- World in Action
show_name = World in Action
format = Current affairs
runtime = 30 minutes
creator = Tim Hewat
first_aired = 1963
last_aired = 1998
num_series = 35
"World in Action" was a current affairs series produced by
Granada Televisionin the United Kingdomin the 25 years from 1963 to 1998. It frequently took risks that other similar series would never have taken and "World in Action", broadcast in Britain every Monday night at 8 o'clock, gained a wide reputation for unorthodox - some have felt 'left wing' - thought and for its campaigning journalism. At its height, it drew audiences in Britain of up to 23 million. Many have seen it as high in the pinnacle of "The Golden Age of Television".
The first of the ground-breaking "
Seven Up!" programmes was shown as part of "World in Action" in 1964. "World in Action" also broadcast the famous meeting in 1967 between Mick Jaggerand several senior British establishment figures, arranged by a "World In Action" researcher, the future BBC Director-General John Birt.
Political Studies Association, honouring the programme in its 50th Anniversary Awards, said: "World in Action" thrived on unveiling corruption and highlighting underhand dealings. "World in Action" came to be seen as hard-hitting investigative journalism at its best." [http://www.psa.ac.uk/about/brochure/PSA%20Brochure_18-25.pdf]
"World in Action"'s demise in favour of the more populist
Tonighthas been bitterly criticised by some as part of a "dumbing-down" of ITVand British TV more generally, but by others the decision is thought to have been the inevitable response to the increasing commercial pressures on British TV.
"World in Action" was the pre-eminent current affairs program produced by the
ITVNetwork in its first 50 years. Along with "This Week" and then "First Tuesday", " Weekend World", "The Big Story" and " The Cook Report" - and the news-gathering of ITN- "World in Action" gave ITV a reputation for quality broadcast journalism, and certainly for film-making, to rival, arguably exceed, that of the BBC.
For the first 35 years of its existence, ITV had a near-monopoly of television
advertisingrevenue. Roy Thomson, who ran Scottish Televisionfamously 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 "the maverick genius of Granada's current affairs in its formative years" [Guardian 4/12/2004 Tim Hewat Obituary by Philip Pursar] and his "World In Action" successor
David Plowright: but also Jeremy Isaacs, Michael Parkinson, John Birtand Gus Macdonald and, the most long-serving of all its executive-producers , Ray Fitzwalter. "World In Action" trained generations of journalists and, in particular, film-makers. Michael Aptedworked on the original 'Seven Up'. Paul Greengrass, 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' [Guardian 4/12/2004 Tim Hewat Obituary by Philip Pursar] 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 Societyand EmmyAwards.
"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, 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" that the programme's ethos was to "comfort the afflicted - and afflict the comfortable." Paul Greengrass told The Guardianin June 2008that 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 but gradually they were all 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 world-wide view and coverage, was replaced in the schedules by "Tonight".
From the beginning, and especially from the late 1960s, "World In Action" broke new ground in investigative techniques. Landmark investigations included the Poulson Affair, corruption in the
West Midlands Serious Crime Squad, the exposure of the shadowy and violent far-right group Combat 18, investigations into L Ron Hubbardand Scientologyand, most notably, a long campaign which resulted in the release from prison of the Birmingham Six, six Irishmen falsely accused of planting Provisional Irish Republican Army(IRA) bombs in Birminghampubs. At the same time it was prepared to think carefully about the situation of those who picked the tea, Britain's national beverage, in Sri Lanka.
"World in Action's" appetite for controversy created tension with the official regulators, especially in the early decades, when the regulator had the power to intervene before broadcast. Sir
Denis Forman, one of Granada's founders, wrote that there was " trench warfare" between the programme and the industry regulator, the Independent Television Authority(ITA), in the years between 1966 and 1969 as "World In Action" sought to establish its journalistic freedoms. [Denis Forman, "Persona Granada", p. 222]
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 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 politicians and
civil servants to advance his constructionbusiness. The regulator, which was by then the Independent Broadcasting Authority(IBA), banned the film without seeing it and without giving official reasons other than "broadcasting policy". In retaliation, Granada broadcast in protest 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" unite in condemnation of " censorship", 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]
"World In Action" was prepared to take on even the highly-secretive British
intelligence services and also the British Navy over its recruitment practices despite senior Navy personnel famously 'door-stepping' "World In Action"'s film director. "World In Action" broke the stories of whistleblowersfrom GCHQ[http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/title/106622] and the Joint Intelligence Committee [http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/title/460599] . Perhaps its most explosive coverage of the secret state was "The Spy Who Never Was", about the former MI5officer Peter Wright, an extended edition aired in July 1984; Wright's subsequent, controversial book " Spycatcher", banned in the UK by the government of Margaret Thatcher, was co-authored by one of the programme's producers, Paul Greengrass.
The series was rarely away from the courts and the threat of legal action. 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 Lordsruling [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[http://www.bfi.org.uk/features/tv/100/articles/100.html] . British Steel was at the time locked in a controversial industrial dispute with its workforce.
In 1995, Susan O'Keeffe, a "World in Action" journalist, was threatened with prison in
Irelandfor 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 Inquiryin 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. [https://listserv.heanet.ie/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9410&L=irishlaw&D=0&O=A&P=10778&F=P] The case became a cause célèbrein the Republic of Ireland, and in January 1995 she faced trial for contempt of courtbut was cleared of the charge. [http://historical-debates.oireachtas.ie/S/0141/S.0141.199409010006.html] She was honoured in the 1994 Freedom of InformationAwards for her stand. [http://www.cfoi.org.uk/awards94pr.html#okeeffe]
In its last few years, the programme was involved in two high-profile
libelcases. It won the first (along with " The Guardian") against the former Conservative Cabinet Minister Jonathan Aitken, and lost the second, against the high streetchain Marks & Spencer. [http://www.cpbf.demon.co.uk/FreePress/fp108/fp108.htm]
On April 10, 1995, Jonathan Aitken (himself a former journalist for
Yorkshire Television) 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 Saudisbe 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".
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 programming became the staple diet of the TV schedules, "World In Action" challenged the
Staffordshirevillage of Longnor to quit smoking [http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/title/19736] [http://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
Member of Parliament, Matthew Parris, to live for a week on a £26 unemploymentbenefit 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 for a distinguished career as a broadcaster and writer.) The same year, "World In Action" revealed the tricks behind political oratoryby coaching a complete beginner, Ann Brennan, to deliver a speech which won a standing ovation at the annual conference of the Social Democratic Party, using techniques developed by Professor Max Atkinson. The eminent political commentator Sir Robin Day, covering the conference for BBC television, described Mrs Brennan's performance as "The most refreshing speech we’ve heard so far."
"World In Action" helped to pioneer the current fashion for using miniature covert cameras, not just in investigative work, such as
Donal MacIntyre's award-winning programmes in October 1996 on the illegal drug trade, but also in social documentary, including, from the earliest days, the treatment of gypsies, the old in care ["Ward F13"] and poverty in England and the future Conservative MP Adam Holloway's disturbing reports on the reality of life among the homelessin 1991.
"World In Action" gave rise to a number of spin-off series, most famously the "
Seven Up!" 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 Apteddirected most episodes; parallel series have also started in the last decade in South Africa, the USA and Russia. ITV's popular consumer series, "House of Horrors", in which shoddy builders are invited to carry out minor repairs to a house festooned with covert recording devices, originated on "World In Action".
"World in Action's" hard-hitting style and undercover techniques are sometimes cited as a template for 21st century British current affairs series, especially the MacIntyre series on the
BBCand Five; and Channel 4's "Dispatches" strand, which is commissioned by Dorothy Byrne, a former "WIA" producer.
WIA and popular culture
One of the programme's hallmarks was its willingness to embrace
popular culture, at a time when its competitors preferred a more highbrowapproach. One of the very earliest editions reported on overspending at the Ministry of Defence in the style of a contemporary gameshow, "Beat The Clock". The programme was so controversial it was banned from being shown on ITVby the then regulatory body, the Independent Television Authority(ITA); instead, ten minutes of it were shown on the BBC as an act of journalistic solidarity. [ Denis Forman, "Persona Granada" pp. 216-7] 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.
Popular music played a significant role in "WIA's" history. An early edition, in 1966, carried a
fly-on-the-wallaccount of daily life aboard one of the then pirate radioships, Radio Caroline, 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 Birtestablished his early reputation by persuading the rock star Mick Jaggerto appear on "World in Action" [http://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-Moggof " The Times", who had written a famous editorial defending the singer. Jagger so enjoyed the experience that he invited the Granada team to film The Rolling Stonesat the band's famous 1969 free concert in Hyde Park, London. 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 BBCas its Director-General.
The rise of
Thatcherismand the misery of mass unemployment saw "WIA" examining the phenomenon through the eyes of another emerging band, UB40, 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 U2and their charismatic front man Bono. Like The Rolling Stones before them, U2 allowed "World in Action" to film one of their classic concerts in 1987 in Ireland. This footage, shot by the future Hollywood director Paul Greengrass, was shown only once on ITV because of copyrightrestrictions, although it circulated among fans of the band as a bootleg. A small section of the film was posted on YouTubein 2006 [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucuBimT-9m4] . The full documentary was made available on the itv.comwebsite in 2008 [http://www.itv.com/BestofITV/documentary/WorldinAction.html] .
Stevie Wonder, 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 politician Jesse Jackson's electioneering, for "The Race Against Reagan". [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]
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 Manningas the star of a charity function organised by the Manchester branch of the Police Federation, 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 culture. [http://www.hrw.org/reports/1997/uk2/]
"World in Action" employed many leading journalists, among them
John Pilger; Michael Parkinson; Gordon Burns; Nick Davies, Ed Vulliamyand David Leigh of The Guardian; Alasdair Palmer of the Sunday Telegraph; John Ware, BBC Panorama's leading investigative reporter; Anthony Wilson, whose second career as a music impresario was immortalised in the feature film " 24 Hour Party People"; Michael Gillard, creator of the "Slicker" business pages in the satirical magazine " Private Eye"; Donal MacIntyre; the writer Mark Hollingsworth; Quentin McDermott, since 1999 a leading investigative reporter for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation; Tony Watson, editor of the Yorkshire Postfor 13 years and editor-in-chief of the Press Associationfrom December 2006; and Andrew Jennings, 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 TVdocumentary, "The Connection", about drug trafficking from Colombia, had been fabricated. Flynn and Gillard's exposé in " The Guardian" in May 1998 led to an inquiry and a record £2 million fine for Carlton from the then regulator, the Independent Television Commission(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]
Unusually for a current affairs programme, "WIA's" standard format was as a
voice-overdocumentary without a regular reporter although a handful of "WIA" journalists did appear in front of camera, including Chris Kelly, Gordon Burns, John Pilger, Gus Macdonald, Anthony Wilson, Nick Davies, Adam Holloway, Stuart Prebble(who later became the programme's editor), Mike Walsh, David Taylor and Donal MacIntyre. Guest presenters were used on rare occasions, among them Jonathan Dimbleby, Sandy Gall, Martyn Gregory, Sue Lawleyand Lynn Faulds Wood. Perhaps its most celebrated guest presenter was the distinguished American anchorman Walter Cronkite, who came out of retirement to cover the 1983 British General Election 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 did a number of commentaries on early editions of the programme. Other main contributors included
David Plowright, Chris Kelly, Jim Pope, Philip Tibenham and Andrew Brittain. Among the guest narrators who contributed occasional commentaries were the popular actors Robert Lindsay and Jean Boht.
The series was known for its gritty visual style, almost always on film, 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, later to direct " Coal Miner's Daughter", "Gorillas in the Mist" and the James Bondfilm "The World is not Enough", as well as the "Seven Up!" documentaries, and Mike Hodges, who went on to direct " Get Carter" and " Flash Gordon". Later, Paul Greengrass, director of the feature films United 93, The Bourne Supremacyand The Bourne Ultimatum and of the drama-documentaries "Bloody Sunday" and "The Murder of Stephen Lawrence", cut his directing teeth on "World in Action". According to "The Guardian", Greengrass was listed in 2007 as "the 28th smartest" person in Hollywood. [cite web|url= http://hollywoodinsider.ew.com/2007/11/smart-list-intr.html|title= The 50 Smartest People in Hollywood|date= 28 November 2007|accessdate= 2008-08-04] . Leslie Woodhead, 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 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
BBC2documentary 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 McGovernas a producer on his award-winning drama-documentaries "Hillsborough" and "Sunday".
"WIA" was a starting point for several key programme-makers who went on to major roles in British broadcasting. The most famous,
John Birt, became Director-General of the BBC, having also been Programme Controller of the former LondonITV franchise LWT, where he created another iconic current affairs series, "Weekend World". [http://www.mgeitf.co.uk/news/detail.asp?id=3993]
Several "WIA" staffers were promoted to significant roles in
Granada Television, among them David Plowright[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. Steve Morrison became chief executive at Granada. Gus Macdonald held the same role at another ITV franchise, Scottish Television.
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 Sixprogrammes, became Managing Editor of Granada TV 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 with
Richard and Judyand 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 deals between Britain and
Indonesia[http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/title/572434] - later headed up Channel 4's entertainment channel E4 and was programme controller of the BBC digital channel BBC Threebefore 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 [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0810478/] and David Darlow, who set up the production company responsible for the feature films "Touching the Void" and "Deep Water" [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0460766/] 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" on Channel 4. David Darlow and John Smithson founded the Darlow Smithson company, responsible for "Black Box", " The Falling Man" and "Touching the Void", among many factual programmes. Brian Lapping set up the much-garlanded Brook Lapping company, which made " The Death of 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 eponymouscompany, which made "Young, Nazi & Proud", a Bafta-winning profile of the young British National Partyactivist Mark Collett.
One of the biggest British independent production companies is All 3 Media, which controls several other leading companies, including
Lime Pictures, formerly Mersey Television, makers of " Hollyoaks". It is run by Steve Morrison, a former "WIA" producer.
A number of British Parliamentarians have "World In Action" on their
curriculum vitae. The most recent is the Conservative MP Adam Holloway, elected to the House of Commons in 2005. The British Cabinet MinisterJack Straw worked on "World in Action" as a researcher, as did Margaret Beckettwho served as Tony Blair's last Foreign Secretary. Chris Mullin, Labour MP for SunderlandSouth, played a major role in the programme's campaign on behalf of the Birmingham Six. Gus Macdonald, 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 Blairbetween 2001 and 2005.
Editors of the programme (sometimes with the title of Executive Producer) were, successively, Tim Hewat, Derek Granger, Alex Valentine,
David Plowright, Jeremy Wallington, Leslie Woodhead, John Birt, Gus Macdonald, David Boulton, Brian Lapping, Ray Fitzwalter, Allan Segal, Stuart Prebble, 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.
Brian Winston, Pro-Vice Chancellor (External Relations) at the University of Lincoln, who has also held leading posts at the Universities of Westminster, Cardiff, Pennsylvania State and New York, 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 investigations, became a Visiting Fellow at the
University of SalfordSchool 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, who made "Jonathan of Arabia", the film which provoked Jonathan Aitken'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.
Although a great many director/producers, journalists and editors passed through the programme, one cameraman played an overwhelming role in shaping the appeal of the series. George Jesse Turner, born on the
Lancashirecoast, 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. [George Jesse Turner & Jeff Anderson, "Trouble Shooter", p. viii] Turner was shot himself - in the backside - by an Israeli bullet whilst he and Allan Segalwere filming a clash between Fatahguerrillas and the Israeli Armyin 1969. [George Jesse Turner & Jeff Anderson, "Trouble Shooter", pp. 7-13] Shortly before he retired from Granada, Turner was honoured by Baftain 1999 for his work as a documentary cameraman.
Among the many cameramen who also contributed to "WIA" was
Chris Menges[http://imdb.com/name/nm0579580/] , who went on to become a distinguished cinematographer - " Kes", "The Killing Fields" and "The Mission" are among his credits - and a film director in his own right, on features such as " A World Apart".
The programme's distinctive identity owed much to its striking
title sequence. The music, based on a descending series of organ chords, was called "Jam for World in Action" and was written by Jonathon Weston. The programme's logo, and the centrepiece of its titles, was the famous Leonardo da Vincidrawing, the Vitruvian Man.
* [http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/series/27 British Film Institute database of World In Action programmes]
* [http://www.tv-ark.org.uk/itvnorthwest/itvnorthwestprogrammes.html TV Ark archive of World In Action title sequences]
* [http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/W/htmlW/worldinacti/worldinacti.htm Encyclopedia of Television]
* [http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/stevehackett/itvnorthwestprogrammes.html ITV North West England - World in Action titles for 1963 and 1995]
* [http://www.networkdvd.co.uk/product.php?GROUP_ID=26&PROD_ID=282 Network DVD - World in Action Vol. 1]
* [http://www.nostalgiacentral.com/tv/variety/worldinaction.htm Nostalgia Central - The World in Action 1963 to 1998]
* [http://www.paulalmond.com/7up.html Paul Almond - 7 Up]
* [http://www.wsws.org/news/1998/mar1998/brit-m14.shtml World Socialist Website - 14 March 1998]
* [http://users.aber.ac.uk/jfs/televertite.htm ‘Televérité’ hits Britain: Documentary, Drama and the growth of 16mm Filmmaking in British Television]
* [http://www.rts.org.uk/magazine_det.asp?id=4758&sec_id=826 'Scandal at the regulator' (World in Action and the Poulson affair)]
* [http://www.itv.com/BestofITV/documentary/WorldinAction.html ITV's official WIA page, containing links to four classic episodes]
* [http://www.brightcove.tv/title.jsp?title=1564577192&channel=301939273| Ray Fitzwalter on the Rise & Fall of World in Action] London Frontline Club, May 2008.
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.
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