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BBC OnePanorama


Last Updated: Monday, 24 May 2004, 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK
Cldnt give a XXXX 4 lst ordrs
Panorama: Cldnt Give a XXXX 4 Lst Ordrs was broadcast on BBC One on Sunday, 6 June 2004 at 22:15 BST

Every weekend city centres across Britain are transformed. When the shoppers leave, the clubbers move in, in their thousands.

For young drinkers, the High Street at night has become an alcoholic nirvana. But for many others it's seen increasingly as a vulgar, intimidating battleground to be avoided at all costs.

With 1.2 million incidents of alcohol related violence each year, even the government is now talking of some town centres as 'no go' zones.

So how did this happen and who is responsible? Panorama reveals how the drinks industry drove a legal coach and horses through the liquor licensing system taking on the country's once feared liquor licensing authorities and breaking them down with devastating effect.

As one of the trade's new breed of high powered specialist lawyers tells the programme: "It wasn't an equal contest at all".

The breakthrough case was in Nottingham, where Panorama spent a night following the emergency services as they struggle to deal with 50,000 drinkers on the square-mile drinking circuit (which now boasts a total of 356 bars).

These young drinkers would have been part of the constituency courted by the government three years ago with the text message: Cldnt give a XXXX 4 lst ordrs? Vote Labour 4 extra time'.

But, as the programme explores, is the government's decision to call time on last orders at 11 really the best way to deal with this country's growing drink problem?

Or will it, in the words of one Chief Constable, backfire and create "a 24 hour version of what we've got now - and that is my idea of hell"

During the programme a short sequence featured a Peter Tassi being arrested late at night on a charge of assault. In the police station, he said he worked for the Nottingham Law Society and the Citizens Advice Bureau.

However, the Nottinghamshire Law Society has told Panorama that Mr Tassi does not work for them. Panorama also understands that he does not work for the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Production team:
Producer: Liz Bloor
Reporter: Andy Davies
Deputy Editor: Andrew Bell
Editor: Mike Robinson

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03 Jun 04 |  Panorama
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04 Jun 04 |  Panorama

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