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BBC OnePanorama


Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 January 2004, 10:55 GMT
Your comments

Your comments on the A fight to the death programme.

Due to the high number of e-mails we get we cannot guarantee to publish every single message we receive. We may also edit some e-mails for legal reasons and for purposes of clarity and length.

The views expressed on these pages are not necessarily the views of the BBC.

The e-mails published will be reflective of the messages we have been sent.

After watching Panorama I was able to stabilise my views on the possible outcomes of the Hutton Inquiry. I feel that this programme has clarified a great deal of uncertainty for me. I think that the producers were as unbiased as possible, although they may have leaned slightly towards the side of the BBC. But it was unfair of the Panorama producers to release evidence of this new interview during the programme. They used the advantage of media control to take a cheap shot at the Government.
C Nichols, UK

I disagree strongly with the correspondents here who criticise the BBC for taking a "pre-emptive strike" and trying to "clear itself" before the publication of the Hutton report. The Government will use the media in any way it sees fit to add spin and push its own agenda, and has done this to the British public for years.

Whilst I believe the programme was a thoroughly unbiased account of the circumstances surrounding the weapons dossier and Dr Kelly, I also believe that had the government not tried to bully the BBC into submission so much during the summer, that this programme may well have been aired after Lord Hutton's report. In showing this programme tonight, the BBC are again levelling the playing field.
Matt Taylor, Bristol, UK

I think that the Panorama programme showed what most people suspected - that the government and the BBC's clashing of swords brought about the demise of Dr Kelly.
Mr Carvel T Smith, uk

I was very impressed by the impartiality of the reporting. Neither the BBC nor the government have come out of this affair well, irrespective of where the eventual blame for Dr Kelly will lie. Your reporting of this affair has given me back much of the faith I used to have in the BBC's impartiality.
Tony Morris, UK

The BBC have proved themselves to be expert spin doctors, as well as artful producers of sexed up documentaries - this is one thing they certainly can't pin on Campbell.
Jagruti, UK

I find it interesting to see how this programme has divided opinion so sharply - some absolving the BBC and blaming the government, others accusing the corporation of engaging in yet another piece of subterfuge and spin. The truth, as so often is the case, likely lies between these two extremes.

It seems to me that the whole premise behind this programme is flawed
Ian Hewes
I cannot understand, however, most of the criticisms made of the Panorama programme. The timing of the broadcast is, admittedly, perhaps unwise. Accusations of "spin" and "cover-up" simply do not hold up as it was scrupulously fair. The simple fact is that the BBC is and often has been caught between its twin roles as both a British institution and a news organisation.
Cliff Single, UK

It seems to me that the whole premise behind this programme is flawed. There is no such thing as unbiased reporting or exemplary government. "A Fight to the Death" was merely a continuation of the fight, offering apparent olive branches to disguise its real objective - continuing the process of undermining the BBC's perceived enemies in the government.
Ian Hewes, UK

The BBC let us down in the form of Mr Gilligan by the original news report. I am a daily consumer of BBC News and have listened to the Today programme daily for many years, and will not trust it again until the fault on its part is publicly acknowledged and apology made to its listeners.
Jonathan Coad, England

Either this was aired as a reminder for us all prior to the publication of the Hutton report, or it was an arrogant piece of nonsense that seemed slavishly to follow the Tory line in needlessly stirring up a hornet's nest.
Duncan Williamson, UK

The BBC are as bad as everyone else, manipulating information and facts
The fact this unseen interview was only just released, proves that the BBC are as bad as everyone else, manipulating information and facts, rather than putting them forward in the correct manner, and at the right time.
John, UK

The programme has restored my faith in the integrity and honesty of the BBC. The transmission of the programme shows that the BBC is prepared to commit itself to high quality journalism, and presentation of the facts irrespective of how unpopular these may be with the government or any other vested interest.
Ramon Prasad, UK

I am heartily sick of the BBC's continuing attempts to use its powerful media control for the purpose of self-justification. My former high regard for the BBC's impartiality has been damaged beyond repair by this one matter. I have never been a Labour party member, but I respect Mr Blair for his openness and honesty more than I have ever appreciated any other politician - with the exception of Sir Winston Churchill.
Dr Trevor Watts, UK

Your strategy is to get your self-criticism in first in order to dilute the impact of criticism from Hutton. Screening this programme one week before the Report is a disgrace. Behind the self-criticism you also include criticism of the government. You can see, from today's headlines, that the real purpose of your programme was to prompt further criticism of the Government.

I am asking Lord Hutton to investigate the circumstances behind your programme
Peter James
I am asking Lord Hutton to investigate the circumstances behind your programme and to include comments on it when he reports.
Peter James, UK

Whilst both parties did not do themselves any favours, with tragic consequences, it is my opinion that the BBC is only guilty of ineptitude. Their "Keystone Cops" comedy of errors eroded the generally held perception of quality and fair journalism.

However, the greater blame lies with the government, in their blatant and cynical manipulation of what was known (and, more importantly, what was NOT) to justify the war in Iraq. The BBC managed to regain some of its "pride" by showing this well made and incisive programme last night. I wonder what the government will do to "regain" its "position"? Make Geoff Hoon the fall guy?
Simon Mason, England

I think that the closing comments of 'A Fight To The Death' - the feared conclusion that the public's belief in the BBC as a trustworthy source of the truth has been damaged will have been greatly mitigated by this brave programme. With the publication of the Hutton inquiry findings so close, it still remains to be seen whether or not the government will have the courage to do the same. Yes, I am pre-judging!
Michael Scott, UK

I think it was wrong of the BBC to allot itself, before the appearance of the Hutton Report, 90 minutes in which to give a very biased in its own favour account of the Hutton Inquiry and the events leading to it. Government members and intelligence officials are painted black. The BBC admits to one black sheep, Andrew Gilligan. The others are only a pale grey.
A Hinton, UK

I would have liked to have seen a more definite line adopted
Dean Bainbridge
I note there was previously unseen footage of Dr Kelly stating, as a weapons expert, and on the record, that chemical weapons would be ready for use in days. The question that came to my mind was why this was not broadcast previously by Panorama?
Iain Anderson, UK

I would have liked to have seen a more definite line adopted regarding the analysis of the parties concerned. Whilst factually and analytically excellent, the "punch" of coming to a conclusion was lacking, although the decision to criticise the BBC's Board of Governors' blind support of management was brave and correct.
Dean Bainbridge, UK

Why mar an otherwise professional programme by such extensive and distracting use of actors? Is this balanced reporting of events (news), or 'docudrama' (entertainment)?
Robin Gill, UK

Having just watched the BBC's Panorama programme on the Hutton inquiry I feel that there was a tendency to lean towards 'bashing' the government. Although the BBC admitted (or exposed) wrongdoings on their part, I cannot help but feel that they are trying to clear themselves before the publication of Lord Hutton's report. I realise that some of the findings may prove 'slightly' damaging to the BBC, but there seemed to be a massive focus on trying to explain their way out of a situation before the Hutton inquiry has been published.

Would it not have been considered appropriate that the BBC would respond to the comments made in the report, rather than trying to use the propaganda of the media before publication, after the report had been published? A very sorry sight from the BBC. I 'was' a believer that the BBC was an independent, and impartial, corporation, but apparently not. Get your side of the story in before you get slated in public; that's what it looks like.
Chris Archer, UK

I'm cynical that the BBC knows it was wrong and this is the start of a major climb-down
Nigel Barclay
David Kelly betrayed the government so that we the people might know something of the truth. To me David Kelly will always be a hero, whereas for most of the others involved in this tale, there are only differing degrees of shame. Blair, Hoon, Gilligan, Sambrook, Dyke, Davis, Scarlett should resign; as for Campbell who is defined by his role in this, he should never be allowed to profit from the death of a good man. He should contribute all the profits from his diaries to charity.
Mark Brown, UK

A very well balanced and objective programme but I'm cynical that the BBC knows it was wrong and this is the start of a major climb-down. I have to say that my opinion of the Government and Campbell have improved significantly whilst surely Greg Dyke's and Gavyn Davies' positions will be untenable if Hutton draws the same conclusions.
Nigel Barclay, west Lothian, Scotland

A very good, brave programme. It took all the bits that have been worked over in the press, added some new footage and worked it into a coherent and instructive record of what we think we know before Hutton delivers his conclusions. Please, please will the BBC always live up to this standard. I do not want any British government ever to have a valid reason to dismantle the independence of the BBC
Juliet van Rijsbergen, UK

The BBC are playing the game of spin. No-one believes them. They will only ever print the occasional e-mail criticising them. This is worse than anything Campbell and co ever did. The man is dead and they are still at it. You have lost credibility and it will never return.
James Adamson, UK

How is it that Andrew Gilligan and Geoff Hoon still have jobs?
Amanda Nimon
How is it that Andrew Gilligan and Geoff Hoon still have jobs? The Hutton Inquiry has clearly demonstrated that each has performed with gross incompetence with regard to a major function of their respective roles. Further, I find it repulsive and nauseating that the government acted to ensure the revealing of Dr Kelly's name by pursuing a covert policy of leaking small clues, then confirming journalists' guesses, in order that it could later categorically deny a specific policy of naming him itself. Previously I was a supporter of Tony Blair but he should also lose his job for this deception. There is only one final place the buck can stop.
Amanda Nimon, UK

It appears to me that both the agents of the government and the BBC have committed errors in their handling of the Kelly affair. The Panorama programme broadcast tonight suggested that the Hutton Inquiry may produce the answers to many of the important questions raised by the event. I would not wish to hold my breath on this but I would question the BBC's use of a public network to broadcast its view in advance of the outcome of the inquiry. Has the BBC offered the Government equal use of the network to put its view across? If not, is this action not a misuse of a publicly owned facility?
J.O'Keeffe, U.K.

This was a riveting programme and pieced together coherently the sequence of events that led to the tragic death of Dr David Kelly. What struck me most forcibly was the contrast between the essential decency and morality of Dr Kelly and the dishonest, self-preserving actions of both the government and the BBC. There are no 'winners' here.
Amanda Smith, UK

Having watched this programme the key question in my mind is why the programme was broadcast nearly a week before the Hutton report is published. It appeared to question the validity of the Hutton Inquiry in relation to the Prime Minister's position. As the BBC who produced this programme is in a 'Fight to the Death' with the Government, it appears logical to conclude that the BBC is trying to prejudice the results of this independent inquiry in the public's mind. I am appalled by this action.
Jean Peyton, England

This was one of the most outstanding and compelling pieces of television I have ever seen
Nick Owen
A very fair depiction, and not at all BBC biased. What comes across to me is that the major fault lies on two sides. Andrew Gilligan clearly sought to make a name for himself, and the mess that unravelled itself and engulfed Dr Kelly, will obviously criticise the government, but not enough to inflict a fatal blow. Geoff Hoon is being primed to be the sacrificial lamb, but the smell comes from higher up. Being a lawyer, Tony Blair will use argument over wording and semantics to stress that he isn't being criticised that much at all. I voted New Labour in '97 and '01, but I think he should go. Government high-handedness is in clear view.
Neil Jeffery, Herefordshire, UK

I don't think that you made it clear just how narrow the terms of reference were for the inquiry. The obvious contradictions between government statements and the subsequent evidence will not appear in the report. In fact, they were not even submitted to Lord Hutton. The government's intention is to deflect any criticism by pointing to issues that haven't even been investigated. By raising peoples' expectations of a definitive answer to the reasons for war, you are making their job easier.
Martin Bove, UK

Utterly brilliant and compulsive viewing, John Ware at his informative best. Panorama has regained its b***s, though I do have some misgivings that my ex-employers are trying to regain the moral high ground and employ a bit of spin themselves before next Wednesday but on the whole a balanced and fair programme regards to my ex-colleagues.
Alan Stevens, UK

This was one of the most outstanding and compelling pieces of television I have ever seen. I have followed the Hutton Inquiry very carefully, and find it to be a very accurate account of the conflict between the BBC and the government. It accurately describes the mistakes made by the BBC and the lies and duplicity of the Blair government. It went further than my own study, however, in clarifying the conflict in Dr Kelly over his struggle to be loyal to his employers and truthful about the distortions in the government's version of our intelligence on Iraq. The use of dramatised events mixed with newsreel can be criticised as being Gilliganesque or tabloid and potentially misleading, but I think it was worth the risk to do this. The contrast between a fallible BBC and a government that so clearly misled its people, taking us to war on false pretences cannot be more convincingly demonstrated.
Nick Owen, UK

From watching the programme intently, the politicians come out of it not too badly, and the BBC extremely badly
Dave Cathy
I wanted to congratulate the Panorama team on an excellent programme tonight about the death of David Kelly. I commend it for its impartiality. Clearly the BBC were not given an easy ride and nor was the government. It is clear to me as it has always been that, despite the argument about semantics and loose use of language etc, Andrew Gilligan was in essence right. His story was dynamite and an excellent piece of journalism. He's uncovered an appalling disservice to the British public by No 10 and should be supported 100%. He exploded the myth, as many had suspected, that Saddam Hussein posed no threat to the UK and that this country was taken to war under false pretences and many people died as a result of the manipulation and presentation of so-called intelligence. Andrew Gillian has produced one of your best pieces of journalism and should be carried shoulder high for it and not sent on gardening leave.
Jacquie Biggs, UK

It seems to me that the BBC was genuinely onto something and got the story largely right. I think it is understandable that the errors Andrew Gilligan made were not picked up as quickly as critics would like. There is no doubt, however, that the government, the MOD and the JIC have the most to answer for. In my opinion, their behaviour in this tragedy was infinitely worse than that of the BBC.

Unfortunately, we can't overlook the fact that David Kelly appeared himself to have lied, and had to face the fact that he had been found out. The twitch on his face when he was asked about the Newsnight reporter is surely one of the defining moments. Sadly, as more and more lawyers become politicians we will be faced with men and women who will claim they never 'leaked' a name but will never admit they allowed a name to become known. If this is the future of British politics, it makes you want to throw up.
Carl Taylor, UK

A fascinating programme. The fact that you did not pull your punches regarding the BBC's part in the saga has restored some of the faith I have always had in the BBC, but had recently lost. However I believe, from watching the programme intently, the politicians come out of it not too badly, and the BBC extremely badly. It is a politician's job to implement policies, and to do their best to bring the public behind them. Therefore, truth is always a little stretchable. On the other hand, the BBC have only one purpose - to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. On the David Kelly affair, they signally failed to do so, and the blame for his death must largely be at the door of the BBC in general, and Gilligan in particular.
Dave Cathy, England

I think tonight's Panorama programme is just a PR stunt and has added little to what is already in the public domain. Since the report will be out next week, one wonders why the BBC decided to agonisingly bend our ears and bore its viewers rigid with this kindergarten rehearsal. Please 'allow the judge do the judging'.
Chidozie Onovo, Nigeria

This was a pathetic piece of television
Simon Murphy
This was a pathetic piece of television. You billed it as an investigative independent programme but it was a trawl through everything we already knew. It highlighted government embarrassments but only criticised Gilligan from the BBC. It attacked the naming strategy but didn't mention the pieces of information about Kelly that the BBC released to the media itself in its releases and letters. This was a PR exercise. And shameful for it.
Simon Murphy, UK

Very interesting programme tonight. In my view this will be the end of Mr Campbell, already gone, before forced to go. Mr Hoon will be next but will Mr Blair be gone as well? In my view Blair will have to step down.
Ian Summerell, England

The programme kept rightly referring to the issue of trust. Trust is engendered by a willingness to keep examining one's own truthfulness and integrity. That is exactly what the BBC demonstrated here, through an open and critical approach to its own ability to tell the truth. Proof again, were it needed, that the BBC is a treasure of immeasurable worth to the whole of the UK. As an American living in the UK, I am astonished at the reluctance of some to pay the licence fee. I for one would pay double.
Eric Christianson, UK

An absolutely outstanding documentary, full of impartial information and observation. Full credit must be given to the cast and crew for putting together a superbly well-researched and edited programme. This story would make a truly gripping film about the role of governments and journalists within society today, along with one man's pressure to cope with such an important issue.
Stef Notarangelo, England

As a communication degree student I am used to deep analysis of textual content. There is no way this programme could be described as impartial. Camera angles, background music and a myriad of other devices were employed to discredit the government and enhance the 'saintly' image of the BBC. However, I am not actually complaining. It was riveting viewing and at the end of the day weapons of mass destruction - the justification for an attack on Iraq - have not been found - so who is telling the most damning lies?
Trisha Lewis, UK

It was fascinating and well researched, but toothless without the knowledge of what is in the Hutton report
Richard McCoy
Congratulations on tonight's programme, which combined incisive reporting with unflinching analysis and is an invaluable preparation for the (delayed) publication of the Hutton Report next week. This was an example of BBC news journalism at its very finest, unafraid to criticise either the Corporation itself or the highest powers of government. The BBC would be doing itself - as well as its viewers - a favour by re-installing Panorama in a regular prime-time weekday slot. Thank you.
Mary Lloyd, England

Mr Blair may be too clever to have told any outright lies. However, the Government may well have manipulated the intelligence to bolster its desire to go to war. The question is why? WMDs? Not even the Govt can have actually believed in them. Barbaric regime? Hardly - we'd be permanently at war, sometimes with allies, if that were the case. United States pressure? That's more like it!
Pete Dunipace, Scotland

I am intrigued by the timing of this programme. It was fascinating and appeared well researched, but is toothless without the knowledge of what is in the Hutton report. I can only hope that there will be a follow-up immediately after the report, but how much more interesting that would have been if tonight's broadcast had not been made.
Richard McCoy, UK

Congratulations for an impeccably fair and factual programme. I have to say I do not see why Panorama gave so much emphasis to Iraq's elusive weapons of mass destruction. Finding out why the UK went to war against Iraq was never the remit of the Hutton Inquiry and there is plenty of information available in the public domain for the British people to decide on the issue. As for the tragic death of Dr Kelly, it is clear that he was betrayed by Andrew Gilligan as well as his employers at the Ministry of Defence. His blood is ultimately in the hands of both the BBC and the government.
Gregory Roumeliotis, UK

The BBC has redeemed itself with this outstanding documentary
Tim Cornell
Whatever mistakes were made with regard to the Andrew Gilligan/Dr Kelly "interview" and its fallout, the BBC has redeemed itself with this outstanding documentary. I only hope the government can be as honest with itself.
Tim Cornell, England

Congratulations on a very open programme. It appears to set the case very fairly from all sides. Questions remain as to whether the BBC will have the courage to give Alastair Campbell the apology it so obviously owes him, and whether Andrew Gilligan will continue his employment with the Today programme, which was undeservedly brought into such disrepute over this matter.
Catherine Lee, England

Interesting programme and reasonably well balanced. It would have to be though - wouldn't it - considering the subject. Anyway, it seems to me the BBC allowed the whole cycle to start by allowing a reporter to make a blasť accusation that the government was lying, back him to the hilt and not expect the government to come out all guns blazing! That is the essence of what happened. I still feel the BBC is more responsible than all other news organisations but in this case they were very wrong. If you are going to accuse the government of lying, the BBC had better make sure there is a rock solid case before proceeding. Sorry Beeb, but you really messed up on this one.
Danny Anderson, Scotland (UK)

I just watched your programme on the Hutton Inquiry. An extremely difficult programme to do and while reporting everything factually, it still is possible to impart a certain spin. As I've not read everything in the inquiry I'm not sure. What I am certain of is, that I don't think there is another broadcasting organisation in the world that would devote 90 mins of its prime time to a programme which in part criticises itself. The pure essence of why the BBC is different and sets the standards for the rest.
Terry Devlin, UK

The programme was an impartial, well researched piece of documentary. Panorama is still leading the way in investigative journalism. It is clear that the programme posed many questions for the government and the BBC. It remains to be seen what will happen upon the publishing of the report next week but it is apparent that the BBC and the Labour Party will both come in for severe criticism for their behaviour in regard to the whole saga.
Stephen Quinlan, Dublin, Ireland

We shall have to wait to see if Hutton agrees with your conclusions
Mike Stephens
A very useful and balanced programme. We shall have to wait to see if Hutton agrees with your conclusions. One criticism however and it applies not only to this programme but to news reporting generally. I believe that when showing reconstructions this should be displayed on the screen at all times. Similarly when library pictures are shown both this fact and the archive date should be displayed on screen. Too often the viewer may be left with the impression that the pictures are of events happening on the day they are broadcast.
Mike Stephens, England

I found your report riveting on the basis that your own organisation was under scrutiny in the Hutton Inquiry. The fact that the BBC was even allowed to make this programme is a reflection on the impartiality of reporters within the organisation and the management. It raised some interesting questions and how words taken out of context can be "blown up" in a volatile environment. I feel human nature and people striving to do what they think is right had a lot to do with what developed. No one will get off without criticism I feel, when the final report is published, but maybe they all felt they were doing what they thought was right at the time.
Charles Nicell, Northern Ireland

I'm not sure I watched the same programme as some of the others commenting on this page. I didn't think the programme was at all balanced - "at least the BBC did this" ... "the Government is yet to do that". I think some in the BBC need to consider their position - Gilligan, Dyke and Gavyn Davies all need to re-examine the embarrassment they've caused what is, and should be, an internationally respected corporation.
Dan Lloyd, UK

I was a little surprised while watching the programme, which was about people using word play. That Panorama said that Dr Kelly "appeared" to have took his own life. (In his despair, Dr Kelly appears to have taken his own life. He'd been caught in the crossfire between the government and the BBC.)
Andrew Smith, England

This whole affair is disgraceful, partly because it took the life of an expert in his field
Bilal Manzoor
This whole affair is disgraceful, partly because it took the life of an expert in his field, and partly because we may never know who was right and who was wrong. Andrew Gilligan and Geoff Hoon should both resign as they played a very important part in this. And no, I don't think the war against Iraq was just. People who supported the war are now starting to realise this, but the sad thing is that so many people, who died in this unjust war, can't be brought back, thanks to Mr Bush and Mr Blair.
Bilal Manzoor, UK

After further 'analysis' of the Dr David Kelly affair, it is still very clear to myself, that this whole issue would have not been created had the BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan not lied. Panorama's latest analysis reinforces this belief. What I would like to see, are the BBC Board of Governors - who apparently represent me as a licence fee payer - resign their positions. Greg Dyke should also consider his position, as should senior news editors and managers. Why the Gilligan's claims were not properly investigated time after time, is proof enough that the BBC is currently poorly run, managed and monitored.

If this organisation were a proper business, it would go out of business. By this, I mean it is now time for this organisation to drag itself into the 21st century, stop asking me for a subsidy every year, and run its affairs more professionally. Oh yes, and apologise unreservedly for causing such a mess. Perhaps, following the release of the Hutton Report, the BBC would like to seek a further inquiry into suicide attempts - and tragically successes - of schoolchildren in the UK. Such an inquiry would achieve a whole lot more, and would also be more deserving of such media attention! Then, both the BBC and government could be seen to be acting in the best interests of the country - instead of their own standing. Here's to common sense for the future - and news reporters reporting the news, not creating it.
Richard Galliers, Wales

I was very disappointed to hear the way the news director and Greg Dyke conducted themselves
I Bard
Nice to see that Panorama was critical of both sides in the Kelly debate and I think as a licence payer I was very disappointed to hear the way the news director and Greg Dyke conducted themselves. They should both walk as a minimum. The BBC was doing the very thing they were (wrongly) accusing No.10 of doing - saying something that no-one had said. Gilligan must take full responsibility of Kelly's death. He put him in an untenable position. The quicker we get rid of the licence fee the better, so that people like Dyke and his robots should have to work for their money.
I Bard, England

I just watched your excellent programme about the Hutton Inquiry. It confirms my instinctive feelings that we can no longer trust this government and their advisors. The BBC has also been blooded, for nobody can now believe that the governors are truly working on behalf of the public they are meant to represent.
Martin Philip, UK

Tonight's Panorama good or bad? Well to be honest it was a little better than I expected, although you could still smell the stench of an apologist for the state, well suppose that's your job in reality. But within your guidelines, it did offer some insight into the nature of corrupted government in today's world based on cash not people.

Now all we have to do is stop the same thing happening in the near future with Iran. Lets see if you can stop it this time by reporting more dissent and question the reply from the state instead of taking what they say as a starting point.
Mark Wood, Shropshire, England

When I saw the BBC News at 6 O'clock I was expecting a fair and unbiased programme. What I saw was two lengthy attacks on the government and a short, though fairly damning examination of the BBC. Made worse when supposedly crucial evidence was voiced over.
Charlie Garratt, England

Tonight's Panorama was merely a poor attempt by the BBC to divert any blame away from itself
John Fowler
It will be interesting to see if the Hutton Inquiry reaches the same conclusion about the unwise involvement of the JIC Chair with the Prime Minister and his staff.
Helen, UK

Tonight's Panorama was merely a poor attempt by the BBC to divert any blame away from itself before the publication of the Hutton report. When serving British men and women fighting in Iraq refuse to watch BBC News coverage because of its bias against the war, then that is good enough for me and just about says it all. Trying to twist the facts to fit the BBC own agenda is simply deplorable.
John Fowler, England

Tonight's programme was very interesting but at the same time extremely sad. The government and the MoD between them handled the whole issue in a totally irresponsible way. Someone should have taken control and brought the dispute between themselves and the BBC to a sensible conclusion by agreeing a formal statement, fit for public consumption, on what happened over the dossier and the latest understanding of the perceived threat posed by Iraq. Instead they played a despicable game with journalists hoping Dr Kelly would be the fall guy and be discredited, to get them off the hook. The whole shabby affair cost a decent man his life.
Philip S Hall, UK

However well made or not tonight's Panorama on the Hutton Inquiry may be, its timing a week before the report is published shows appalling lack of judgement. We have an extensive inquiry about to be revealed. It is inappropriate for a BBC programme to be making its own judgement (as the last part of the programme certainly did - even if some of the earlier part of the programme had made some valuable points) on what that report should be saying. It would be far better to comment on the conclusions drawn by Lord Hutton. Even Michael Howard wasn't that crass today in Parliament.
Tim Hilborne, UK

Breathtaking. 'A Fight To The Death' was a most enjoyable programme, maybe the BBC should now really start to think of becoming a private independent company, which is no longer held by the constraints of the government in power. If heads do not roll in government, and yes I did use the word heads (plural), this will be a shame on the whole country.
Eric McKenzie, England

You let the government off lightly in this programme
Mark T
I heard and trusted the BBC throughout the 1939-1945 war, and have since travelled in many countries and know the BBC's worldwide reputation. In my opinion, tonight's Panorama on the Iraq dossier and related matters, was in accord with the BBC's finest traditions. Congratulations. (Unfortunately, compared with the BBC, those who revile it look pretty shoddy.) Please, good BBC, fight for your independence; we all need you. And remember, we all get something wrong sometimes. What matters is whether we can perceive our own mistakes and learn from them. You have shown that you can.
Jeffrey Boss, England

I am astounded that all the news preview reports about this programme have stated that both the BBC and Andrew Gilligan do not come out of it very well. My only conclusion is that the government of this country, its Ministry of Defence, its minister of defence, and in particular its prime minister and his "advisers" have very many questions to answer. My only hope is that Lord Hutton has the same impartiality and integrity as poor Dr David Kelly.
Mrs Julie Mallinson, Wales

A very impartial and well presented programme providing the Beeb-bashers with some ammunition.
Hasan Abdullah, UK

You let the government off lightly in this programme.
Mark T, UK

Thank you Panorama for tonight's excellent programme. I've followed every step of the UK and USA invasion of Iraq - but for those who have not, and there were many who didn't follow the events surrounding Dr Kelly's death, it was a most thorough exploration. Also an honest exposure of the BBC's own shortcomings. Would that the present government would display such an honest approach. It was a defining programme and one of those moments when I felt proud to be British - there haven't been too many of those lately under our present government regime.
Christine Costello, UK

The BBC should remember it is there to report the news and not to make it
M Whitaker
I think that the BBC behaved appallingly in publicising the story from Andrew Gilligan. It was incomplete and a lot of it cobbled together to seem sensational when in fact a lot of it was fiction. My opinion of the BBC has been damaged forever. The fact that the BBC continued to support Gilligan was another mistake and reduced my opinion further. The BBC should remember it is there to report the news and not to make it. I'm sick of reporters and commentators who are constantly asked their opinion about what is going on. What is their opinion worth? Not a lot mostly. From an ex-listener to Radio 4 and BBC news.
M Whitaker, England

This programme went a huge way to restore the BBC's reputation for public service and objectivity that was so badly damaged by the 'flawed' reporting and governors' arrogance last summer. Long may it continue.
Andy Ibbs, United Kingdom

The Beeb must be quite worried about the Hutton report to resort to using Panorama as its 'prebuttal'.
J.S. Brown, Essex

I have just watched the BBC try to cover its tracks through casting a little doubt on Gilligan's reporting. They then try to portray themselves as the vanguard of independent reliable British reporting. Absolute nonsense, we cannot trust a corporation who will go to such lengths to defend the indefensible. They still will not admit they got it wrong, knew they got it wrong and denied they got it wrong.
James Adamson, UK

An excellent balanced programme - a credit to the BBC that it could be made - containing, as it did, criticisms of the BBC.
Diana Jeuda, UK

Tony Blair et al - Guilty. I don't suppose the Hutton Inquiry will say this. He will be protected by the New Labour establishment.
Mrs M Leadbitter, United Kingdom

Why could you not wait for the publication of the Hutton Report in a week's time?
R A Sykes
Whilst I believe the Panorama programme was a fairly unbiased attempt by the BBC to present the facts of the David Kelly case, I do have some concerns. Firstly the BBC is again guilty of playing politics with the tragic case of Dr Kelly. Why could you not wait for the publication of the Hutton Report in a week's time? At least the government have kept a respectful silence about the matter for the last few months (though I am sure they will carry some considerable responsibility for the death of Dr Kelly).

Secondly, when will the BBC see that it is not the opposition to the government. Please leave this to the other politicians. Do not become part of the story and start making the news. Please return to factual journalism without your own motives. I do hope that this sorry affair will teach both the government and the BBC (and all journalists) to behave with more decency and some vestige of honesty. Truth is not a game and neither is government or official bashing.
Mr R A Sykes, UK

'A Fight To The Death' seemed to provide the one piece of information the public hadn't got hold of. "THE TRUTH." Whether my assumption is correct is something the that Lord Hutton may reveal next week. However I do appreciate the programme's attempt to give a balanced statement on the whole affair. It's not something we often in British journalism. I do have my own beliefs which I have had for sometime but they are strictly between me and those closest.
Chris Ridings, England

Interesting programme. Gave more credit to the BBC, aside from Mr Gilligan that is, but maybe that's what the report will find. It certainly sounds like the BBC are gearing up for a fight next week, probably more to do with maintaining their unique status, than possibly proving Gilligan was right in his reporting. What matters is no-one gloats and Dr Kelly is remembered with the respect he deserves.
Jonathan Ward, UK

Massive egos, establishment paranoia, bullying, and the Christian virtues of our glorious leader
Andrew Baker Munton
A very interesting re-enactment of events, but obviously viewed from the BBC's perspective. As a viewer hoping to formulate an objective conclusion on events that took place, I would wish to see the government's view presented, in a similar re-enactment, broadcast by the BBC. Will this take place, and if not, why not?
David Laughton, UK

I watched tonight's programme with interest. I'd always found the information around Dr Kelly and the Dossier quite confusing and conflicting. Your programme gave a lot of interesting information and cleared up a lot of questions in my mind. You were objective of the BBC's position which I found reassuring. My condolences to Dr Kelly's family. May the BBC continue to be independent and able to freely report the facts - but only the facts. Thanks.
Lisa Cotton, Derby, England

An outstanding piece of journalism and a brilliant example of public service broadcasting at its best. It takes a lot of skill and effort to make something this complicated, comprehensible - well done to all concerned. Totally riveting television.
Jim Conroy, UK

Massive egos, establishment paranoia, bullying, and the Christian virtues of our glorious leader... makes you proud to be British. Great programme.
Andrew Baker Munton, England

A very objective presentation. It clearly demonstrated how members of government and ministries can politically influence civil servants for their partisan political interests and ends without giving direct orders. It also demonstrates the need for journalists to carefully choose their adjectives in reporting coverage of events and interviews.
Jerome Whitney, UK

The truth seems elusive but my faith is a tad restored
Daniel Cotter
As usual for the BBC, a travesty of objective or impartial reporting. All along the BBC has been peddling an anti-Iraq war agenda regardless of the situation. I no longer believe any of the statements made by the BBC. I should also point out that in general, I am in no way a Labour supporter.
Paul Rowley, England

Utterly Brilliant. BBC at its Best.
Chris Sandall, UK

A very well made informative programme which has given me a greater insight to the facts. Thank You.
Raymond Lee, England

Good programme (good editing). BBC is really exerting its integrity before the verdict of the Hutton Inquiry. Is BBC nervous?
Guerin Hugh, UK

We must not forget that underlying this whole sad affair - for Dr Kelly, his family and the countless number of people harmed and damaged in a war that seems to have been avoidable - there are human lives damaged for the sake of egos, power and personal distortions of importance from all sides - I hope they all sleep peacefully with their consciences all clear - they probably will as their egos override everything - especially the truth.
Di Dawes, UK

As a student who had lost all faith in politicians and journalists, I found this evening's programme a beacon of the journalism the Beeb still has to offer. The truth seems elusive but my faith is a tad restored. Andrew Marr should also be prime minister.
Daniel Cotter, England

The BBC have only brattishly and reluctantly started to own up
Greg Jackson
Having watched the programme tonight with an open mind, I'm not sure whether this was either a brave and objective programme or a cynical first part of a BBC climb-down. The government don't come out of it covered in glory, but it is clear that Gilligan deliberately misled, and was then massively over-backed by the BBC management. The BBC have only very slowly, "brattishly" and reluctantly started to own up to their very significant mistakes in this case and the Panorama programme tonight may have been a very neat half-way house to its inevitable admissions upon release of the Hutton Report. I am particularly concerned that Gilligan's report, and the subsequent immaturity of the BBC could so dramatically weaken a government for such very wrong reasons.
Greg Jackson, UK

This was an excellent and well balanced programme; I am left deeply concerned as to why key questions were not put to the prime minister? Why was he not asked whether he chaired/authorised/sanctioned/presided over a meeting when it seems clear that the release of Dr Kelly's name was agreed?
Wayne Kitcat, UK

What a change to get an intelligent and cogent programme instead of all the changing rooms/gardening/soap opera dross that normally slops around the BBC these days.
Nick, GB

I'm quite appalled that the BBC could put out such a biased programme. Not only was it riddled with innuendo but also 'suspicious' background music was played when the government's comments or position was covered. The most dreadful programme the corporation has ever produced.
Paul Evans, UK

And people think the Government spins! It disappoints me as a license fee payer to think that a once respectable news-provider has become an opinion-provider...Hopefully the BBC will learn from this.
Phil, UK

A Fight To The Death was a very objective and factual account
Angela Griffiths
Your programme was most interesting - sadly it does little for Doctor Kelly's family who have paid the ultimate price in all of this. God bless his family - I hope they are able to move on from what must have been and probably continues to be a terrible time for them.
Sonya West, United Kingdom

A superb programme tonight. Outstanding. I hope you can do a follow up when the report is produced.
Mark Munro, UK

Just a quick note to commend you on a very good programme "A fight to the death". I think it was fair and comprehensive, and set out all the information in a clear and concise manner. It does leave you with the question: What would have happened if Andrew Gilligan's initial report was as well executed? Thank you.
Matthew Pearson, UK

'A Fight To The Death' was a very objective and factual account, clearing up questions I had in my mind in the summer. It seems to me that errors in the whole business have been made by both parties, both the government and the BBC, however whereas the BBC have already put in place strategies to combat such reoccurrences in the future, the government have yet to do so. I am now looking forward to Hutton's report next week to see if he reaches the same conclusion. Congratulations on a very well made, balanced, fair and well researched programme.
Angela Griffiths, England

A fight to the death
05 Jan 04 |  Panorama
Iraq WMDs 'days from use' - Kelly
21 Jan 04 |  Panorama


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