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15:07 GMT, Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Gerry Northam

Gerry Northam spent his early years in Cricklewood and Edgware in north-west London, before leaving for Keele University where he studied philosophy and physics.

He says this background in science and the arts did not seem to fit any obvious career choice, but did rescue him from feeling totally out of his depth in either culture during a number of journalistic assignments.

Gerry Northam became a news reporter in 1970 with BBC local radio in Stoke-On-Trent and joined BBC current affairs in 1979.

Gerry Northam

Issues Gerry has reported on recently for Panorama include the danger of polluted air on board planes and how girls, sometimes as young as 13, are being groomed for prostitution by gangs on the streets of Britain.

He has also investigated the government's mishandling of the BSE crisis, the safety record of firms running the nuclear weapons plant at Aldermaston, fatal police shootings of innocent victims and the hidden problem of witness intimidation.

His other programmes have covered a wide range of international issues from the enormous sums of money wasted on misdirected cancer research, to the failure of food aid policy in the world's poorest countries and the activities of CIA-supported death squads in Central America.

In Britain, Gerry regularly reports on education and health issues, and has taken a special interest in the criminal justice system - exposing the secret militarisation of police riot squads, the failures of police complaints investigators and persistent racism through the ranks.

Gerry has won several awards for his work including a Sony radio award and two Royal Television Society awards.

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