe reports. Producer: Liz Carney, Editor: David Ross.

BNP finances: Tuesday 12 February 2008.

The mainstream political parties are facing sustained pressure over donations, loans and honours.

COMPLAINT UPHELD
The BBC's Editorial Complaints Unit upheld a complaint about one aspect of the programme.

But now new concerns have been raised about the finances of The British National Party. Will its records bear scrutiny? Fran Abrams investigates. Producer: Samantha Fenwick, Editor: David Ross.

Tracks trauma: Tuesday 5 February 2008.

After the rail chaos of the New Year, caused by overrunning maintenance, Julian O'Halloran investigates Network Rail's performance on track maintenance and renewal. He assesses criticisms of its record on safety checks designed to prevent train crashes and derailments. Producer: Rob Cave, Editor: David Ross.

Fire proof?: Tuesday 29 January 2008.

As the investigations continue into the cause of the blaze at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, one of the world's leading cancer treatment centres, File On 4's Allan Urry asks whether fire safety standards in Britain's Hospitals are good enough. Producer: Andy Denwood, Editor: David Ross.

Deadly care: Tuesday 22 January 2008.

Five years after Lord Laming's damning inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbie, Andrew Bomford asks why are so may children still dying at the hands of their parents or carers. The Laming Report called for a major reform of the way child abuse cases are handled, so how much has really changed?

AUTUMN SERIES 2007

Laboratory problems: Tuesday 20 November 2007.

Research on cancer cells is at the cutting edge of medical science but is the development of some new treatments being set back by a failure to take basic precautions in the laboratory. Gerry Northam investigates.

How to close Guantanamo Bay: Tuesday 13 November 2007.

America wants to shut its controversial prison camp at Guantanamo Bay. Jon Manel examines the problems it faces and examines claims that the USA is already breaking international law by sending detainees to countries where they may be tortured and abused.

Northern rocked: Tuesday 6 November 2007.

How did the troubles of what was an obscure building society, only 10 years ago, nearly bring Britain's financial system to its knees? Robert Peston, The BBC's Business Editor, who was first to break the news of Northern Rock's emergency approach to the Bank of England, investigates who and what was to blame for the cataclysmic events.

Deep South racism revisited: Tuesday 30 October 2007.

With America's Presidential election year about to begin, a case of alleged racial injustice and white supremacist provocation in the Deep South has ignited a wave of protest and fury evoking the civil rights struggles of the 1960s. Julian O'Halloran reports from the United States on the deep cracks and tensions which have been dramatically exposed.

The drugs front line: Tuesday 23 October 2007.

Have we underestimated the impact of crack cocaine as it spreads across Britain's towns and cities? Allan Urry reports from the front line on the violence of gangs who deal in crack, the police effort to tackle the organised crime behind it and the rise in children taken into care because of the reckless behaviour of addicts.

Billion dollar drain?: Tuesday 16 October 2007.

Billions of pounds are allocated for regeneration projects in the UK but does the government keep proper track on how this money is spent? The European Commission has stopped some payments, arguing that large sums remain unaccounted for. Gerry Northam investigates.

Combatting cancer: Tuesday 9 October 2007.

New research suggests the number of work related cancers could be as high as 24,000 a year rather than the 6,000 occupational cancer deaths given by officials estimates. Tim Whewell investigates whether the Health and Safety Executive is doing enough to prevent work related cancers.

Inside Basra: Tuesday 2 October 2007.

After the handover of Basra to Iraqi control, Kate Clark asks what conditions are like in the city and talks to people who are too frightened to live there.

The dangers of housing debt: Tuesday 25 September 2007.

As American house prices are hit by a flood of defaults on home loans, Michael Robinson lifts the lid on British mortgages to examine growing concerns about unchecked borrowing and the potential danger for the housing market here.

The misery of elder abuse: Tuesday 18 September 2007.

File on 4:MPs recently condemned the misery and abuse suffered by elderly people in care. In the first of a new series Allan Urry investigates cases of elder abuse which highlight the continuing failure to police residential and nursing homes properly and asks why is it so difficult to get redress when things go wrong?

SUMMER SERIES 2007

A question of identity: Tuesday 31 July 2007.

File on 4:The Government is expected to issue the first tenders for its controversial ID card scheme, which ministers say will combat fraud and terrorism but with the technology untested and costs rising, Sarak Spiller asks, is it set to become another IT disaster?

The price of a rose: Tuesday 24 July 2007.

File on 4:Ministers believe investment not poverty is the way to lift developing countries out of poverty. So when you buy Kenyan roses in a supermarket you are helping that countries struggling economy - or are you? Fran Abrams reports.

Jumping the housing queue: Tuesday 17 July, 2007

File on 4:Government minister Margaret Hodge claims some economic migrants are allowed to jump the queue for council housing. Gerry Northam reports on how the system works and asks if local people are losing out?

The building boom's true cost: Tuesday 10 July, 2007

File on 4:With Britain in the middle of a construction boom, Julian O'Halloran investigates claims of cartels and price rigging and assesses how much such practices are adding to the final bills paid by UK plc.

Iran's hi-tech armourers: Tuesday 3 July, 2007

File on 4: Allan Urry investigates whether the UK and its European allies are doing enough to prevent Iran receiving components and technologies from hi-tech companies in the West.

"Honour" Killings: Tuesday 26 June, 2007

File on 4: There are links between some cases of "honour" violence in Britain and extremist groups abroad, a BBC investigation has been told. Angus Stickler investigates.

The 'problems' of Afghanistan aid: Tuesday, 19 June, 2007

File On 4: As the death toll continues to grow in Afghanistan the mismanagement of donor aid is threatening the stability of the country. The issue threatens to destabilise the government of President Hamid Karzai, three years into his five year term and the main beneficiaries could be members of the former Taleban regime. Kate Clark investigates the growing crisis.

Is a PFI crisis looming?: Tuesday, 12 June, 2007

File On 4:With Gordon Brown heading for 10 Downing Street one of his key schemes, the Private Finance Initiative, is showing signs of strain. Is more than £100 billion on projects such as schools and hospitals being wisely spent? In the NHS there is a fear that PFI involvement skews the distribution of resources. While in Education projects are slow to start. File On 4's Gerry Northam reports.

Are we cooling global warming?: Tuesday 5 June 2007
File On 4 As anxiety grows over climate change the Government is backing attempts to cut greenhouse gas emissions through carbon trading or to cancel them out through "green" schemes abroad. Yet with one strategy having added hundreds of millions of pounds to Britain's electricity bills, Julian O'Halloran asks are such mechanisms having any real impact on global warming?

What future for the Royal Navy? : Tuesday, 29 May 2007
File On 4 An official inquiry is underway into the humiliating capture of British sailors in the Gulf by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Yet in the background there are questions over the role and scope of the senior service. The UK's soldiers have seen comparatively more action than the its sailors in the 25 years since the Falklands Task Force set sail. Analysts are asking is the Royal Navy still a credible fighting force? File On 4's Allan Urry investigates the effects of budget cuts on Britain's senior service.

WINTER SERIES 2007

Guns and gangs - a tale of two Manchesters. : Tuesday, 27 March 2007
File On 4 Concern about teenage gangs and gun crime in Britain has reached new heights following recent killings in the London area of Peckham and Manchester's Moss Side. Allan Urry visits Manchester, USA, where a wide range of initiatives are being used to drive youngsters away from gangs, and asks do they have something to teach their British counterparts?

Abuse of trust? : Tuesday, 20 March 2007
File On 4 How well are Britain's most vulnerable adults protected from abuse by those paid to care for them? Gerry Northam investigates recent cases where the system failed.

Tackling the bird flu threat : Tuesday, 13 March 2007
File On 4 In the wake of the bird flu outbreak at the Bernard Matthews turkey plant in Norfolk, Jenny Cuffe reports on the global march of the disease and the continuing efforts to combat the threat.

The drugs' war own goal : Tuesday, 6 March 2007
File On 4 tells the inside story of Britain's dirty war against drugs. Why did a controversial policy of using major drug dealers as informants do so little to stem the flow of drugs onto our streets?

Raw materials, war materials? : Tuesday, 27 February 2007
File On 4 investigates concerns that uranium is being secretly mined and smuggled out of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Bridging the skills gap : Tuesday, 20 February 2007
File On 4 asks why there is a shortage of skilled workers?

Making crime pay? : Tuesday, 13 February 2007
File On 4 asks will the scrapping of the Assets Recovery Agency be a let off for the crime barons?

Moscow's mystery deaths : Tuesday, 6 February 2007
File On 4 investigates a series of suspicious deaths in St Petersburg and Moscow.

Troops deserted? : Tuesday, 30 January 2007
File On 4 asks how does the Ministry of Defence treat soldiers who have been badly wounded and the families of those killed in action.

WINTER SERIES 2006

Nuclear blackout? : Tuesday, 5 December 2006
File On 4 investigates if the UK has become dangerously dependent on a fleet of ageing and decrepit nuclear power stations.

Are we doing enough to stop superbugs?: Tuesday, 28 November 2006
File On 4 asks if the government is doing enough to protect patients from a new breed of superbugs.

Bugging the terrorists: Tuesday, 21 November 2006
File On 4 asks what can bugging and surveillance tell the authorities about terrorists and major criminals, and how much of it should be used as evidence in court?

Countering radical Islam: Tuesday, 14 November 2006
File On 4 reports on the extent of radicalisation among Britain's Muslim communities.

Israel fears prospects for peace: Tuesday, 7 November 2006
File On 4 reports on the angst in Israel following its invasion of Lebanon.

UK 'haven' for money laundering: Tuesday, 31 October, 2006
File On 4 reveals claims that Britain is a centre for dictators to keep their money.

File On 4: How green is BP?: Tuesday, 24 October, 2006
File On 4 reveals charges that BP courted disaster by cutting corners on safety and maintenance.

How private could the NHS go?: Tuesday, 17 October, 2006
File On 4 reveals creeping privatisation in the NHS.

Concern over troops' equipment: Tuesday, 10 October, 2006
File On 4 reveals why British troops can't get some of the equipment they need to keep them safe in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Pakistan Quake - One Year On: Tuesday, 3 October, 2006
File On 4 reveals how extremist Islamic groups played a major role in the humanitarian and relief efforts after the 2005 quake.

SUMMER SERIES 2006

Victims of crime: Tuesday, 25 July, 2006
File On 4 reveals how prosecutors are failing to place victims of crime at the heart of the justice system.

Tainted gold: Tuesday, 18 July, 2006
File On 4 learns how big gold mining firms in Ghana are prepared to use extreme measures to protect their interests.

UK investment: Tuesday, 11 July, 2006
File on 4 asks if the many incentives offered by the government to lure foreign investors to the UK is worthwhile.

US Muslims: Tuesday, 4 July, 2006
File on 4 investigates growing concerns among US Muslims about measures being taken to combat home-grown terrorism.

Water: Tuesday, 27 June, 2006
File on 4 asks if enough is being done to prevent water companies from damaging the environment and overcharging customers.

SPRING SERIES 2006

Farmers: Tuesday, 20 June, 2006
File on 4 investigates the failure of the new rural payments scheme that has brought many English farmers to the brink of financial ruin.

Foreign Criminals: Tuesday, 13 June, 2006
File on 4 asks if enough is being done to prevent criminals from EU countries committing crimes in other member states.

Respite Care: Tuesday, 6 June, 2006
File on 4 learns how some councils are looking to make cuts in respite care for the elderly and disabled to deal with the NHS funding crisis.

NHS IT: Tuesday, 30 May, 2006
File on 4 asks if the government's £6.2bn NHS IT project is a wise use of public money, considering the current cash crisis.

Iraq: Tuesday, 23 May, 2006
File on 4 learns how the sale of large numbers of guns from Bosnia to Iraq has compromised the UN's weapons decommissioning programme in Eastern Europe.

Chad: Tuesday, 28 March, 2006
File on 4 asks whether three years of international diplomacy has done anything to ease the plight of refugees from Darfur or to halt the violence of the marauding militias.

Bailiffs: Tuesday, 21 March, 2006
File on 4 examines cases such as that of a frail, elderly woman threatened with jail for a debt she did not owe.

Port security: Tuesday, 14 March, 2006
File on 4 examines fears that dangerous people or substances can be too readily slipped into the country.

Rape prosecutions: Tuesday, 7 March, 2006
File on 4 exclusively reveals a government campaign to warn men they could be guilty of rape if they fail to ensure a woman's consent for sex.

Afghanistan: Tuesday, 28 February, 2006
File on 4 reports from southern Afghanistan as a vanguard of British troops arrives ahead of a larger deployment in the Spring.

Buncefield oil blast: Tuesday, 14 February, 2006
File on 4 investigates oil industry claims that the Buncefield oil depot blast was an unheard-of, unprecedented event.

Headteachers: Tuesday, 21 February, 2006
File on 4 reports on how education reforms have left headteachers in charge of budgets worth millions.

Buncefield oil blast: Tuesday, 14 February, 2006
File on 4 investigates oil industry claims that the Buncefield oil depot blast was an unheard-of, unprecedented event.

Dangerous offenders: Tuesday, 7 February, 2006
File on 4 reports on serious flaws in the system for managing risk from dangerous criminals when they are released from prison.

Management consultants: Tuesday, 31 January, 2006
File on 4 investigates claims that taxpayers' money is being wasted on highly paid but ineffective external advisors in the public sector.

WINTER SERIES 2005

999 calls: Tuesday, 13 December, 2005
File on 4 investigates reports that the emergency service is in crisis.

Climate change: Tuesday, 6 December, 2005
File on 4 investigates Britain's efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Assignment: Message from Mavembo: Thursday, 1 December, 2005
Jenny Cuffe travels to Kinshasa to find out what happens when Europe returns failed asylum seekers to Africa's most war-torn nation.

Miscarriages of justice: Tuesday, 29 November, 2005
File on 4 asks whether the courts still favour expert evidence - even if it may be wrong - over the word of parents who say they have been falsely accused of harming their children.

Drugs appraisals: Tuesday, 15 November, 2005
File on 4 examines the way in which Britain approves new drugs for use in the NHS.

Lobbyists: Tuesday, 22 November, 2005
File on 4 investigates Brussels' 15,000 lobbyists whose job is to try to influence European policy.

Drugs appraisals: Tuesday, 15 November, 2005
File on 4 examines the way in which Britain approves new drugs for use in the NHS.

Famine warning systems: Tuesday, 8 November, 2005
File on 4 returns to Niger to ask why the world always wakes up too late to food crises.

Criminal Injuries Compensation: Tuesday, 25 October, 2005
File on 4 investigates the system for compensating those who suffer violent attacks.

London bombings: Tuesday, 25 October, 2005
File on 4 asks whether the authorities could have done more to counter the terrorist threat rooted in Britain.

Road haulage industry: Tuesday, 18 October, 2005
File on 4 investigates why some lorry drivers are so tired, they are falling asleep at the wheel, causing fatal accidents.

Extradition: Tuesday, 11 October, 2005
File on 4 investigates whether new streamlined extradition procedures for terrorist suspects are a recipe for future miscarriages of justice.

SUMMER SERIES 2005

In failing health? The inside story of the W.H.O. : Part 2 - Tuesday, 6 September, 2005
Allan Urry asks how well the World Health Organisation - created in 1948 - is measuring up to the new challenges of a new century.

In failing health? The inside story of the W.H.O. : Part I - Tuesday, 30 August, 2005

UK bus industry: Tuesday, 9 August, 2005
File on 4 uncovers the bus industry's poor reliability and safety failings.

HELP AND ADVICE

Most computers will open PDF documents automatically, but you may need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader.


NHS finance: Tuesday, 2 August, 2005
File on 4 investigates whether policies designed to increase patient choice could create more financial instability and even lead to hospital closures.

EU fraud: Tuesday, 26 July, 2005
File on 4 examines the new anti-fraud regime in Europe and asks if it is working.

Water shortages: Tuesday, 19 July, 2005
File on 4 investigates the growing signs of water shortage across some of Britain's most populated areas.

Prison whistleblower 'victimised': Tuesday, 12 July, 2005
File on 4 investigates claims that staff and inmates are being victimised for making complaints.

Balkan war crimes: Tuesday, 5 July, 2005
File on 4 examines the failure of the international community to bring to trial on charges of genocide the former leader of the Bosnian Serbs, Radovan Karadzic, and the implications it has for the fragile peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Child protection: Tuesday, 28 June, 2005
File on 4 investigates the lapses which have left school staff and children exposed to attacks.

Asylum seekers: Tuesday, 21 June, 2005
File on 4 investigates complaints that many genuine asylum seeker cases are rejected, causing needless distress and wasting huge amounts of public money on appeals.

Radioactive waste: Tuesday, 14 June, 2005
File on 4 reports on the disposal headaches and the radiation leaks which continue to dog the nuclear power industry.

Spice trade: Tuesday, 7 June, 2005
File on 4 reveals how farmers in the spice fields of India are suffering a suicide epidemic because of spiralling debt.

Insolvency: Tuesday, 31 May, 2005
File on 4 examines the laws to protect workers and shareholders when British businesses go bust.

SPRING SERIES 2005

GPs out-of-hours: Tuesday, 29 March, 2005
File on 4 uncovers evidence of long delays in responding to patients in urgent need of medical care.

Mental health: Tuesday, 22 March, 2005
File on 4 examines claims that psychiatric staff are being put at risk because of inadequate training and funding.

Paramilitary crime: Tuesday, 15 March, 2005
File on 4 investigates the scale of serious and organised paramilitary crime north and south of the Irish border.

Urban regeneration: Tuesday, 8 March, 2005
File on 4 examines fears that Britain's flagship urban regeneration programme will hurt the very people it is supposed to help.

Military justice: Tuesday, 1 March, 2005
File on 4 investigates what happens when members of the Armed forces stand accused of crimes.

Dangerous roads: Tuesday, 22 February, 2005
File on 4 investigates concerns about the huge backlog of repairs, poor maintenance and construction of Britain's roads.

Donations famine: Tuesday, 15 February, 2005
File on 4 goes to Southern Africa where several years of drought, malnutrition and sickness have been largely ignored by the outside world.

Extraordinary renditions: Tuesday, 8 February, 2005
File on 4 investigates reports that suspected terrorists are being sent to nations which practise torture.

Iraq reconstruction funds: Tuesday, 1 February, 2005
File on 4 investigates allegations that much of Iraq's oil wealth has been squandered by incompetence and corruption during American and British rule.

WINTER SERIES 2004

Military deaths: Tuesday, 7 December, 2004
File on 4 investigates military deaths in Iraq, examining claims that the MoD has been covering up its own failings and shifting the blame onto frontline troops.

Export Credits Guarantee Department: Tuesday, 30 November, 2004
File on 4 investigates a secretive government department using taxpayers' money to underwrite questionable overseas deals.

City Academies: Tuesday, 23 November, 2004
File on 4 examines the Prime Minister's big idea for secondary education - new independent Academies to replace failing schools in deprived areas.

Chemical testing: Tuesday, 16 November, 2004
File on 4 assesses the latest scientific research and asks how much we really know about the long term risks from some of the substances that are contained in almost everything we buy.

Paedophile rings: Tuesday, 9 November, 2004
File on 4 investigates one of Britain's biggest paedophile rings to find out how a schoolboy was abducted from his parents and "sold" to abusers across the country.



Hyper File on 4


ABOUT THE PROGRAMME


INTERACT


Podcast

Download or subscribe to this programme's podcast

Podcast Help

SEARCH FILE ON 4:
 



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

banner watch listen bbc sport Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific