Crimewatch

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Crimewatch
Crimewatch title screen.png
Also known asCrimewatch UK
GenreFactual
Presented byKirsty Young
Matthew Amroliwala
Martin Bayfield
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
Production
Location(s)Cardiff
Running time60 minutes
Broadcast
Original channelBBC One
Picture format576i (16:9 SDTV)
Original run7 June 1984 (1984-06-07) – present
Chronology
Followed byCrimewatch Update
Related showsCrimewatch Roadshow
External links
Website
 
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Crimewatch
Crimewatch title screen.png
Also known asCrimewatch UK
GenreFactual
Presented byKirsty Young
Matthew Amroliwala
Martin Bayfield
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
Production
Location(s)Cardiff
Running time60 minutes
Broadcast
Original channelBBC One
Picture format576i (16:9 SDTV)
Original run7 June 1984 (1984-06-07) – present
Chronology
Followed byCrimewatch Update
Related showsCrimewatch Roadshow
External links
Website

Crimewatch (formerly Crimewatch UK) is a long-running and high-profile British television programme produced by the BBC, that reconstructs major unsolved crimes with a view to gaining information from the members of the public. The programme was originally broadcast once a month on BBC One, although in more recent years the programme has more usually been broadcast roughly once every two months. It was announced on 15 October 2008 that the BBC would move the filming of shows such as Crimewatch to studios in Cardiff.[1]

The show was first broadcast on 7 June 1984, and is based on the German TV show Aktenzeichen XY … ungelöst (which translates as File Reference XY … Unsolved). It was first presented by Nick Ross and Sue Cook. When Cook left in 1995, she was replaced by Jill Dando. After Dando's murder in April 1999, Fiona Bruce took over.

Kirsty Young, Matthew Amroliwala and Martin Bayfield currently front the show; following the departures of Ross and Bruce in 2007 and Rav Wilding on 15 December 2011.

History[edit]

The idea for the show came from the UK programme Police Five and the German Aktenzeichen XY … ungelöst (File Reference XY … Unsolved).[2] Producers viewed the shows and rejected the overt reconstructions with music to build suspense in America's Most Wanted, and were also against the idea of filming the reconstruction from the perspective of the offender as in Aktenzeichen XY … ungelöst (particularly for sexual assaults).[3] However, they favoured the idea of audience participation in the show.[3] It started as Crimewatch UK and was due to run for three programmes only.[4] It was regarded as an experiment when it was first shown, partly because of doubts about whether police would take part,[4] whether witnesses and victims would welcome the idea, whether it would actually lead to arrests, and whether it could be considered to prejudice a jury. In over 25 years, 57 murderers, 53 rapists and sex offenders, 18 paedophiles, and others were captured as a direct result of Crimewatch appeals[citation needed].

Show format[edit]

The programme used to be shown every month on BBC One usually at 9pm, with a Crimewatch Update at 10.35, following the BBC News at Ten. Since March 2011 the show has aired less frequently, roughly once every two months.[5] The show features approximately three or four cases per show, with each case featuring reconstructions of the crime. It is one of the largest live factual studio productions. The films shown often feature interviews with senior detectives and/or relatives or friends.[6] Key evidence is usually shown, such as E-FIT profiles of suspects and details of certain lines of enquiry.

The show has other features, such as the CCTV section, presented approximately 15 minutes from the start and end of the programme by Rav Wilding. This shows CCTV reports of many different crimes, with enhanced imagery of suspects police are trying to contact. Also presented by Rav Wilding is the Wanted Faces, eight close-up pictures of suspects police need to talk to. This section also frequently involves information about suspects, including aliases. These eight photos are shown upon the programme's closing titles, one of the few programmes in which the BBC do not 'show the credits in reduced size'.

Viewers can contact Crimewatch by phoning 0500 600 600, with phonelines remaining open until midnight the night following the programme. Viewers can also send text messages. Due to the high demand for cases to be shown on the programme, many other cases are added to the Crimewatch website. These are joined by reconstructions, CCTV footage and Wanted faces that have been shown on previous programmes. All reconstructions, CCTV footage, faces and cases remain on the Crimewatch website until the criminals are caught or suspects convicted. Crimewatch can be watched on the BBC iPlayer catch-up service for 24 hours from broadcast—longer availability could potentially prejudice forthcoming legal proceedings[citation needed].

Crimewatch Update[edit]

Following the main programme, there is a 10–15 minute follow-up after the BBC News at Ten, with updates on calls and results from the earlier broadcast.

Crimewatch Solved[edit]

From time to time an extra programme Crimewatch: Solved is transmitted, showing cases that resulted in convictions; sometimes a Crimewatch special is produced which reviews an entire high-profile case, such as the murder of Sarah Payne, from beginning to end.

Crimewatch Hot Property[edit]

In 1997, Crimewatch did a special programme called Crimewatch Hot Property presented by Jill Dando and broadcast on BBC 1. The aim was to help people find their stolen properties that were recovered by police raids.

Crimewatch Roadshow[edit]

This accompanying series was shown on weekday mornings from 1 to 26 June 2009, presented by newsreader Sophie Raworth and regular Crimewatch presenter Rav Wilding. The show returned for Series 2 on 7 June 2010, this time presented by Wilding and newsreader Ginny Buckley.[7]

Series 3 ran from 6 June to 1 July 2011, and was presented live from the studio by Rav Wilding, with co-presenter Miriam O'Reilly on location in different parts of the country.

Series 4 was transmitted on weekday mornings from 11 June to 6 July 2012, again presented by Wilding, with new co-presenter Dave Guest on location. Series 5 was scheduled for weekday mornings for four weeks from 13 June 2013.

Involvement[edit]

Several police officers have appeared on the programme from the studio, including David Hatcher, Helen Phelps, Jeremy Payne, Jacqui Hames, Jonathan Morrison, Jane Corrigan, and Rav Wilding. For many years the programme also included antiques experts John Bly, Eric Knowles and Paul Hayes to help with 'treasure trove' details of recovered goods believed to have been stolen, to trace owners.[6]

Despite initial police concerns about involvement[4] (only three forces out of more than 40 agreed to participate at first) Crimewatch developed a special status with police and was credited with an expertise of its own, notably through Nick Ross' long experience with public appeals. Unlike the American equivalent based on Crimewatch, America's Most Wanted, Crimewatch itself usually appeals for unsolved cases, inviting viewers to be armchair detectives. According to the producers, about a third of its cases are solved, half of those as a direct result of viewers' calls. Its successes have included some of Britain's most notorious crimes, including the kidnap of Stephanie Slater and murder of Julie Dart, the M25 rapist, the road-rage killing by Kenneth Noye, and the capture of two boys for the abduction and murder of James Bulger.

Over the years, Crimewatch has featured appeals from all 43 police forces in the country. 1 in 3 appeals leads to an arrest and 1 in 5 lead to a conviction. 4 or 5 requests to air appeals are received from police forces every day.[citation needed]

Ratings and public response[edit]

Crimewatch is watched by between four and five million every month.[citation needed]

A study by the Broadcasting Standards Council found that Crimewatch UK increased the fear of crime in over half of its respondents, and a third said it made them feel "afraid".[8] However, according to John Sears, senior English lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University,[9][10] it provides a beneficial role, performing "a social function by helping to solve crime, and drawing on the collective responsibilities, experiences and knowledge of the viewing audience in order to do so."[11]

Presenters[edit]

PresenterYearAdditional information
Nick Ross1984–2007Known for ending each episode by reminding viewers that violent crime is actually very rare and encouraging them not to have nightmares (due to the show's late air time). His phrase, "don't have nightmares, do sleep well" has been referenced and spoofed in numerous TV shows and stand-up comedy routines. Left the show after 23 years
Sue Cook1984–1995British broadcaster and author, left the show to focus on other work
Jill Dando1995–1999Her murder was reconstructed and shown on Crimewatch, though the appeal did not result in the arrest of Barry George, who was later convicted of the killing but was acquitted on 1 August 2008
Fiona Bruce1999–2007Left the show to host Antiques Roadshow after eight years
Rav Wilding2004–2011A former policeman, who specializes on the criminals 'Caught on Camera' section. His departure was announced by Kirsty Young in the Crimewatch Update in December 2011. Left the show after seven years
Kirsty Young2008–presentFormer newsreader for Channel Five and ITV now main anchor of Crimewatch and presenter of Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4
Matthew Amroliwala2008–presentNewsreader who presents the "How they were caught" section and presents updates on previous cases covered by Crimewatch
Martin Bayfield2012–presentFormer rugby player and now sports commentator, he succedeed Rav Wilding as presenter on the criminals 'Caught on Camera' section.
Sophie Raworth2012Stood in for Kirsty Young in March 2012.
Sian Williams2012Stood in for Kirsty Young in July 2012.

Featured cases[edit]

Victims[edit]

Suspects and criminal offenders[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BBC evicts top shows from London BBC News, 15 October 2008
  2. ^ Jewkes, Yvonne (2004) Media and crime, SAGE, p. 153
  3. ^ a b Schlesinger, Philip; Tumber, Howard (1994) "Fighting the war against crime: Television, police and audience." The British Journal of Criminology. 33:19-32
  4. ^ a b c Newburn, Tim (2007) Criminology, Willan Publishing, p. 105
  5. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006ppmq/episodes/guide
  6. ^ a b Leishman, Frank; Mason, Paul (2003) Policing and the media: facts, fictions and factions, Willan Publishing, p. 114
  7. ^ Rav Wilding to be joined by Ginny Buckley for Crimewatch Roadshow on BBC One Daytime BBC Press Office, 30 April 2010
  8. ^ Palmer, Gareth (2003) Discipline and liberty: television and governance, Manchester University Press ND, p. 80–81
  9. ^ "John Sears". Academia.edu. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  10. ^ "Academic Staff". Faculty of Humanities, Law and Social Sciences - English and Creative Writing Department. Manchester Metropolitan University. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  11. ^ Bignell, Jonathan (2004) An introduction to television studies, Routledge, p. 197
  12. ^ "Man remanded in 1983 death case". BBC News. 9 April 2009. Retrieved 11 April 2009. 
  13. ^ Hough, Andrew (18 August 2011). "London riots: CCTV shows thugs blasting man defending shop with fire extinguisher". The Telegraph (London: Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  14. ^ "Police release shocking fire extinguisher attack footage from Battersea riots". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). 19 August 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  15. ^ "TnT Crime Watch". Retrieved 4 June 2011. 

External links[edit]