Leader comment: Farewell Crimewatch

Crimewatch presenters Jill Dando and Nick Ross.
Crimewatch presenters Jill Dando and Nick Ross.
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The demise of BBC programme Crimewatch is a timely reminder of the shifting sands of how television is watched and perceived these days.

A groundbreaking show, first launched 33 years ago, Crimewatch could lay claim to helping solve a plethora of crimes most notably the murder of James Bulger in 1993 after it aired the grainy CCTV footage of two ten-year-old boys with the toddler at a shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside.

The show was certainly educational and informative in the best principals of the BBC’s Reithian traditions and was entertaining in a macabre fashion as the presenters signed off with a “Don’t have nightmares” warning to the troubled viewers. However, despite being an early forerunner of the digital age using techniques such as crowdsourcing information, Crimewatch has succumbed to the trend for recording shows and the greater control given to the viewers through on-demand services.

So, it will be sorely missed by a generation who thanks to its warnings – always made sure they double checked the locks before going to bed.