Sunday 28 July 2019

After 'Nick' got nicked

Today's Mail on Sunday has a fascinating piece by Alistair Jackson, the BBC man behind that 2015 edition of Panorama which blew the lid on 'Nick' (Carl Beech) and his lurid lies about a VIP paedophile ring.

It paints a particularly damning portrait of the police. 

I'm proud that we backed Panorama over this at the time, strongly agreeing with Stephen Pollard  that it was "surely one of the most important programmes the BBC has ever broadcast":


It's complicated

The odd thing was that Panorama found itself under not-so-friendly fire from its BBC colleagues at Newsnight

Looking back, Newsnight surely has some questions to answer about this now. 

Here's part of what I wrote at the time:
I'm groping in the dark a bit with Wednesday's Newsnight. It all seemed a bit odd.
Instead of leading with David Cameron's big speech at the Tory Party conference it led with the previous night's Panorama...
...which might seem somewhat incestuous ("BBC shall speak peace unto BBC"), except that Newsnight's Nick Hopkins's report seemed to be more a case of sibling rivalry than incest (thank goodness!).
Nick Hopkins himself has pursued angles on the self-same story that Panorama was trying hard to discredit, so it's probably not much of a puzzle as to why he would want to cast such a quizzical eye over Panorama's latest edition.
Then came a strange interview with Mark Watts, the head of Exaro News - the media organisation that Panorama aired so many doubts out.
Evan Davis gave him a bit of a grilling but never seemed to go for the jugular. I thought that Mr Watts came rather well out of it.
The one thing I now about Exaro News, however, is that Newsnight has worked with them on several occasions in the past.
Was that why Exaro's chief was given such a prominent platform to defend his organisation at the start of this edition of Newsnight?
If it was, that puts the issue of 'incestuous behaviour' by Newsnight firmly back on the agenda.
...what with Wednesday night's Newsnight (a) sounding a rather dissenting note about the previous night's Panorama (given the Newsnight reporter fronting this piece's own role in reporting much the same kind of thing as Exaro) and (b) giving the Exaro boss a long 'right to reply' against Panorama.
I also heard an interview on Today the day after that Panorama report with the chief constable of Norfolk slamming the BBC for broadcasting that edition of Panorama.
And then came this week's Newswatch (with Samira Ahmed) which reported the complaints of what sounded like quite a lot of BBC viewers (even if 'quite a lot' in these circumstances means a few dozens, or - at best - a few hundreds out of 64 million people). 
All of them savaged the BBC for betraying the victims and prejudicing police investigations. 
And with no one from the BBC being willing to be interviewed about it (including Panorama editor Ceri Thomas), Samira ended up interviewing the chief constable of Norfolk again, who (again) slammed the BBC for broadcasting that edition of Panorama.
So Panorama really was up against it at the time, from the police, viewers and their own BBC colleagues. 


Incidentally, that once-ubiquitous chief constable of Norfolk, Simon Bailey, is still in place. Checking TV Eyes, it looks as if he hasn't been all over the BBC since the conviction of Carl Beech offering up an apology to Panorama for shooting the messenger four years ago. 


By the way, it was actually the BBC that first put 'Nick' on air whilst breaking the news about Operation Midland getting under way. You can see most of that report in a conspiracy theory YouTube video from 2012, and it makes for fascinating viewing.

Listen out in particular for the way BBC reporter, Tom Symonds, gives credence to Carl Beech's claims in his language - some of which I'll quote here:
London in the late 70s and early 80s. a time and place receding into history. But the darkest stories of the past are returning to haunt modern Britain, and this is one of them: an account of boys picked up by chauffeur-driven cars and taken to meet their abusers.  
Nick, not his real name, has overcome decades of fear to give his testimony. 
He remembers the abusers would send their employees to bring him. 
'Nick', of course, 'remembered' no such thing. He was making it up.


  1. I seem to remember reading lurid tales either in the Mail or Mail on Sunday about Greville Janner, among others.

  2. The BBC has been giving airtime to another "Nick" who has been concocting lurid tales about a ring of abusers going under the name of "Brexit". The fantasist alleges the ring is led by an American billionaire, known as "The President", who plans to have his evil way with a naive and ignorant nation of 65 million, after tempting them into his "Free Trade Deal". He claims outlandishly that once under his power the people of the UK will be forced to indulge in unnatural practices like eating chlorinated chicken while drinking cheap American wine and paying for private health insurance.

    Why does the BBC give over swathes of their broadcasting to these fantasists?

    1. +1
      but plenty of the public realise poor Nick2 & his ilk live in a bubble of delusion.


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