Panorama, BBC1

by | Jan 15, 2007 | All, Reviews

Did we like it?

Hello, I’m Jeremy Vine standing outside in the freezing cold with a scarf round my neck. Here’s today’s review: it was very polished but lacked real journalistic bite. Thanks for reading that review. I’m Jeremy Vine and I’m going to get back inside where it’s nice and warm. If you’ve been affected by……

What was good about it?

• The investigation into Mohamed Taranissi and his private IVF clinic was a reasonable subject to begin the new-look current affairs programme – and the undercover probing did manage to uncover unethical and illegal practices.

• The graphics and split-screen shots made it all look very professional and may have encouraged viewers who don’t care a damn about current affairs to stick with it.

• While borrowing from Tonight With Trevor McDonald, it was nowhere near as soft and pointless as ITV’s newsertainment nonsense.

What was bad about it?

• We like Jeremy Vine but the top and tailing (a la Trevor McDonald) of the investigation was so unnecessary.

• Kate Silverton’s report involved too much of her – especially noticeable because sometimes she had no specs on, then she had really flashy specs on. Maybe we were supposed to be playing a specs-or-no-specs drinking game to tie in with her eyewear whims.

• Silverton failed to make Mr Taranissi squirm when she got to put the allegations to him and he nearly emerged as a bit of a victim.

Panorama: Football’s Dirty Secrets, BBC1, Tuesday 19 September 2006

Did we like it?

England’s dreadful showing at the World Cup not turned you off yet? Players hitting the ground like wounded wildebeest when someone comes within two feet of them not raised your ire? (C)Ashley Cole bleating about Arsenal’s ‘disrespect’ in only offering him £55k a week rather than £60k not caused you to shake your head in disbelief? Then this programme could be the straw that broke the camels back, as the partiality of agents and managers for a ‘bung’ were laid bare by an undercover reporter.

The Beautiful Game has a ‘Dorian Gray’ type picture in the attic and it’s slowly being revealed – much to the fans’ disgust…

What was good about it?

• Knut auf dem Berge (the undercover investigator-cum-anagram). The football coach who’d had enough of corruption permeating football volunteered to be fitted with a hidden camera to get the evidence. Apart from showing some rare scruples, he also exhibited balls of steel as the hefty colleague of one of the agents mock frisked him and yet managed to miss the camera.

• The Ocean’s 11 style sting which involved creating a fictional Mr Big who wanted to set-up a new agency which would be built on ‘bung’ deals, and then relying on the targets greed to suck them in, worked a treat. (Although everyone implicated now claims they were only pretending)

• A labyrinthine ‘plot’ and cast of protagonists was clearly and concisely explained, with a former FA investigator on hand to point out where the various breaches of footballing code were occurring.

• The films showed the sheer avarice of some of the agents and managers involved in British football. Clearly the vast sums they are already earning just aren’t enough! Mike Jewell – the Luton manager who’d made the media aware of how endemic ‘bungs’ were – hit the nail right on the head when he said it was the average fan who was paying for these kickbacks.

• You could imagine the scene at the next Allardyce family party. Bolton manager dad Sam is unlikely to share a scotch and a cigar with blabbermouth, blubberbelly son Craig.

• We’re pleased that Chelsea were shown to have broken the law against tapping up again – and just hope the FA level more than the three-point penalty hanging over the shameless heads of the Stamford Bridge moneybags

What was bad about it?

• Despite the hype before and during the programme, it wasn’t overwhelming success. It’s like when you turn up for an FA Cup third-round tie against a minnow expecting a comfortable 6-0 win, only to scrape through 1-0, yet still carping about the victory all the way home. As those silhouettes of the wrongdoers lined up at the start of the programme were gradually unveiled, a growing sense of anti-climax overtook the investigation.

• The shock revelation that, until recently, the FA had just one man investigating all breaches of football rules, despite the George Graham affair happening nearly a decade ago, and all the various rumours of ‘bungs’ since.

• The depressing views of ex-agent Steven Noel-Hill that approximately 80% of transfer deals have bungs attached to them, and that 18 past and present Premiership managers are corrupt.

• The arrogance of agents such as Craig Allardyce in admitting to a man he barely knew that he regularly had contact with unlicensed agents.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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