World in Action

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World in Action was a British investigative current affairs
Current affairs (news format)
Current Affairs is a genre of broadcast journalism where the emphasis is on detailed analysis and discussion of news stories that have recently occurred or are ongoing at the time of broadcast....

 programme made by Granada Television
Granada Television
Granada Television is the ITV contractor for North West England. Based in Manchester since its inception, it is the only surviving original ITA franchisee from 1954 and is ITV's most successful....

 from 1963
1963 in television
The year 1963 in television involved some significant events.Below is a list of television-related events in 1963.-Events:*January 13 – BBC Television broadcasts the play The Madhouse on Castle Street in the Sunday-Night Theatre strand...

 until 1998
1998 in television
The year 1998 in television involved some significant events.Below is a list of television-related events in 1998.For the American TV schedule, see: 1998–99 United States network television schedule.-Events:-Debuts:-1950s:...

. Its campaigning journalism
Investigative journalism
Investigative journalism is a form of journalism in which reporters deeply investigate a single topic of interest, often involving crime, political corruption, or corporate wrongdoing. An investigative journalist may spend months or years researching and preparing a report. Investigative journalism...

 frequently had a major impact on events of the day. Its production teams often took audacious risks and gained a solid reputation for its often unorthodox, some said left-wing, approach.

Cabinet ministers fell victim to its probings. Numerous innocent victims of the British criminal justice
Criminal justice
Criminal Justice is the system of practices and institutions of governments directed at upholding social control, deterring and mitigating crime, or sanctioning those who violate laws with criminal penalties and rehabilitation efforts...

 system, including the Birmingham Six
Birmingham Six
The Birmingham Six were six men—Hugh Callaghan, Patrick Joseph Hill, Gerard Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, William Power and John Walker—sentenced to life imprisonment in 1975 in the United Kingdom for the Birmingham pub bombings. Their convictions were declared unsafe and quashed by the Court of...

, were released from jail. Honouring the programme in its fiftieth anniversary awards, the Political Studies Association
Political Studies Association
The Political Studies Association of the United Kingdom is an association of political scientists that exists to develop and promote the study of politics in the United Kingdom...

, said: "World in Action thrived on unveiling corruption
Political corruption
Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by...

 and highlighting underhand dealings. World in Action came to be seen as hard-hitting investigative journalism at its best."

A melodramatic post-trial encounter in 1967 between Mick Jagger
Mick Jagger
Sir Michael Philip "Mick" Jagger is an English musician, singer and songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist and a founding member of The Rolling Stones....

 and senior British establishment figures, in which rock star and retinue were wafted by helicopter onto the lawn of a stately home
Stately home
A stately home is a "great country house". It is thus a palatial great house or in some cases an updated castle, located in the British Isles, mostly built between the mid-16th century and the early part of the 20th century, as well as converted abbeys and other church property...

, was engineered by then World In Action researcher but future BBC Director-General
Director-General of the BBC
The Director-General of the British Broadcasting Corporation is chief executive and editor-in-chief of the BBC.The position was formerly appointed by the Board of Governors of the BBC and is now appointed by the BBC Trust....

 John Birt. He decades later described it as "one of the iconic moments of the Sixties." World In Action was sold around the world. It won numerous awards. The long-running intermittent Seven Up!
Seven Up!
The Up Series is a series of documentary films produced by Granada Television that have followed the lives of fourteen British children since 1964, when they were seven years old. The documentary has had seven episodes spanning 49 years and the documentary has been broadcast on both ITV and BBC...

 series of TV films, which in due course spanned decades, was first broadcast from 1964 as part of World in Action. In its heyday World In Action drew audiences of up to 23 million in Britain alone, equivalent to almost half the population.

Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

 was said to have told the BBC Director General, Sir Iain Trethowan
Ian Trethowan
Sir Ian Trethowan was a British journalist, radio and television broadcaster and administrator who eventually became Director-General of the BBC...

, soon after she became prime minister that she considered World in Action to consist of "just a lot of Trotskyists." Its removal after 35 years was seen by some as part of a general dumbing-down
Dumbing down
Dumbing down is a pejorative term for a perceived trend to lower the intellectual content of literature, education, news, and other aspects of culture...

 of British television, and of ITV
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

 in particular. One commercial TV regulatory official characterised in private theTonight
Tonight (TV series)
Tonight is a British television newsmagazine, produced by ITV Studios and ITN for the ITV network. Since 1999, Tonight replaced the long-running investigative series World in Action...

 programme which replaced it as merely "fluffy." Others saw World in Action's eventual disappearance as the inevitable consequence of rising commercial pressures. Announcing a £250,000 fund for an investigative journalism training scheme, Channel Four said in November 2011 that there had been a decline in the pool of investigative journalism since "the demise of training grounds such as World in Action".

Origins


World in Action was the pre-eminent current affairs program produced by Britain's ITV
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

 Network in its first 50 years. Along with This Week
This Week (ITV TV series)
This Week was a weekly current affairs series first produced for ITV in January 1956 by Associated-Rediffusion , running until 1978, when it was replaced by TV Eye...

, Weekend World
Weekend World
Weekend World is a British television political series, made by London Weekend Television and broadcast from 1972 to 1988.Created by John Birt not long after he moved to LWT, the series was broadcast on the ITV network at lunchtimes on Sundays...

, First Tuesday, The Big Story and The Cook Report
The Cook Report
The Cook Report was a British current affairs television programme shown on ITV, produced for the network by Central Television from 1987 to 1998.-History:...

 - and the news-gathering of ITN - World in Action gave ITV a reputation for quality broadcast journalism to rival the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

's output.

For the first 35 years of its existence, ITV had a near-monopoly of television advertising
Advertising
Advertising is a form of communication used to persuade an audience to take some action with respect to products, ideas, or services. Most commonly, the desired result is to drive consumer behavior with respect to a commercial offering, although political and ideological advertising is also common...

 revenue. Roy Thomson
Roy Thomson, 1st Baron Thomson of Fleet
Roy Herbert Thomson, 1st Baron Thomson of Fleet GBE was a Canadian newspaper proprietor and media entrepreneur.-Career:...

, who ran Scottish Television
Scottish Television
Scottish Television is Scotland's largest ITV franchisee, and has held the ITV franchise for Central Scotland since 31 August 1957. It is the second oldest ITV franchisee still active...

 famously described ITV as a "licence to print money".http://www.screenonline.org.uk/tv/id/1139047/ In return for this income, the broadcasting regulator insisted that the ITV companies broadcast a proportion of their programmes as public service TV. Out of this was born the network's reputation for serious current affairs, eagerly grabbed by program makers under Granada's founder Lord Sidney Bernstein.

Some of the dominant figures in 20th century British broadcasting helped to create World In Action, in particular Tim Hewat
Tim Hewat
Timothy Edward Patterson Hewat was an Australian television producer and journalist. He has been described as the "maverick genius of Granada television's current affairs in its formative years" and "one of the true greats of the medium."Born in New Zealand, he was raised in Australia and educated...

 "the maverick genius of Granada's current affairs in its formative years" and his World In Action successor David Plowright
David Plowright
David Ernest Plowright, CBE was an English television executive and producer....

: but also Jeremy Isaacs
Jeremy Isaacs
Sir Jeremy Isaacs is a British television producer and executive, winner of many BAFTA awards and international Emmy Awards. He was also General Director of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden .-Early life:...

, Michael Parkinson
Michael Parkinson
Sir Michael Parkinson, CBE is an English broadcaster, journalist and author. He presented his interview programme, Parkinson, from 1971 to 1982 and from 1998 to 2007.- Early life :...

, John Birt and Gus Macdonald
Gus Macdonald, Baron Macdonald of Tradeston
Angus John "Gus" Macdonald, Baron Macdonald of Tradeston, CBE, PC , is a member of the House of Lords, taking the Labour Party Whip....

 and, its most long-serving executive-producer, Ray Fitzwalter. World In Action trained generations of journalists and, in particular, film-makers. Michael Apted
Michael Apted
Michael David Apted, CMG is an English director, producer, writer and actor. He is one of the most prolific British film directors of his generation but is best known for his work on the Up Series of documentaries and the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough.On 29 June 2003 he was elected...

 worked on the original Seven Up. Paul Greengrass
Paul Greengrass
Paul Greengrass is an English film director, screenwriter and former journalist. He specialises in dramatisations of real-life events and is known for his signature use of hand-held cameras.-Life and career:...

, who spent ten years on World In Action, told the BBC: "My first dream was to work on World In Action, to be honest. It was that wonderful eclectic mixture of filmmaking and reportage. That was my training ground. It showed me the world and made me see many things."http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/callingtheshots/paul_greengrass.shtml He later told The Guardian: "If there's a thread running through my career it's World in Action - the phrase as well as the programme." http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/jun/09/itv.television

Although its rivals produced many memorable programs, it was World in Action "slamming into the subject of each edition without wordy prefaces from a reassuring host-figure" which consistently gained a reputation for the kind of original journalism and film making which made headlines and won major awards. In its time, the series was honoured by all of the major broadcasting awards, including many BAFTA, the Royal Television Society
Royal Television Society
The Royal Television Society is a British-based educational charity for the discussion, and analysis of television in all its forms, past, present and future. It is the oldest television society in the world...

 and Emmy Awards.

World in Action's style was the opposite to its urbane BBC rival's, especially to the London BBC. By repute, especially in its early days World In Action would never employ anybody who was on first-name terms with any politician. Gus Macdonald
Gus Macdonald, Baron Macdonald of Tradeston
Angus John "Gus" Macdonald, Baron Macdonald of Tradeston, CBE, PC , is a member of the House of Lords, taking the Labour Party Whip....

, an executive producer of the programme, said it had been "born brash".http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/W/htmlW/worldinacti/worldinacti.htm Steve Boulton, one of its last editors, wrote in The Independent
The Independent
The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

 that the programme's ethos was to "comfort the afflicted - and afflict the comfortable." Paul Greengrass told The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

 in June 2008 that the chairman of Granada TV once told him: "Don't forget, your job's to make trouble."http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/jun/09/itv.television

World in Action out-lasted all of its contemporaries in ITV current affairs, killed off as the commercial pressures on the network grew with the arrival of multi-channel TV in the UK. Eventually World In Action, too, was removed from the schedules by its own [but by now dramatically different] creator, Granada TV, following pressure from the ITV Network Centre. World In Action, with its worldwide view and coverage, was replaced in the schedules by Tonight.

Investigative legacy


From the beginning, and especially from the late 1960s, World In Action broke new ground in investigative techniques. Landmark investigations included the Poulson
John Poulson
John Garlick Llewellyn Poulson was a British architect and businessman who caused a major political scandal when his use of bribery was disclosed in 1972. The highest-ranking figure to be forced out was Conservative Home Secretary Reginald Maudling...

 Affair, corruption in the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad
West Midlands Serious Crime Squad
The West Midlands Serious Crime Squad was a police unit in the English West Midlands which operated from 1974 to 1989. It was disbanded after an investigation into allegations against some of its officers of incompetence and abuses of power....

, the exposure of the shadowy and violent far-right group Combat 18
Combat 18
Combat 18 is a violent neo-Nazi organisation associated with Blood and Honour. It originated in the United Kingdom, but has since spread to other countries. Members of Combat 18 have been suspected in numerous deaths of immigrants, non-whites, and other C18 members...

, investigations into L. Ron Hubbard
L. Ron Hubbard
Lafayette Ronald Hubbard , better known as L. Ron Hubbard , was an American pulp fiction author and religious leader who founded the Church of Scientology...

 and Scientology
Scientology
Scientology is a body of beliefs and related practices created by science fiction and fantasy author L. Ron Hubbard , starting in 1952, as a successor to his earlier self-help system, Dianetics...

 and, most notably, a long campaign which resulted in the release from prison of the Birmingham Six
Birmingham Six
The Birmingham Six were six men—Hugh Callaghan, Patrick Joseph Hill, Gerard Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, William Power and John Walker—sentenced to life imprisonment in 1975 in the United Kingdom for the Birmingham pub bombings. Their convictions were declared unsafe and quashed by the Court of...

, six Irishmen
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 falsely accused of planting Provisional Irish Republican Army
Provisional Irish Republican Army
The Provisional Irish Republican Army is an Irish republican paramilitary organisation whose aim was to remove Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom and bring about a socialist republic within a united Ireland by force of arms and political persuasion...

 (IRA) bombs in Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

 pubs.

World in Action's appetite for controversy created tension with the Independent Broadcasting Authority
Independent Broadcasting Authority
The Independent Broadcasting Authority was the regulatory body in the United Kingdom for commercial television - and commercial/independent radio broadcasts...

 (IBA), the official regulator during most of the series run, which had the power to intervene before broadcast. Sir Denis Forman
Denis Forman
Sir Denis Forman is a former executive in the British film and television industry.-Career:Forman was born in 1917 at Cragielands in Dumfries and educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge. Forman had a distinguished military career during the Second World War and was wounded at Monte Cassino. After...

, one of Granada's founders, wrote that there was "trench warfare
Trench warfare
Trench warfare is a form of occupied fighting lines, consisting largely of trenches, in which troops are largely immune to the enemy's small arms fire and are substantially sheltered from artillery...

" between the programme and the industry regulator, the Independent Television Authority
Independent Television Authority
The Independent Television Authority was an agency created by the Television Act 1954 to supervise the creation of "Independent Television" , the first commercial television network in the United Kingdom...

 (ITA), in the years between 1966 and 1969 as World In Action sought to establish its journalistic freedoms.

The most celebrated dispute was in 1973, over the banning of The Friends and Influence of John L Poulson, the definitive film about the Poulson
John Poulson
John Garlick Llewellyn Poulson was a British architect and businessman who caused a major political scandal when his use of bribery was disclosed in 1972. The highest-ranking figure to be forced out was Conservative Home Secretary Reginald Maudling...

 Affair, itself one of the defining scandals of British political life in the 1960s. Poulson was an architect, who was jailed a year later for corrupting
Political corruption
Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by...

 politicians and civil servants to advance his construction
Construction
In the fields of architecture and civil engineering, construction is a process that consists of the building or assembling of infrastructure. Far from being a single activity, large scale construction is a feat of human multitasking...

 business. The regulator, which was then the IBA, banned the film without seeing it and without giving official reasons other than "broadcasting policy". As a protest, Granada broadcast a blank screen - which bizarrely recorded the third highest TV audience of that week. After a public furore which saw newspapers from the Sunday Times to the Socialist Worker
Socialist Worker
Socialist Worker is the name of several socialist/communist newspapers associated with the International Socialist Tendency...

 unite in condemnation of "censorship
Censorship
thumb|[[Book burning]] following the [[1973 Chilean coup d'état|1973 coup]] that installed the [[Military government of Chile |Pinochet regime]] in Chile...

", the IBA held a second vote, having by then seen the film. By a single vote, the ban was lifted and the programme, retitled The Rise and Fall of John Poulson, was transmitted on April 30, 1973, three months after it was first scheduled.http://www.rts.org.uk/magazine_det.asp?id=4758&sec_id=826

In January 1980 the programme examined the business practices of the then chairman of Manchester United F.C.
Manchester United F.C.
Manchester United Football Club is an English professional football club, based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, that plays in the Premier League. Founded as Newton Heath LYR Football Club in 1878, the club changed its name to Manchester United in 1902 and moved to Old Trafford in 1910.The 1958...

, Louis Edwards
Louis Edwards
Louis Charles Edwards from Salford, Lancashire, was an English businessman and chairman of Manchester United from 1965 to 1980.- Manchester United :...

. Edwards ran a wholesale butchery business that supplied schools in Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

; WIA exposed practices of bribery
Bribery
Bribery, a form of corruption, is an act implying money or gift giving that alters the behavior of the recipient. Bribery constitutes a crime and is defined by Black's Law Dictionary as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or...

 of council officials and the supply of meat that was unfit for human consumption to such institutions; Edwards' businesses were subsequently prosecuted and lost their contracts. Louis Edwards himself died of a heart attack a month after the show was broadcast.

World in Action tackled the British intelligence services; as well as the Navy over its recruitment practices: senior Navy personnel famously 'door-stepped' the director of the World In Actions film in question. The programme broadcast revelations by whistleblowers from both GCHQhttp://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/title/106622, the government's electronic eavesdropping and surveillance headquarters, and from the Joint Intelligence Committeehttp://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/title/460599.

Its most audacious investigation of the intelligence community was perhaps an extended edition in July 1984 titled "The Spy Who Never Was", the confessions of a former MI5
MI5
The Security Service, commonly known as MI5 , is the United Kingdom's internal counter-intelligence and security agency and is part of its core intelligence machinery alongside the Secret Intelligence Service focused on foreign threats, Government Communications Headquarters and the Defence...

 officer, Peter Wright
Peter Wright
Peter Maurice Wright was an English scientist and former MI5 counterintelligence officer, noted for writing the controversial book Spycatcher, which became an international bestseller with sales of over two million copies...

. Spycatcher
Spycatcher
Spycatcher: The Candid Autobiography of a Senior Intelligence Officer , is a book written by Peter Wright, former MI5 officer and Assistant Director, and co-author Paul Greengrass. It was published first in Australia...

, Wright's subsequent account of the period when he and colleagues had, as he put it, "bugged and burgled our way across London", revealed what had in effect been a planned coup against the then Labour government of Harold Wilson
Harold Wilson
James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, FSS, PC was a British Labour Member of Parliament, Leader of the Labour Party. He was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the 1960s and 1970s, winning four general elections, including a minority government after the...

. Wright appeared to have been in charge of the technical side of things. 'The Wilson Plot', as it became known, was corroborated to varying degrees both before and after the film's transmission in various other books by journalists and in volumes of memoirs by others involved in the conspiracy. Wright's book was the most explosive of them all. Wright, embittered by a still unresolved pension dispute, fled to Australia where the book was written and finally published - to the fury of Mrs Thatcher - with the assistance of the original programme's chief researcher, Paul Greengrass
Paul Greengrass
Paul Greengrass is an English film director, screenwriter and former journalist. He specialises in dramatisations of real-life events and is known for his signature use of hand-held cameras.-Life and career:...

. Publication in Britain was initially banned outright by the government of Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

.

The series was rarely away from the courts and the threat of legal action. The Scientologists tried [and failed] to stop World in Actions broadcasts about them through the courts and in 1980, members of the programme's staff and senior executives at Granada TV announced that they would be prepared to go to prison rather than submit to a House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

 ruling http://uniset.ca/terr/css/britishsteel.html that the programme reveal the identity of an informant who had supplied WIA with 250 pages of secret documents from the then state-owned steel company British Steel
British Steel
British Steel was a major British steel producer. It originated as a nationalised industry, the British Steel Corporation , formed in 1967. This was converted to a public limited company, British Steel PLC, and privatised in 1988. It was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index...

.http://www.bfi.org.uk/features/tv/100/articles/100.html British Steel was at the time locked in an industrial dispute with its workforce.

In 1995, Susan O'Keeffe
Susan O'Keeffe
Susan O'Keeffe is an Irish Labour Party politician and journalist. She was elected to the 24th Seanad in April 2011 on the Agricultural Panel. She was an unsuccessful candidate at the 2011 general election for the Sligo–North Leitrim constituency, polling 4,553 first preference votes...

, a World in Action journalist, was threatened with prison in Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 for refusing to reveal her sources. She had investigated scandals within the Irish meat industry in two films in 1991, setting in motion a three-year Tribunal of Inquiry in Dublin, which found that much of her criticism of the industry was substantiated. The Tribunal, though, demanded that she name her informants, and when she refused to do so, she was charged by the Irish Director of Public Prosecutions
Director of Public Prosecutions
The Director of Public Prosecutions is the officer charged with the prosecution of criminal offences in several criminal jurisdictions around the world...

.https://listserv.heanet.ie/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9410&L=irishlaw&D=0&O=A&P=10778&F=P The case became a cause célèbre
Cause célèbre
A is an issue or incident arousing widespread controversy, outside campaigning and heated public debate. The term is particularly used in connection with celebrated legal cases. It is a French phrase in common English use...

 in the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

, and in January 1995 she faced trial for contempt of court
Contempt of court
Contempt of court is a court order which, in the context of a court trial or hearing, declares a person or organization to have disobeyed or been disrespectful of the court's authority...

 but was cleared of the charge.http://historical-debates.oireachtas.ie/S/0141/S.0141.199409010006.html She was honoured in the 1994 Freedom of Information
Freedom of information
Freedom of information refers to the protection of the right to freedom of expression with regards to the Internet and information technology . Freedom of information may also concern censorship in an information technology context, i.e...

 Awards for her stand.http://www.cfoi.org.uk/awards94pr.html#okeeffe

In its last few years, the programme was involved in two high-profile libel cases. It won the first (along with The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

) against the former Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 Cabinet Minister Jonathan Aitken
Jonathan Aitken
Jonathan William Patrick Aitken is a former Conservative Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom, and British government minister. He was convicted of perjury in 1999 and received an 18-month prison sentence, of which he served seven months...

, and lost the second, against the high street
High Street
High Street, or the High Street, is a metonym for the generic name of the primary business street of towns or cities, especially in the United Kingdom. It is usually a focal point for shops and retailers in city centres, and is most often used in reference to retailing...

 chain Marks & Spencer
Marks & Spencer
Marks and Spencer plc is a British retailer headquartered in the City of Westminster, London, with over 700 stores in the United Kingdom and over 300 stores spread across more than 40 countries. It specialises in the selling of clothing and luxury food products...

.http://www.cpbf.demon.co.uk/FreePress/fp108/fp108.htm

On April 10, 1995, Jonathan Aitken
Jonathan Aitken
Jonathan William Patrick Aitken is a former Conservative Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom, and British government minister. He was convicted of perjury in 1999 and received an 18-month prison sentence, of which he served seven months...

 (himself a former journalist for Yorkshire Television
Yorkshire Television
Yorkshire Television, now officially known as ITV Yorkshire and sometimes unofficially abbreviated to YTV, is a British television broadcaster and the contractor for the Yorkshire franchise area on the ITV network...

) called a televised press conference three hours before the transmission of a World in Action film, Jonathan of Arabia, demanding that allegations about his dealings with leading Saudis be withdrawn.http://century.guardian.co.uk/1990-1999/Story/0,,112789,00.html In a phrase that would come to haunt him, Aitken promised to wield "the simple sword of truth and the trusty shield of British fair play ... to cut out the cancer of bent and twisted journalism." http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199798/cmhansrd/vo971217/debtext/71217-03.htm Aitken was subsequently sentenced to 18 months in prison for perjuring himself in the libel case.http://www.guardian.co.uk/aitken. World in Action followed the collapse of Aitken's libel case with a special edition whose title reflected the MP's claim to wield the "sword of truth". It was called The Dagger of Deceit.

Television techniques


Although the series' lasting reputation is for its investigative work, it also led the way in introducing other techniques to mainstream TV. In 1971, years before reality
Reality television
Reality television is a genre of television programming that presents purportedly unscripted dramatic or humorous situations, documents actual events, and usually features ordinary people instead of professional actors, sometimes in a contest or other situation where a prize is awarded...

 programming became the staple diet of the TV schedules, World In Action challenged the Staffordshire
Staffordshire
Staffordshire is a landlocked county in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes, the county is a NUTS 3 region and is one of four counties or unitary districts that comprise the "Shropshire and Staffordshire" NUTS 2 region. Part of the National Forest lies within its borders...

 village of Longnor
Longnor, Staffordshire
Longnor is a village in the Staffordshire Peak District, England. The settlement dates from early times, the first recorded Church building being in the Middle Ages. The village was named Longenalre in the Domesday Book. Located on a major crossroads, Longnor was a significant market town in the...

 to quit smoking,http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/title/19736http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/title/19808 a forerunner of many of the popular-challenge documentaries which enjoyed success in the 21st Century reality boom.

In 1984, World In Action caused a sensation by challenging a rising young Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

, Matthew Parris
Matthew Parris
Matthew Francis Parris is a UK-based journalist and former Conservative politician.-Early life and family:...

, to live for a week on a £26 unemployment
Unemployment
Unemployment , as defined by the International Labour Organization, occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively sought work within the past four weeks...

 benefit payment to test the reality of his own critical views on the unemployed.http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/1-28-2004-49935.asp (Parris subsequently abandoned Parliament
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

 for a career as a broadcaster and writer.) The same year, World In Action revealed the tricks behind political oratory
Oratory
Oratory is a type of public speaking.Oratory may also refer to:* Oratory , a power metal band* Oratory , a place of worship* a religious order such as** Oratory of Saint Philip Neri ** Oratory of Jesus...

 by coaching a complete beginner, Ann Brennan, to deliver a speech which won a standing ovation at the annual conference of the Social Democratic Party
Social Democratic Party (UK)
The Social Democratic Party was a political party in the United Kingdom that was created on 26 March 1981 and existed until 1988. It was founded by four senior Labour Party 'moderates', dubbed the 'Gang of Four': Roy Jenkins, David Owen, Bill Rodgers and Shirley Williams...

, using techniques developed by Professor Max Atkinson
Max Atkinson
Dr Max Atkinson is an author. He is a former advisor and speech writer for Paddy Ashdown, now noted as a blogger for his commentary on public communications.Atkinson holds a PhD from the University of Essex and was a research fellow there in the late 60's....

. The eminent political commentator Sir Robin Day
Robin Day
Sir Robin Day, OBE was a British political broadcaster and commentator. His obituary in the Guardian stated that "he was the most outstanding television journalist of his generation...

, covering the conference for BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

, described Mrs Brennan's performance as "The most refreshing speech we've heard so far."

World In Action helped to pioneer the technique of using covert cameras
Secret photography
Secret photography refers to the use of an image or video recording device to photograph or film a person who is unaware that they are being intentionally photographed or filmed...

, not just in investigative work but also in social documentary
Documentary film
Documentary films constitute a broad category of nonfictional motion pictures intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record...

, including, from the earliest days, the treatment of gypsies, the old in care ("Ward F13") and poverty in England. The arrival of high-quality miniature cameras allowed ambitious projects such as Donal MacIntyre
Donal MacIntyre
Donal MacIntyre is an Irish investigative journalist, specialising in investigations, undercover operations and television exposés. His work is in the area of care homes for the elderly and the learning disabled...

's award-winning programmes in October 1996 on the illegal drug trade
Illegal drug trade
The illegal drug trade is a global black market, dedicated to cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of those substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws. Most jurisdictions prohibit trade, except under license, of many types of drugs by drug prohibition laws.A UN report said the...

, and the future Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 MP Adam Holloway
Adam Holloway
Adam James Harold Holloway is a British Conservative Party politician and the Member of Parliament for Gravesham.-Early life:...

's disturbing reports on the reality of life among the homeless in 1991. In 1998 "World in Action" took advantage of the new technology to equip an entire house with secret cameras hidden in anything from coke tins to fish tanks to catch out shoddy builders. The success of the two-part series called "House of Horrors" produced by Kate Middleton, led not only to the ITV series "House of Horrors" and to the BBC's "Rogue Traders" but to a whole new genre of programming, around the world, based around hidden camera footage of dodgy tradesmen.

World In Action also gave rise to a number of other spin-off series, most famously the Seven Up!
Seven Up!
The Up Series is a series of documentary films produced by Granada Television that have followed the lives of fourteen British children since 1964, when they were seven years old. The documentary has had seven episodes spanning 49 years and the documentary has been broadcast on both ITV and BBC...

 documentaries which have followed the lives of a group of British people who turned seven years old in 1963. The most recent, 49 UP, was shown in 2005. Michael Apted
Michael Apted
Michael David Apted, CMG is an English director, producer, writer and actor. He is one of the most prolific British film directors of his generation but is best known for his work on the Up Series of documentaries and the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough.On 29 June 2003 he was elected...

 directed most episodes; parallel series have also started in the last decade in South Africa, the USA and Russia.

More recent current affairs series on other channels, such as the MacIntyre
Donal MacIntyre
Donal MacIntyre is an Irish investigative journalist, specialising in investigations, undercover operations and television exposés. His work is in the area of care homes for the elderly and the learning disabled...

 series on BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 and Five, and Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

's Dispatches
Dispatches (TV series)
Dispatches is the British television current affairs documentary series on Channel 4, first transmitted in 1987. The programme covers issues about British society, politics, health, religion, international current affairs and the environment, usually featuring a mole in an organisation.-Awards:*...

, commissioned by Dorothy Byrne, a former WIA producer, may be seen as having inherited certain aspects of World in Actions hard-hitting journalistic style.

World In Action and popular culture


One of the programme's hallmarks was its willingness to embrace popular culture
Popular culture
Popular culture is the totality of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes, images and other phenomena that are deemed preferred per an informal consensus within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the...

, at a time when its competitors preferred a more highbrow
Highbrow
Used colloquially as a noun or adjective, highbrow is synonymous with intellectual; as an adjective, it also means elite, and generally carries a connotation of high culture. The word draws its metonymy from the pseudoscience of phrenology, and was originally simply a physical descriptor...

 approach. One of the very earliest editions reported on overspending at the Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)
The Ministry of Defence is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces....

 in the style of a contemporary gameshow, Beat The Clock. The programme was so controversial it was banned from being shown on ITV
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

 by the then regulatory body, the Independent Television Authority
Independent Television Authority
The Independent Television Authority was an agency created by the Television Act 1954 to supervise the creation of "Independent Television" , the first commercial television network in the United Kingdom...

 (ITA); instead, ten minutes of it were shown on the BBC as an act of journalistic solidarity. The gameshow device re-emerged in 1989, when an academic study of the uptake of tax-funded benefits by the middle-class was transformed into a mock quiz show named Spongers, fronted by a well-known star of game formats, Nicholas Parsons
Nicholas Parsons
Nicholas Parsons OBE is a British actor and radio and television presenter.-Early life:...

.

Popular music played a significant role in WIA's history. An early edition, in 1966, carried a fly-on-the-wall account of daily life aboard one of the then pirate radio
Pirate radio
Pirate radio is illegal or unregulated radio transmission. The term is most commonly used to describe illegal broadcasting for entertainment or political purposes, but is also sometimes used for illegal two-way radio operation...

 ships, Radio Caroline
Radio Caroline
Radio Caroline is an English radio station founded in 1964 by Ronan O'Rahilly to circumvent the record companies' control of popular music broadcasting in the United Kingdom and the BBC's radio broadcasting monopoly...

, at a time when the British Government was determined to preserve the radio monopoly of the BBC by driving the "pirates" off the air.

In 1967, a young researcher named John Birt
John Birt, Baron Birt
John Birt, Baron Birt is a former Director-General of the BBC who was in the post from 1992 to 2000.After a successful career in commercial television, first at Granada and then at LWT, Birt was brought in as deputy director-general of the BBC in 1987 for his current affairs expertise...

 established his early reputation by persuading the rock star Mick Jagger
Mick Jagger
Sir Michael Philip "Mick" Jagger is an English musician, singer and songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist and a founding member of The Rolling Stones....

 to appear on World in Actionhttp://media.guardian.co.uk/site/story/0,14173,1557297,00.html to debate youth culture and his recent drug conviction, with Establishment figures, including William Rees-Mogg
William Rees-Mogg
William Rees-Mogg, Baron Rees-Mogg is an English journalist and life peer.-Education:Rees-Mogg was educated at Clifton College Preparatory School in Bristol and Charterhouse School in Godalming, followed by Balliol College, Oxford...

 of The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

, who had written a famous editorial defending the singer. Jagger so enjoyed the experience that he invited the Granada team to film The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones are an English rock band, formed in London in April 1962 by Brian Jones , Ian Stewart , Mick Jagger , and Keith Richards . Bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts completed the early line-up...

 at the band's free 1969 concert in Hyde Park, London
Hyde Park, London
Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in central London, United Kingdom, and one of the Royal Parks of London, famous for its Speakers' Corner.The park is divided in two by the Serpentine...

. The resulting film, The Stones In The Park,http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0382318/ was one of the iconic concert films of the Sixties. John Birt rapidly moved on to edit World in Action and eventually run the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 as its Director-General.

The rise of Thatcherism
Thatcherism
Thatcherism describes the conviction politics, economic and social policy, and political style of the British Conservative politician Margaret Thatcher, who was leader of her party from 1975 to 1990...

 and the misery of mass unemployment saw WIA examining the phenomenon through the eyes of another emerging band, UB40
UB40
UB40 are a British reggae/pop band formed in 1978 in Birmingham. The band has placed more than 50 singles in the UK Singles Chart, and has also achieved considerable international success. One of the world's best-selling music artists, UB40 have sold over 70 million records.Their hit singles...

, in A Statistic, A Reminder (1981), a line taken from one of the band's songs. Six years later, a special edition of the programme was devoted to the Irish rock band U2
U2
U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin. Formed in 1976, the group consists of Bono , The Edge , Adam Clayton , and Larry Mullen, Jr. . U2's early sound was rooted in post-punk but eventually grew to incorporate influences from many genres of popular music...

 and their charismatic front man Bono
Bono
Paul David Hewson , most commonly known by his stage name Bono , is an Irish singer, musician, and humanitarian best known for being the main vocalist of the Dublin-based rock band U2. Bono was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, and attended Mount Temple Comprehensive School where he met his...

. Like The Rolling Stones before them, U2 allowed World in Action to film one of their classic concerts in 1987 in Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

. This footage, shot by the future Hollywood
Cinema of the United States
The cinema of the United States, also known as Hollywood, has had a profound effect on cinema across the world since the early 20th century. Its history is sometimes separated into four main periods: the silent film era, classical Hollywood cinema, New Hollywood, and the contemporary period...

 director Paul Greengrass
Paul Greengrass
Paul Greengrass is an English film director, screenwriter and former journalist. He specialises in dramatisations of real-life events and is known for his signature use of hand-held cameras.-Life and career:...

, was shown only once on ITV because of copyright
Copyright
Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time...

 restrictions, although it circulated among fans of the band as a bootleg
Bootleg recording
A bootleg recording is an audio or video recording of a performance that was not officially released by the artist or under other legal authority. The process of making and distributing such recordings is known as bootlegging...

. A small section of the film was posted on YouTube
YouTube
YouTube is a video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005, on which users can upload, view and share videos....

 in 2006 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucuBimT-9m4. The full documentary was made available on the itv.com
Itv.com
itv.com is the main website of ITV plc, the UK's largest commercial television broadcaster which operates 11 out of 15 regions on the ITV network under the ITV1 brand. The website offers on-line streaming, ITV archive, news, sport, entertainment, games, soaps, lifestyle, drama and an interactive TV...

 website in 2008 http://www.itv.com/BestofITV/documentary/WorldinAction.html.

In 1983, Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
Stevland Hardaway Morris , better known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and activist...

, at the height of his popularity, gave the programme a musical exclusive when he agreed to let a World in Action crew record him performing an unreleased song, written to help the Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 politician Jesse Jackson
Jesse Jackson
Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr. is an African-American civil rights activist and Baptist minister. He was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988 and served as shadow senator for the District of Columbia from 1991 to 1997. He was the founder of both entities that merged to...

's electioneering, for The Race Against Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

.http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/title/402505 Another popular singer, Sting, appeared in a more critical World in Action episode, which questioned the effectiveness of his Rainforest Foundation.http://www.sting.com/news/interview.php?uid=1583. In August 1980 the series devoted an edition to the story behind chart rigging - an ongoing practice where record companies were bribing the British chart compilers to put certain artists' singles higher in the charts than they actually were. Singles mentioned on the programme included several UK number one hits of the previous twelve months.

Perhaps the most bruising encounter between WIA and popular entertainment was the 1995 film Black and Blue which featured a covert recording of a performance by the veteran comedian Bernard Manning
Bernard Manning
Bernard John Manning was an English comedian and nightclub owner. He was born and raised in Manchester in northwest England....

 as the star of a charity function organised by the Manchester branch of the Police Federation
Police Federation of England and Wales
The Police Federation of England and Wales is the representative body to which all police officers in England and Wales up to and including the rank of Chief Inspector belong. There are 141,000 members as of July 2009...

, which represents rank-and-file officers. Manning's racist and homophobic performance, loudly applauded by those present, caused outrage when WIA broadcast excerpts, sparking an intense debate about the willingness of British police officers to embrace a diverse
Diversity (politics)
In the political arena, the term diversity is used to describe political entities with members who have identifiable differences in their backgrounds or lifestyles....

 culture.http://www.hrw.org/reports/1997/uk2/

Journalists


World in Action employed many leading journalists, among them John Pilger
John Pilger
John Richard Pilger is an Australian journalist and documentary maker, based in London. He has twice won Britain's Journalist of the Year Award, and his documentaries have received academy awards in Britain and the US....

; Michael Parkinson
Michael Parkinson
Sir Michael Parkinson, CBE is an English broadcaster, journalist and author. He presented his interview programme, Parkinson, from 1971 to 1982 and from 1998 to 2007.- Early life :...

; Gordon Burns
Gordon Burns (television)
Gordon Burns is a Northern Irish-born British journalist and broadcaster who hosted Granada TV's popular game show The Krypton Factor for its original 18 year run...

; Nick Davies
Nick Davies
Nick Davies is a British investigative journalist, writer and documentary maker.Davies has written extensively as a freelancer, as well as for The Guardian and The Observer, and been named Reporter of the Year Journalist of the Year and Feature Writer of the Year at the British Press Awards...

, Ed Vulliamy
Ed Vulliamy
Ed Vulliamy is a British journalist and writer. His mother is the children's author and illustrator Shirley Hughes and his grandfather the Liverpool store owner Thomas Hughes. He was educated at the independent University College School and at Hertford College, Oxford before becoming a journalist...

 and David Leigh of The Guardian; Alasdair Palmer of the Sunday Telegraph
Sunday Telegraph
The Sunday Telegraph is a British broadsheet newspaper, founded in February 1961. It is the sister paper of The Daily Telegraph, but is run separately with a different editorial staff, although there is some cross-usage of stories...

; John Ware, BBC Panorama
Panorama (TV series)
Panorama is a BBC Television current affairs documentary programme, which was first broadcast in 1953, and is the longest-running public affairs television programme in the world. Panorama has been presented by many well known BBC presenters, including Richard Dimbleby, Robin Day, David Dimbleby...

's leading investigative reporter; Anthony Wilson
Tony Wilson
Anthony Howard Wilson, commonly known as Tony Wilson , was an English record label owner, radio presenter, TV show host, nightclub manager, impresario and journalist for Granada Television and the BBC....

, whose second career as a music impresario was immortalised in the feature film 24 Hour Party People
24 Hour Party People
24 Hour Party People is a 2002 British film about Manchester's popular music community from 1976 to 1992, and specifically about Factory Records. It was written by Frank Cottrell Boyce and directed by Michael Winterbottom...

; Michael Gillard, creator of the Slicker business pages in the satirical magazine Private Eye
Private Eye
Private Eye is a fortnightly British satirical and current affairs magazine, edited by Ian Hislop.Since its first publication in 1961, Private Eye has been a prominent critic and lampooner of public figures and entities that it deemed guilty of any of the sins of incompetence, inefficiency,...

; Donal MacIntyre
Donal MacIntyre
Donal MacIntyre is an Irish investigative journalist, specialising in investigations, undercover operations and television exposés. His work is in the area of care homes for the elderly and the learning disabled...

; the writer Mark Hollingsworth; Quentin McDermott, since 1999 a leading investigative reporter for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, commonly referred to as "the ABC" , is Australia's national public broadcaster...

; Tony Watson, editor of the Yorkshire Post
Yorkshire Post
The Yorkshire Post is a daily broadsheet newspaper, published in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England by Yorkshire Post Newspapers, a company owned by Johnston Press...

 for 13 years and editor-in-chief of the Press Association
Press Association
The Press Association is the national news agency of the United Kingdom and Ireland, supplying multimedia news content to almost all national and regional newspapers, television and radio news, as well as many websites with text, pictures, video and data content globally...

 from December 2006; and Andrew Jennings
Andrew Jennings
-Biography:Jennings was born in Scotland and as a child moved to London, England. He is the grandson of a former Clapton Orient player. Jennings worked for the Sunday Times Insight team in the late 1960s, after which he worked for other British newspapers before becoming an investigative reporter...

, author of Lords of the Rings, who has campaigned vigorously for more than a decade against corruption in international sport.

Two former World in Action journalists uncovered one of the biggest broadcasting scandals of the 1990s.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/htmlContent.jhtml?html=/archive/1998/05/07/ndru07.html Laurie Flynn, a central figure in the British Steel papers case, and Michael Sean Gillard revealed that large parts of a 1996 Carlton TV documentary, The Connection, about drug trafficking from Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

, had been fabricated. Flynn and Gillard's exposé in The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

 in May 1998 led to an inquiry and a record £2 million fine for Carlton from the then regulator, the Independent Television Commission
Independent Television Commission
The Independent Television Commission licensed and regulated commercial television services in the United Kingdom between 1 January 1991 and 28 December 2003....

 (ITC),http://www.ofcom.org.uk/static/archive/itc/itc_publications/annual_report/1998/programme_regulation.asp.html as well as provoking a passionate debate about truthfulness in broadcast journalism.http://www.latrobe.edu.au/screeningthepast/firstrelease/fr1199/bwfr8b.htm http://www.bjr.org.uk/data/2003/no3_owen.htm

Presenters


Unusually for a current affairs programme, WIA's standard format was as a voice-over
Voice-over
Voice-over is a production technique where a voice which is not part of the narrative is used in a radio, television production, filmmaking, theatre, or other presentations...

 documentary
Documentary film
Documentary films constitute a broad category of nonfictional motion pictures intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record...

 without a regular reporter although a handful of WIA journalists did appear in front of camera, including Chris Kelly
Chris Kelly (TV presenter)
Chris Kelly Chris Kelly Chris Kelly (born 24 April 1940, Cuddington, Cheshire, is an English TV presenter, producer and writer.-Education:Kelly was educated at Downside School, a Catholic independent school in Stratton-on-the-Fosse in Somerset, followed by the University of...

, Gordon Burns
Gordon Burns (television)
Gordon Burns is a Northern Irish-born British journalist and broadcaster who hosted Granada TV's popular game show The Krypton Factor for its original 18 year run...

, John Pilger, Gus Macdonald, Anthony Wilson, Nick Davies, Adam Holloway
Adam Holloway
Adam James Harold Holloway is a British Conservative Party politician and the Member of Parliament for Gravesham.-Early life:...

, Stuart Prebble
Stuart Prebble
Stuart Prebble is a former CEO of ITV, Granada Sky Broadcasting and of ITV Digital.Educated at Newcastle University he was producer and editor of the World In Action current affairs series and went on to be Head of Factual Programmes at Granada TV and Controller of Factual Programmes for the ITV...

 (who later became the programme's editor), Mike Walsh, David Taylor and Donal MacIntyre
Donal MacIntyre
Donal MacIntyre is an Irish investigative journalist, specialising in investigations, undercover operations and television exposés. His work is in the area of care homes for the elderly and the learning disabled...

. Guest presenters were used on rare occasions, among them Jonathan Dimbleby
Jonathan Dimbleby
Jonathan Dimbleby is a British presenter of current affairs and political radio and television programmes, a political commentator and a writer. He is the son of Richard Dimbleby and younger brother of British TV presenter David Dimbleby.-Education:Dimbleby was educated at Charterhouse School, a...

, Sandy Gall
Sandy Gall
Henderson Alexander Gall, CMG, CBE , known as Sandy Gall, is a Scottish journalist, author, and former ITN news presenter. His career as a journalist spans over 50 years.-Education:...

, Martyn Gregory, Sue Lawley
Sue Lawley
- Early life and education:Born in Sedgley, Staffordshire, England and brought up in the Black Country, she was educated at Dudley Girls High School and graduated in modern languages from the University of Bristol and some time later started her career at the BBC in Plymouth...

 and Lynn Faulds Wood
Lynn Faulds Wood
Lynn Faulds Wood is a British television presenter and cancer campaigner.Born in Glasgow and brought up on Loch Lomondside, she first came to prominence as "Actionwoman" on Woman magazine, then Lynn's Action Line on the Sun. She moved to consumer champion on the breakfast television programmes...

. Perhaps its most celebrated guest presenter was the distinguished American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 anchorman Walter Cronkite
Walter Cronkite
Walter Leland Cronkite, Jr. was an American broadcast journalist, best known as anchorman for the CBS Evening News for 19 years . During the heyday of CBS News in the 1960s and 1970s, he was often cited as "the most trusted man in America" after being so named in an opinion poll...

, who came out of retirement to cover the 1983 British General Election
United Kingdom general election, 1983
The 1983 United Kingdom general election was held on 9 June 1983. It gave the Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher the most decisive election victory since that of Labour in 1945...

 for the series.http://www.margaretthatcher.org/speeches/displaydocument.asp?docid=105092

A small group of narrators delivered the vast majority of WIA's voice-overs. The science presenter James Burke
James Burke (science historian)
James Burke is a British broadcaster, science historian, author and television producer known amongst other things for his documentary television series Connections and its more philosophical oriented companion production, The Day the Universe Changed , focusing on the history of science and...

 did a number of commentaries on early editions of the programme. Other main contributors included David Plowright
David Plowright
David Ernest Plowright, CBE was an English television executive and producer....

, Chris Kelly
Chris Kelly (TV presenter)
Chris Kelly Chris Kelly Chris Kelly (born 24 April 1940, Cuddington, Cheshire, is an English TV presenter, producer and writer.-Education:Kelly was educated at Downside School, a Catholic independent school in Stratton-on-the-Fosse in Somerset, followed by the University of...

, Jim Pope
Jim Pope
Jim Pope was a British radio and television continuity announcer and voice over artist. He began his career in radio and moved to TV to deliver continuity links for HTV in the 1960s and early 1970s....

, Philip Tibenham and Andrew Brittain. Among the guest narrators who contributed occasional commentaries were the popular actors Robert Lindsay
Robert Lindsay (actor)
Robert Lindsay is an English actor who is best known for his television work, especially his roles of Wolfie Smith in Citizen Smith, Michael Murray in G.B.H., Captain Sir Edward Pellew in Hornblower and Ben Harper in My Family which has been on television screens since 2000.-Early life:Lindsay was...

 and Jean Boht
Jean Boht
Jean Boht is an English actress.She is most famous for the role of Nellie Boswell in Carla Lane's comedy Bread....

.

Producer-Directors


The series was known for its gritty visual style, almost always shot on location, and a number of its producer-directors went on to work on major film projects. Those working on the series in its early years included Michael Apted
Michael Apted
Michael David Apted, CMG is an English director, producer, writer and actor. He is one of the most prolific British film directors of his generation but is best known for his work on the Up Series of documentaries and the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough.On 29 June 2003 he was elected...

, later to direct Coal Miner's Daughter
Coal Miner's Daughter
Coal Miner's Daughter is a 1980 American biographical film which tells the story of country music icon Loretta Lynn. It stars Sissy Spacek in her Academy Award for Best Actress winning role, Tommy Lee Jones, Beverly D'Angelo and Levon Helm, and was directed by Michael Apted.-Background:The film was...

, Gorillas in the Mist
Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey
Gorillas in the Mist is a 1988 American drama film directed by Michael Apted and starring Sigourney Weaver as naturalist Dian Fossey. It tells the true-life story of her work in Rwanda with Mountain Gorillas and was nominated for five Academy Awards....

 and the James Bond
James Bond
James Bond, code name 007, is a fictional character created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, who featured him in twelve novels and two short story collections. There have been a six other authors who wrote authorised Bond novels or novelizations after Fleming's death in 1964: Kingsley Amis,...

 film The World Is Not Enough
The World Is Not Enough
The World Is Not Enough is the nineteenth spy film in the James Bond film series, and the third to star Pierce Brosnan as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The film was directed by Michael Apted, with the original story and screenplay written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Bruce Feirstein. It...

, as well as the Up Series documentaries (the earliest programmes were part of the WIA series), and Mike Hodges
Mike Hodges
Mike Hodges is an English screenwriter, film director, playwright and novelist. His films as writer/director include Get Carter, Pulp, The Terminal Man and Black Rainbow; as director his films include Flash Gordon, Croupier and I'll Sleep When I'm Dead...

, who went on to direct Get Carter
Get Carter
Get Carter is a 1971 British crime film directed by Mike Hodges and starring Michael Caine as Jack Carter, a gangster who sets out to avenge the death of his brother in a series of unrelenting and brutal killings played out against the grim background of derelict urban housing in the city of...

 and Flash Gordon
Flash Gordon
Flash Gordon is the hero of a science fiction adventure comic strip originally drawn by Alex Raymond. First published January 7, 1934, the strip was inspired by and created to compete with the already established Buck Rogers adventure strip. Also inspired by these series were comics such as Dash...

. Director John Goldschmidt made several films for the series in the early 1970s. Later, Paul Greengrass
Paul Greengrass
Paul Greengrass is an English film director, screenwriter and former journalist. He specialises in dramatisations of real-life events and is known for his signature use of hand-held cameras.-Life and career:...

, director of the feature films United 93
United 93 (film)
United 93 is a 2006 fact-based historical drama film written, co-produced, and directed by Paul Greengrass that chronicles events aboard United Airlines Flight 93, which was hijacked during the September 11 attacks...

, The Bourne Supremacy
The Bourne Supremacy
The Bourne Supremacy is the second Jason Bourne novel written by Robert Ludlum, first published in 1986. It was the sequel to Ludlum's bestseller The Bourne Identity and precedes Ludlum's final Bourne novel, The Bourne Ultimatum ....

 and The Bourne Ultimatum
The Bourne Ultimatum (film)
The Bourne Ultimatum is a 2007 American spy film directed by Paul Greengrass and loosely based on the Robert Ludlum novel of the same title. This film is the third in the Bourne film series, being preceded by The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy...

 and of the drama-documentaries Bloody Sunday
Bloody Sunday (TV drama)
Bloody Sunday is a 2002 film about the 1972 "Bloody Sunday" shootings in Derry, Northern Ireland. Although produced by Granada Television as a TV film, it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on 16 January, a few days before its screening on ITV on 20 January, and then in selected London cinemas...

 and The Murder of Stephen Lawrence
Stephen Lawrence
Stephen Lawrence was a black British teenager from Eltham, southeast London, who was stabbed to death while waiting for a bus on the evening of 22 April 1993....

, cut his directing teeth on World in Action. According to The Guardian, Greengrass was listed in 2007 as "the 28th smartest" person in Hollywood. Leslie Woodhead
Leslie Woodhead
Leslie Woodhead is an award-winning British documentary filmmaker.For his National Service he served in Fife at the Joint Services School for Linguists where he was taught Russian. and posted to West Berlin to monitor the communications of Soviet pilots flying in and out of East Germany...

, director of The Stones In The Park, the award winning A Cry From The Grave, many Disappearing World films and also regarded by many as a founder of the drama-documentary
Docudrama
In film, television programming and staged theatre, docudrama is a documentary-style genre that features dramatized re-enactments of actual historical events. As a neologism, the term is often confused with docufiction....

 movement,http://www.screenonline.org.uk/tv/id/1103146/index.html worked on World in Action for many years as a producer-director and executive. Long-time World in Action alumni who went on to direct and produce Granada's international award-winning Disappearing World films include Brian Moser, its instigator and original producer, and Charlie Nairn.

Among the more recent generation of film-makers to emerge from World in Action were Alex Holmes http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0391739/, who became editor of the BBC2 documentary strand Modern Times and went on to write and direct the Bafta-winning dramatised documentary series Dunkirk for the BBC; and Katy Jones, a former WIA producer, who became a key collaborator with the screen writer Jimmy McGovern
Jimmy McGovern
Jimmy McGovern is a BAFTA award-winning English television scriptwriter from Liverpool.-Early career:McGovern started his career working on Channel 4's soap opera Brookside in 1982, tackling many social issues such as unemployment.-Successes:...

 as a producer on his award-winning drama-documentaries Hillsborough
Hillsborough disaster
The Hillsborough disaster was a human crush that occurred on 15 April 1989 at Hillsborough, a football stadium, the home of Sheffield Wednesday F.C. in Sheffield, England, resulting in the deaths of 96 people, and 766 being injured, all fans of Liverpool F.C....

 and Sunday.

Broadcasters


WIA was a starting point for several key programme-makers who went on to major roles in British broadcasting. John Birt became Director-General of the BBC, having been Programme Controller of the London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 ITV station London Weekend Television
London Weekend Television
London Weekend Television was the name of the ITV network franchise holder for Greater London and the Home Counties including south Suffolk, middle and east Hampshire, Oxfordshire, south Bedfordshire, south Northamptonshire, parts of Herefordshire & Worcestershire, Warwickshire, east Dorset and...

, where he created the current affairs flagship, Weekend World
Weekend World
Weekend World is a British television political series, made by London Weekend Television and broadcast from 1972 to 1988.Created by John Birt not long after he moved to LWT, the series was broadcast on the ITV network at lunchtimes on Sundays...

.

Several WIA staffers were promoted to significant roles in Granada Television
Granada Television
Granada Television is the ITV contractor for North West England. Based in Manchester since its inception, it is the only surviving original ITA franchisee from 1954 and is ITV's most successful....

, among them David Plowright
David Plowright
David Ernest Plowright, CBE was an English television executive and producer....

http://www.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story/0,,1859671,00.html, who became its chairman and later went on to become deputy chairman of Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

. Steve Morrison became chief executive at Granada. Gus Macdonald
Gus Macdonald, Baron Macdonald of Tradeston
Angus John "Gus" Macdonald, Baron Macdonald of Tradeston, CBE, PC , is a member of the House of Lords, taking the Labour Party Whip....

 held the same role at another ITV franchise, Scottish Television
Scottish Television
Scottish Television is Scotland's largest ITV franchisee, and has held the ITV franchise for Central Scotland since 31 August 1957. It is the second oldest ITV franchisee still active...

.

Stuart Prebble, a former editor, became chief executive of ITV, and Steve Anderson became Head of News and Current Affairs for that channel. Both have since moved on to the independent production industry. Ian McBride, who led the team which made the Birmingham Six
Birmingham Six
The Birmingham Six were six men—Hugh Callaghan, Patrick Joseph Hill, Gerard Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, William Power and John Walker—sentenced to life imprisonment in 1975 in the United Kingdom for the Birmingham pub bombings. Their convictions were declared unsafe and quashed by the Court of...

 programmes, became Managing Editor of Granada TV, and was Director of Compliance for ITV until 2008.

Dianne Nelmes, who worked as a researcher and executive producer of WIA, was the founding editor of Granada TV's hugely successful This Morning
This Morning (TV series)
This Morning is a British daytime television programme broadcast on ITV. As of September 2011, its main presenters are Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, and Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes, with various other presenters standing in for illness or contributing to sections of the programme.The...

 with Richard and Judy
Richard and Judy
Richard and Judy is the name informally given to Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan, a married couple who are both British television presenters and columnists. Since their marriage, their television appearances have been largely made as a couple. They are best known for presenting This Morning and...

 and went on to head daytime and factual programmes at ITV.

Dorothy Byrne, a former WIA producer, is Head of News and Current Affairs at Channel 4. Julian Bellamy http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/6420005.stm, who worked as a young researcher on one of WIA's last big foreign investigations - about arms
Weapon
A weapon, arm, or armament is a tool or instrument used with the aim of causing damage or harm to living beings or artificial structures or systems...

 deals between Britain and Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/title/572434 - later headed Channel 4's entertainment channel E4 and was programme controller of the BBC digital channel BBC Three
BBC Three
BBC Three is a television network from the BBC broadcasting via digital cable, terrestrial, IPTV and satellite platforms. The channel's target audience includes those in the 16-34 year old age group, and has the purpose of providing "innovative" content to younger audiences, focusing on new talent...

 before re-joining Channel 4 as its Head of Programming in the spring of 2007.

TV production companies


A number of WIA veterans went on to set up and run their own independent television production companies. John Smithson
John Smithson
John Smithson is a British film and television producer. He is Executive Chairman and Chief Creative Director of Darlow Smithson Productions. He works closely with top broadcasting commissioners in the UK, US and around the world.-Family:...

 and David Darlow, who set up the production company Darlow Smithson, responsible for the feature films Touching the Void
Touching the Void (film)
Touching the Void is a 2003 documentary film based on the book of the same name by Joe Simpson about Simpson's and Simon Yates' disastrous and near fatal attempt to climb the 6,344 metre Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985.-Outline:...

 and Deep Waterhttp://www.imdb.com/title/tt0460766/ and many factual TV programmes including Black Box and The Falling Man
The Falling Man
The Falling Man is a photograph taken by Associated Press photographer Richard Drew, of a man falling from the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 9:41:15 a.m. during the September 11 attacks in New York City...

, worked together on WIA. Claudia Milne founded twentytwenty tv, which made a successful current affairs strand for ITV, The Big Story, as well as popular factual series such as Bad Boys' Army on ITV and That'll Teach 'Em
That'll Teach 'Em
That'll Teach 'Em is a British reality television documentary series produced by Twenty Twenty Television for the Channel 4 network in the UK....

 on Channel 4. Brian Lapping set up the much-garlanded Brook Lapping company, which made The Death of Yugoslavia
The Death of Yugoslavia
The Death of Yugoslavia is a BBC documentary series first broadcast in 1995, and is also the name of a book written by Allan Little and Laura Silber that accompanies the series. It covers the collapse of the former Yugoslavia...

 and many other landmark contemporary history programmes. Stuart Prebble, a former editor of World In Action, runs Liberty Bell, best known for the popular Grumpy Old Men  series on the BBC. Another former editor, Steve Boulton, started an eponymous company, which made Young, Nazi & Proud, a Bafta-winning profile of the young British National Party
British National Party
The British National Party is a British far-right political party formed as a splinter group from the National Front by John Tyndall in 1982...

 activist Mark Collett
Mark Collett
Mark Adrian Collett is a British political activist. He is a former chairman of the Young BNP, the youth division of the British National Party , and was Director of Publicity for the Party before being suspended from the party in early April 2010...

.

One of the biggest British independent production companies is All 3 Media, which controls several other leading companies, including Lime Pictures, formerly Mersey Television
Mersey Television
Lime Pictures, formerly known as Mersey Television, is a British television production company, founded by producer and writer Phil Redmond in the early 1980s....

, makers of Hollyoaks
Hollyoaks
Hollyoaks is a long-running British television soap opera, first broadcast on Channel 4 on 23 October 1995. It was originally devised by Phil Redmond, who has also devised shows including Brookside and Grange Hill...

. It is run by Steve Morrison, a former WIA producer.

Political connections


Although in its early days World In Action was reputed never to employ anyone who was on first-name terms with any politician, a number of British Parliamentarians
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 since have World In Action on their curriculum vitae. The most recent is the Conservative MP Adam Holloway
Adam Holloway
Adam James Harold Holloway is a British Conservative Party politician and the Member of Parliament for Gravesham.-Early life:...

, elected to the House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

 in 2005. The British Cabinet Minister Jack Straw
Jack Straw
Jack Straw , British politician.Jack Straw may also refer to:* Jack Straw , English* "Jack Straw" , 1971 song by the Grateful Dead* Jack Straw by W...

  worked on World in Action as a researcher, as did Margaret Beckett
Margaret Beckett
Margaret Mary Beckett is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Derby South since 1983, rising to become the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party under John Smith, from 18 July 1992 to 12 May 1994, and briefly serving as Leader of the Party following Smith's death...

 who served as Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

's last Foreign Secretary. Chris Mullin
Chris Mullin (politician)
Christopher John Mullin is a British Labour Party politician and diarist who was the Member of Parliament for Sunderland South from 1987 to 2010...

, Labour MP for Sunderland South
Sunderland South (UK Parliament constituency)
Sunderland South was, from 1950 until 2010, a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elected one Member of Parliament by the first past the post system of election.-History:...

, played a major role in the programme's campaign on behalf of the Birmingham Six
Birmingham Six
The Birmingham Six were six men—Hugh Callaghan, Patrick Joseph Hill, Gerard Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, William Power and John Walker—sentenced to life imprisonment in 1975 in the United Kingdom for the Birmingham pub bombings. Their convictions were declared unsafe and quashed by the Court of...

. Gus Macdonald
Gus Macdonald, Baron Macdonald of Tradeston
Angus John "Gus" Macdonald, Baron Macdonald of Tradeston, CBE, PC , is a member of the House of Lords, taking the Labour Party Whip....

, now Baron Macdonald of Tradeston, and from 1998 to 2003 a Government Minister, was formerly an executive on the programme. John Birt (by then ennobled as Baron Birt), was personal advisor to the British Prime Minister Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

 between 2001 and 2005.

Editors


Editors of the programme (sometimes with the title of Executive Producer) were, successively, Tim Hewat, Derek Granger, Alex Valentine, David Plowright
David Plowright
David Ernest Plowright, CBE was an English television executive and producer....

, Jeremy Wallington, Leslie Woodhead, John Birt, Gus Macdonald, David Boulton
David Boulton (UK journalist)
David Boulton is a British journalist, author, documentary producer and lecturer. Following five years in print media, Boulton pursued a 40-year career in broadcast journalism as a producer, editor, and executive, winning several awards. Boulton has authored or edited 21 books in the fields of...

, Brian Lapping, Ray Fitzwalter, Allan Segal
Allan Segal
Allan Segal is an BAFTA-winning political, current affairs and historical television documentary director and executive producer. Though now retired from television, spent the majority of his career working for Granada Television.-Early career:...

, Stuart Prebble
Stuart Prebble
Stuart Prebble is a former CEO of ITV, Granada Sky Broadcasting and of ITV Digital.Educated at Newcastle University he was producer and editor of the World In Action current affairs series and went on to be Head of Factual Programmes at Granada TV and Controller of Factual Programmes for the ITV...

, Nick Hayes, Dianne Nelmes, Charles Tremayne, Steve Boulton and Jeff Anderson. Anderson also became editor of World in Action's replacement Tonight, before becoming Head of Current Affairs at ITV in 2006. Mike Lewis, a former WIA producer, was appointed editor of Tonight in October 2006.

Academic connections


Professor Brian Winston
Brian Winston
Brian Winston was the first Lincoln Chair of Communications at the University of Lincoln, United Kingdom. He was a Pro Vice Chancellor for 2005-2006 and the former dean of communications....

, Pro-Vice Chancellor (External Relations) at the University of Lincoln
University of Lincoln
The University of Lincoln is an English university founded in 1992, with origins tracing back to the foundation and association with the Hull School of Art 1861....

, who has also held leading posts at the Universities of Westminster
University of Westminster
The University of Westminster is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom. Its origins go back to the foundation of the Royal Polytechnic Institution in 1838, and it was awarded university status in 1992.The university's headquarters and original campus are based on Regent...

, Cardiff
Cardiff University
Cardiff University is a leading research university located in the Cathays Park area of Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom. It received its Royal charter in 1883 and is a member of the Russell Group of Universities. The university is consistently recognised as providing high quality research-based...

, Pennsylvania State
Pennsylvania State University
The Pennsylvania State University, commonly referred to as Penn State or PSU, is a public research university with campuses and facilities throughout the state of Pennsylvania, United States. Founded in 1855, the university has a threefold mission of teaching, research, and public service...

 and New York
New York University
New York University is a private, nonsectarian research university based in New York City. NYU's main campus is situated in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan...

, was a researcher and producer in the early series of World in Action.

Ray Fitzwalter, WIA's longest-serving editor and the man behind the ground-breaking Poulson
John Poulson
John Garlick Llewellyn Poulson was a British architect and businessman who caused a major political scandal when his use of bribery was disclosed in 1972. The highest-ranking figure to be forced out was Conservative Home Secretary Reginald Maudling...

 investigations, became a Visiting Fellow at the University of Salford
University of Salford
The University of Salford is a campus university based in Salford, Greater Manchester, England with approximately 20,000 registered students. The main campus is about west of Manchester city centre, on the A6, opposite the former home of the physicist, James Prescott Joule and the Working Class...

 School of Media, Music and Performance.

Gavin MacFadyen, who worked on early series of World in Action as a producer-director and was best known for his under-cover human rights films, was made a Visiting Professor at City University in 2005. He is also Director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism. David Leigh
David Leigh
David Leigh is a British journalist and author, currently investigations executive editor of The Guardian.-Early life:Leigh was born in 1946 and educated at Nottingham High School and King's College, Cambridge, receiving a research degree from Cambridge in 1968.-Career:Leigh has been a prominent...

, who made "Jonathan of Arabia", the film which provoked Jonathan Aitken
Jonathan Aitken
Jonathan William Patrick Aitken is a former Conservative Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom, and British government minister. He was convicted of perjury in 1999 and received an 18-month prison sentence, of which he served seven months...

's self-destructive libel action, http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,288254,00.html was made Britain's first Professor of Reporting at City University, London, in September 2006.

Camera work


Although a great many director/producers, journalists and editors passed through the programme, one cameraman
Camera operator
A camera operator or cameraman is a professional operator of a film or video camera. In filmmaking, the leading cameraman is usually called a cinematographer, while a cameraman in a video production may be known as a television camera operator, video camera operator, or videographer, depending on...

 played an overwhelming role in shaping the appeal of the series. George Jesse Turner, born on the Lancashire
Lancashire
Lancashire is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in the North West of England. It takes its name from the city of Lancaster, and is sometimes known as the County of Lancaster. Although Lancaster is still considered to be the county town, Lancashire County Council is based in Preston...

 coast, close to Granada's roots, served on the programme from 1966 until its end. By his own count, he shot the principal footage for some 600 of its 1,400 editions, as well as filming all of Michael Apted's documentaries in the Seven Up! series. Turner was shot himself - in the backside - by an Israeli bullet whilst filming a clash between Fatah
Fatah
Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

 guerrillas and the Israeli Army in 1969. Shortly before he retired from Granada, Turner was honoured by Bafta in 1999 for his work as a documentary cameraman.

Among the many cameramen who also contributed to WIA was Chris Menges
Chris Menges
Chris Menges BSC, ASC, is an English cinematographer and film director. He is a member of both the American and British Societies of Cinematographers.-Life and career:...

http://imdb.com/name/nm0579580/, who went on to become a distinguished cinematographer - Kes
Kes (film)
Kes is a 1969 British film from director Ken Loach and producer Tony Garnett. The film is based on the novel A Kestrel for a Knave, written by the Barnsley-born author Barry Hines in 1968...

, The Killing Fields
The Killing Fields (film)
The Killing Fields is a 1984 British drama film about the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, which is based on the experiences of two journalists: Cambodian Dith Pran and American Sydney Schanberg. The film, which won three Academy Awards, was directed by Roland Joffé and stars Sam Waterston as...

 and The Mission are among his credits - and a film director in his own right, on features such as A World Apart
A World Apart (film)
A World Apart is a 1988 anti-Apartheid drama, written by Shawn Slovo and directed by Chris Menges. It is based on the lives of Slovo's parents, Ruth First and Joe Slovo. The film was a co-production between companies from the UK and Zimbabwe, where the movie was filmed...

.

Title sequence


The programme's distinctive identity owed much to its striking title sequence
Title sequence
A Title Sequence is the method by which cinematic films or television programs present their title, key production and cast members, or both, utilizing conceptual visuals and sound...

. The music, based on a descending series of organ
Organ (music)
The organ , is a keyboard instrument of one or more divisions, each played with its own keyboard operated either with the hands or with the feet. The organ is a relatively old musical instrument in the Western musical tradition, dating from the time of Ctesibius of Alexandria who is credited with...

 chords
Chord (music)
A chord in music is any harmonic set of two–three or more notes that is heard as if sounding simultaneously. These need not actually be played together: arpeggios and broken chords may for many practical and theoretical purposes be understood as chords...

, was called Jam for World in Action and is usually credited to Jonathon Weston, though the American musician
Musician
A musician is an artist who plays a musical instrument. It may or may not be the person's profession. Musicians can be classified by their roles in performing music and writing music.Also....* A person who makes music a profession....

 Shawn Phillips
Shawn Phillips
Shawn Phillips is a folk-rock musician, primarily influential in the 1960s and 1970s.Phillips has recorded twenty albums and worked with musicians including Donovan, Paul Buckmaster, J. Peter Robinson, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Bernie Taupin, and many others...

 disputes this. He has posted his claim of authorship on YouTube
YouTube
YouTube is a video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005, on which users can upload, view and share videos....

. The programme's logo, and the centrepiece of its titles, was the Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

 drawing, the Vitruvian Man
Vitruvian Man
The Vitruvian Man is a world-renowned drawing created by Leonardo da Vinci circa 1487. It is accompanied by notes based on the work of the famed architect, Vitruvius. The drawing, which is in pen and ink on paper, depicts a male figure in two superimposed positions with his arms and legs apart and...

.

Controversy


In August 1978 World in Action aired reports from the United States that microwaves were dangerous and caused cancer which later proved unfounded. This fallacy was encouraged and further reinforced which resulted in the compounding of people's fear that these appliances were dangerous. UK microwave sales plummeted immediately after the documentary aired. Potential purchasers were particularly anxious that radiation would somehow escape through the oven walls or door.

External links



Books and articles

  • Jonathan Aitken (2003), Pride and Perjury, London: Continuum International Publishing Group - Academi.
  • Ray Fitzwalter (2008), The Dream That Died: The Rise And Fall Of ITV, London: Matador.
  • Ray Fitzwalter, David Taylor (1981), Web of Corruption: The Story of J. G. L. Poulson and T. Dan Smith, London: Granada.
  • Denis Forman (1997), Persona Granada, London: Andre Deutsch
  • Peter Goddard (2004), 'World in Action', in Glen Creeber (ed.), Fifty Key Television Programmes, London: Arnold.
  • Peter Goddard (2006), '"Improper liberties": Regulating undercover journalism on ITV, 1967–1980', Journalism, 7(1): 45-63.
  • Peter Goddard, John Corner and Kay Richardson (2001), 'The formation of World in Action: A case study in the history of current affairs journalism', Journalism, 2(1): 73-90.
  • Peter Goddard, John Corner and Kay Richardson (2007), Public Issue Television: World in Action 1963-98, Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  • Luke Harding, David Leigh and David Pallister (1997), The Liar: The Fall of Jonathan Aitken, London: Penguin Books Ltd.
  • Jonathan Margolis (1996), Bernard Manning, London: Orion Books
  • Chris Mullin (1990), Error of Judgement: Birmingham Bombings, Dublin: Poolbeg Press.
  • George Jesse Turner, Jeff Anderson (2000), Trouble Shooter: Life Through The Lens of World in Action's Top Cameraman, London: Granada Media.