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15:12 GMT, Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Vivian White

Vivian White was brought up in London until his father, a civil servant at the War Office, was posted to the city of Duesseldorf, in what was then West Germany, and later to Paris.

Vivian returned to the UK to attend Cambridge University, where he studied economics, a subject which he says is a useful grounding for cynical journalists as it gets you interested in the things which often really guide people's actions.

Vivian White

After university Vivian began working as a teacher, though he was always keen to move into the television industry. His first proper job in broadcasting was as a researcher on the BBC's Money Programme.

Vivian went on to work as a TV producer and director for the BBC, then left to join commercial radio as a reporter, political correspondent, presenter, and industrial editor at LBC/IRN. He adds that he also hosted the occasional phone-in programme, including one never-to-be-repeated pet parrot phone-in called Pollyphony.

Vivian returned to television, working for Granada TV and Channel 4's Week in Politics, before making his way back to the BBC, this time as a reporter, presenting studio programmes such as Westminster Live and This Week, Next Week and a number of live outside broadcasts.

He first reported for Panorama in 1988, but his BBC career took him elsewhere and after a couple of years he left and did not return to the programme for some time.

Vivian White and schoolchildren

Vivian says he really enjoys the fact that he now doesn't have to specialise in any particular area of reporting, that he is up for anything, which is part of the appeal of working for Panorama where he gets to report on diverse issues.

Since 9/11 he has done a series of programmes reporting the opinions of British Muslims and travelled to Guantanamo Bay and Afghanistan to meet detainees released from there.

Here in the UK he has reported twice on the scandal of elderly people being unlawfully forced to sell their homes to pay for nursing home medical care that should have been provided free by the NHS, as well as on the elderly being wrongly, and commonly, prescribed harmful anti-psychotic drugs.

He has reported recently on schoolchildren and what their teachers judged to be anything but satisfactory SATs tests, and on what it means to be British - and why the UK government thinks we should think about it more.

Vivian is also the proud owner of Archie the basset hound, who has succeeded the late Charlie.

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