The Daily Telegraph
DAYS THAT SHOOK THE BBC WITH DAVID DIMBLEBY
BBC Two, 9pm; Wales, 11.15pm
This series presented by BBC figurehead David Dimbleby reminds us how much we miss his incisive reporting and sardonic twinkle as the man in charge at times of national crisis. Alas, time moves on, and in this series we find Dimbleby in more reflective mode, sitting in his study and analysing the missteps that the Corporation has made and their bad impact on its reputation. Tonight’s events are humdingers: first, the 2003 row between the government and BBC over whether the former had “sexed up” the dossier that claimed Iraq harboured the notorious weapons of mass destruction, all of which culminated in the Hutton Inquiry. Interviews with Alastair Campbell, Greg Dyke and reporter Andrew Gilligan are lively and get to the heart of the matter. The second is the dreadful affair of Jimmy Savile, in which the BBC stood accused of allowing the paedophile to operate unimpeded, almost in the open for decades.
The show is a compelling look at how the BBC’S bureaucracy and innate defensiveness have led to serious errors of judgement. Dimbleby’s argument is that the BBC’S sole raison d’être is to be the nation’s trusted broadcaster, and when the Corporation gets it wrong, it must step up and admit so far more quickly than it has in the past.