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PRESS REVIEWS


Programmes shown in 2002


Northern Echo - 2 December
"The Panorama allegations are damaging to the reputation of the sergeant major, the armed forces, and Britain itself, and the response must be swift, positive and completely transparent."

Guardian - 2 December
"Confidential army records show there have been five more suicide attempts by young soldiers at the Deepcut barracks in Surrey, according to a BBC Panorama programme broadcast last night."

Daily Telegraph - 2 December
"Confidential Army records have revealed five suicide attempts by troops at a barracks where police are investigating the deaths of four young soldiers, it was claimed last night. According to BBC 1's Panorama, the attempts occurred at the Deepcut barracks in Surrey between June and November 1995."

Sunday Mirror - 1 December
"A Sergeant major is to be sensationally named as the man at the centre of bullying allegations at the notorious Deepcut barracks where four soldiers were found shot dead. Sergeant Major Andrew Gavaghan is said to have led a gang of sadistic and sexually aggressive bullies who picked on young privates at the controversial Army base in Surrey.

The 39-year-old, who now works in Army Welfare, has been reported to police investigating the affair, which is threatening to become one of the biggest scandals in the history of the British Army. And tonight the BBC flagship current affairs programme Panorama will name Gavaghan and reveal witness testimonies from more than half a dozen soldiers who served at Deepcut alongside him."

Irish News - 3 December
"Time to buy a pension? Probably not, bearing in mind the Equitable Life fiasco, the dismal failure of the cut price stakeholder pensions for workers on lower wages and the recent Panorama TV programme showing zilch public confidence in the whole concept."

Herald - 25 November
"One week ago, Andrew Smith, pensions secretary, when pressed on the issue by BBC TV's Panorama programme, admitted that there was a serious problem, but in a speech last Wednesday he said pensions overall were working well and gave no hint of any changes to the law."

Western Mail - 23 November
"I hope many of you saw the Panorama programme last week, highlighting the difficulties even with socalled guaranteed schemes. Let's hope that the plight of the ASW pension members is an exception rather than the rule."

Irish News - 21 November
"Panorama made some rather unsettling viewing as it examined the extent of public apathy toward pension schemes. The programme quoted a government-sponsored survey which shows that 60 per cent of the UK population believe there is currently a pensions crisis.

The Labour government's own advisor on pensions Dr Ros Altmann conceded that policy makers had yet to realise the degree of public disaffection."

Daily Mail - 19 November
"There is a view in parts of Whitehall that the crisis in pensions has been blown up by the media and that if government keeps a low profile it will all go away. But TV programmes such as Sunday night's Panorama, and polling done by YouGov show that this is far from the truth."

Observer - 17 November
"It's no wonder in these uncertain times that there is mounting distrust of stock markets and the Government safety net among people who might otherwise be making important investments in their futures. Worse still, the programme reveals how many individuals who have contributed responsibly down the years to pension plans are now discovering that they are worth next to nothing."

The Observer - 27 October
"If what you are seeking is a balanced portrayal of the Charles/Camilla 'Should they, shouldn't they?' conundrum, then seek no further. Drawing on the adroit comparison between Charles's constitutional quandaries and those of his 'wild' ancestor Edward VIII, this skilful programme deftly guides us through the relevant arguments and laws.

Interspersed with some charming anecdotes and tabloid stories - allegedly Camilla is often referred to as 'the Queen' by her nearest and dearest - it is very watchable. Panorama is hitting the headlines week after week."

Simon Heffer - Sunday Telegraph - 27 October
"A Panorama programme this evening includes a poll confirming what many have suspected about public opinion concerning a marriage between the Prince of Wales and Mrs Camilla Parker Bowles. While many people (some 42 per cent) are happy to see them married, or even to live in sin (57 per cent), 40 per cent would like a law to prevent Mrs Parker Bowles from becoming Queen. We have, it seems, moved on from the days of Stanley Baldwin and Cosmo Gordon Lang, but not that much."

Daily Mail - 26 October
"Now comes another royal accolade for Camilla. Tomorrow night on BBC One, the corporation's flagship current affairs programme, Panorama, is devoted entirely to her. In it, former Cabinet Secretary Lord Armstrong amusingly makes the point that things might have been different for Mrs Parker Bowles had she not been given her now distinctive first name.

'I slightly wish she wasn't called Camilla. I think if she was called Elizabeth or Mary, everything would be much easier,' he says. It is certainly a curious point, but then Lord Armstrong is the man who originated the phrase 'economical with the truth'.

Andrew Billen - New Statesman - 21 October
"The programme found a way of making the findings into gripping television...Panorama's new advertising line is 'Exposing the Truth'...it seems to be living up to it."

Evening Standard - 14 October
"Former Sunday Telegraph editor Sir Peter Worsthorne offers a ringing endorsement of last night's Panorama about the allegedly addictive anti-depressant Seroxat 'I was on Seroxat and I found it very difficult to get off it,' says Sir Perry, 'The programme was quite right'."

Sunday Times - 13 October
"Investigating one of the biggest selling anti-depressants, which GlaxoSmithKline insists is not addictive. An American jury that awarded millions in damages after a triple homicide and suicide, and 800 British lawsuits, say otherwise."

Andrew Billen - New Statesman - 21 October
"What was exemplary was the way the story was told...The programme earned its four million viewers."

Clare Balding: Evening Standard - 17 October
"...the cracks have been widening for years and the fault line was blown wide open by the Panorama performances of both the erstwhile head of security, Roger Buffham, and his recently departed successor, Jeremy Phipps."

Daily Mirror - 12 October
"For Fallon, Graham Bradley, Willie Carson, assorted trainers, and half the Jockey Club, Panorama made uncomfortable viewing. For the rest of us it was unmissable television."

Teletext TV Plus - 11 October
"BBC One's Panorama: The Corruption of Racing was an electrifying documentary that surely revealed one of the biggest scandals in the history of sport...Panorama at its best."

Daily Telegraph - 8 October
"Anyone who dismisses Panorama's revelations about corruption in racing as fabrications is either a coward or a fraud. Already this most insular of sports is missing the opportunity to treat this crisis as a chance to achieve some kind of catharsis."

The Mirror - 8 October
"Until the Jockey Club removes its head from the sand, it cannot start noticing, let alone looking after, the interests of the poor mugs in the bookies who keep racing alive."

Observer Night and Day - 6 October
"Tonight's controversial report on corruption and fixing in horse racing has overcome two High Court actions in order to be broadcast...The Jockey Club's ex-security chief paints a picture of an institution blinkered by incompetence and cowardice. No wonder they tried to ban it."

Mail on Sunday - 6 October
"He [Racing commentator Sir Peter O'Sullivan] therefore and with untypical pomposity, smeared the Panorama programme before deigning to watch it. Some cynics might detect a link between Sir Peter's fatuous defamation of the BBC and his membership of the Jockey Club. I cannot say.

"All I know is that most of us are not remotely concerned about the 'image of racing'.We merely ask that it be honest, valid, drug-free and transparently above reproach. And we seriously question why the sport should be controlled by the kind of people who still appear to harbour a grudge about the Reform Act of 1832.

"I fancy it is high time for change in racing. And if tonight's edition of Panorama can hasten that process, then much more power to its elbow."

Sunday Times - 6 October
"Panorama's year-long investigation produced an hour-long documentary that is compelling television at a racy pace...The Jockey Club has again been shown to be an ineffectual overseer."

Sunday Mirror - 6 October
"Panorama has been waiting patiently, building its scaffold on which to hang racing out to dry, and by the end of the the programme there are several bodies twisting gently on the end of the ropes."

The People - 6 October
"Punters can only take so much, and the latest revelations, being shown on Panorama's The Corruption of Racing, suggests breaking point is near."

The Times - 5 October
"It is compelling television. Phipps [head of security] was filmed in a situation that leaves him looking the buffoon his predecessor was often called. Unless eyes are opened, historical practices changed, the act cleaned up for future public inspection, Panorama will not be the last denunciation. And racing, for all its history, cannot survive too many more humiliations."

The Sun - 5 October
"Panorama's allegations of corruption within racing may signal the end of the Jockey Club. The programme rips to shreds the reputation of racing's rulers...If the Jockey Club gallops away from this crisis, it will be greatest recovery act in Turf history."

Racing Post - 5 October
"The programme succeeded in presenting a persuasive case for the view that it was not a lack of power nor a lack of evidence that prevented the Jockey Club from taking effective action against Brian Wright and Graham Bradley, but a lack of will"

The Scotsman - 5 October
"There is plenty of material to provoke sleepless nights for many in the industry....the Jockey Club now has a substantial credibility gap on whether it has the resolve to do this job."


The Sun - 25 September
"Anyone who heard him [Tony Blair] speak, listened to President George Bush at the UN, read the intelligence dossier or watched Panorama on Monday night can be left with only one question. It is not: Why Saddam? Or what next? It is why on Earth has it taken so long for the United Nations - the so-called international community - to confront this appalling mass murderer."


Financial Times Weekend - 13-14 July
"This fine strand goes from strength to strength - surely it deserves a better slot? Tonight, an investigation into allegations that members of the Jehovah's Witnesses have shielded paedophiles from prosecution."


New York Times - 29 June
"Last week the BBC aired an interview with Ken Barrett, the confessed gunman in the killing, who said unambiguously that the death squad to which he belonged had shot Mr Finucane at the direction of Northern Ireland police and British Army officers. Britain has long resisted pressure for an independent public investigation into the murder of Mr Finucane and others in which official collusion is suspected. It is now imperative for London to acknowledge that only a full and public airing can do justice in these cases."

Irish Times - 25 June
"The two-part BBC Panorama programme A Licence to Kill, detailing alleged links between loyalist murder gangs and the security forces in Northern Ireland, prima facie amounts to a serious indictment of the British government's security machine, through much of the 1990s and possibly earlier.

The People - 23 June
"If South City Beat was Dixon of Dock Green, then Panorama was Cracker mixed with Spooks. The information contained in the programme, part 2 of which is broadcast tonight, was chilling, particularly the testimony of self-confessed killer Ken Barrett. It made the actions of tin-pot dictatorships in South America look positively tame."

Irish News - 22 June
"The detail and the authenticity of the programme are compelling. In particular, the input of experienced British detectives attached to the Stevens inquiry is persuasive. They chose their words carefully and precisely for the programme. They delivered their conclusions with clinical accuracy. The picture which has emerged is chilling."

"The controversy surrounding this Panorama investigation into British security force collusion with loyalist paramilitaries began several days before it was broadcast and is still ongoing. In an age when so much television is dumbed-down drivel it was encouraging to see such controversial material being aired during prime time."

The Economist - 22 June
"These claims are being investigated by Sir John Stevens, commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police; and this week's edition of "Panorama", a BBC documentary series, lends them weight."

Early Day motion - House of Commons - 20 June
"This House warmly congratulates BBC Panorama and the ever-vigilant investigative journalist, John Ware, for their perseverance and courage in researching and broadcasting, Licence to Murder, an investigation into collusion between British intelligence services and loyalist paramilitaries; considers that this new evidence adds further weight to the case for a public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the assassination of solicitor Patrick Finucane; urges the Government to publish the full findings of the investigations conducted by Metropolitan Police Chief, John Stephens, and to proceed to establish an inquiry without delay."

Irish News - 20 June
"The "Panorama investigation into the case... represented a massive contribution towards the search for the truth."

The Mirror - 20 June
"The brutal imagery of Pat Finucane's murder on Panorama last night was a chilling reminder of a sick past. Allegations of state involvement in murder are shocking. The truth must be known about what happened to Pat Finucane. Until it is, many people will find it impossible to place their faith in the forces of law and order."

Belfast Telegraph - 19 June
"Tonight's BBC Panorama programme deepens the allegations that RUC officers encouraged loyalists to kill the solicitor."

Independent - 20 June
"Monday night's drama, Spooks, concluded with an extravagant fantasy of moral compromise... Panorama, however, gave you the real thing - people whose duty it was to prevent murders, but who succeeded in making them easier to commit."

The Times - 20 June
"An even greater mark of our democracy is our dedication to uncovering wrongdoing, however much it costs and whoever it might embarrass."

Independent - 19 June
"Compelling new evidence indicates that the Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane was killed with the involvement of British intelligence and police officers."

The Observer - 16 June
"A remarkable investigation and a welcome opportunity for this superlative current affairs programme to prove itself in a more prominent slot."

Mail on Sunday - 16 June
"So what have they [Panorama] got to justify such dramatic scheduling and trumpeting of a report so extensive it is to be shown in two parts? The answer - emerging, unsurprisingly, from a press release rather than a preview tape - appears to be a sensational story revealing the involvement of British agencies in the assassination of IRA suspects, and the killing of innocent Catholics in Northern Ireland, particularly between 1985 and 1990."

Sunday Telegraph - 16 June
"The investigative reporter John Ware looks into the role of military intelligence and the RUC Special Branch in the brutal and controversial murder of the Belfast solicitor Patrick Finucane. The lengths to which both services went in their attempts to disguise their activities are disclosed by 13 years of research and unrivalled access to secret papers and sources."


Stephen Glover, The Spectator - 1 June 2002
"Panorama is an independent-minded programme on BBC1 which should also be singled out... Last Sunday Panorama ran a brilliant investigation into New Labour's spending spree on government advertising before the last election. This was described by senior civil servants as 'improper'. The only pity was that newspapers did not make more of Panorama's coup."

Patience Wheatcroft, The Times - 28 May 2002
"It is not merely cynical journalists who have noticed that this massive ratcheting of expenditure came in the lead-up to the general election. Panorama found former senior civil servants prepared to voice their disquiet that public money was being diverted to pay for what amounted to party political advertising."

Marketing - May 2002
"Panorama sparks Labour ads probe:
Parliament is set to scrutinise the government's pre-election advertising splurge after a committee of MPs demanded an investigation into allegations made on Sunday night's Panorama documentary."


Scottish Sunday Express - 19 May 2002
"Tonight's Panorama programme reveals how lessons still have to be learned and claims over-reliance by police continues to lead to people being wrongly accused of crimes."


Nancy Banks Smith, The Guardian - 14 May 2002
"...a most poignant account of Diane Pretty and her husband Brian, an ordinary couple who met on a coach trip to Clacton and were called upon to be heroic."

Paul Vallely, The Independent - 14 May 2002
"The documentary showed the howling frustration that was the private reality behind the fixed smile she habitually wore to meet the media at the succession of press conferences charting the progress of her legal attempt to win permission for her husband to assist her to commit suicide without fear of prosecution. ...It was a testament to the fact that though illness took the dignity from her body in those final terrible days, it could not take it from her spirit."

Express - 13 May 2002
"Last night's Panorama, on Diane Pretty, scheduled before her death, was a powerful testament to a brave woman."

Independent on Sunday - 12 May 2002
"An often disturbing, frustrating film about Diane Pretty, who lost her right-to -die case in the European Court of Human Rights in late April."


David Aaronovitch, The Independent - 26 April 2002
"Last night's Panorama special on BBC1 (a special moral panic edition, and therefore allowed to be screened at a time when human beings are actually awake) gave immediate context to Damilola's death."

New Statesman - 1 April 2002
"...enjoyable, well-researched but slightly unhinged documentary, presented by Steve Bradshaw which encouraged Hollywood to overstate its own importance."

Sunday Times - 24 March 2002
"A Warning from Hollywood compellingly shows how often and with what striking specificity fiction proved eerily prophetic."

A A Gill, Sunday Times - 17 March 2002
"A classic piece of journalism in the great tradition of this marque... hands up, this was faultless. Respect. Every time I think Panorama is about to disappear up its own tight, dark little Guardian agenda, it produces something like this: timely, insistent and shocking.

"It was a terrible indictment of Foreign Office mandarin's mantra of appeasement at any cost - a view of the world where there is always a bigger picture, and, if you keep your eye on the horizon, you may never have to look down and see what it is you are treading in. In the best tradition of current affairs documentaries, this one didn't just answer questions: it posed ones that hang, not only over Zimbabwe today, but, in a week when Dick Cheney is over here trying to get a consensus on action in the Middle East, over Blair's wobbly ethical foreign policy, too."

Observer - 10 March 2002
"Excellent. Panorama: The Price of Silence is brave documentary-making carried out in dangerous circumstances."

Financial Times - 9 March 2002
"Never one to pull punches, tonight the vigorous Panorama looks at how the British government offered Zimbabwe aid in the 1980s, although it was aware of atrocities carried out in the name of Mugabe."

Daily Express - 9 March 2002
"Panorama's good run of revelatory films continues..."

Observer - 3 March 2002
"This is proper old-fashioned journalism, which has clearly been given the time and resources necessary to get results. Panorama should be congratulated on an important and moving intervention in the law and order debate."

Daily Telegraph - 2 March 2002
"Whilst Panorama steers an objective and neutral course, it likewise reveals how a get-tough regime is capable of producing unwanted side effects."

Observer - 24 February 2002
"Panorama with the Paras: Into the Afghan Minefield follows the 93 men of D Company... Excellent."

Daily Express - 23 February 2002
"Another sobering eye opener as Panorama goes on patrol with D Company."


Sunday Express - 17 February 2002
"Panorama should be congratulated for broadcasting a film that the government wanted to gag. This was television journalism at its best."

Mirror - 7 February 2002
"Fresh information uncovered by a BBC1 Panorama investigation seems certain to blow wide open again the drama made famous by patrol member and now best selling author, Andy McNab. The Defence Ministry said last night it was "aware" of the contents of the investigation. Any breach of Special Forces rules would be treated "extremely seriously"."

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