First edition of Panorama
The 11th of November 1953 AD
For more than 50 years Panorama has been the flagship of BBC Current Affairs, albeit a flagship occasionally steered into quiet backwaters by certain executives who think more than an hour of serious TV could kill audience numbers (and audiences).
The programme had a less than auspicious start: a tape was played backwards, taking the hoped for gloss off the debut on Wednesday November 11 1953.
Over the decades Panorama has put out many memorable episodes. To the dismay of some it broadcast the famous spaghetti trees April 1st hoax in 1957, Richard Dimbleby its most famous presenter keeping a straight face throughout. In the British media way his son David went on to present the programme two decades later; other anchors for it over the years include David Vine, Robin Day , and Robert Kee.
The programme’s revelations about Scientology scored large audiences, but the greatest to date was for the (in)famous interview of Princess Diana by Martin Bashir put out on November 20 1995 when she made the famous claim: “There were three of us in this marriage,” referring to Prince Charles ’s relationship with the then Camilla Parker-Bowles , when nearly 23 million viewers tuned in.
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