Mike Beckham describes how WIA was run

It was one of Granada‚Äôs jewels in the crown, as it were. It had the money, it had the backing, and above all it had the talent. There were some fantastic producers on there and some very good editors like Jeremy Wallington and Leslie Woodhead, Gus Macdonald, John Birt. It had the backing and the management, particularly Dennis Forman, would always back us to the hilt. I made several mistakes on the programme and he would always get me out of it. Because it was an important programme, it was an advert for Granada’s guts and radical… and for that reason, we were always supported. I can’t think of any situations where… we were in trouble sometimes with management, but the programme got on the air, and there were bad World In Actions, but also a lot of very good ones. It was a great programme to work on.

The strength of World In Action was the range of programmes which were being touched at the time, which nobody else was touching. Corruption, third world problems, human rights, torture, more corruption. We weren’t just going around interviewing politicians, we were getting to the heart of it. And recently I saw some World In Actions and I thought, these are pretty good, did I actually make this? And what I’ve now realised that what it was all about was that there was no presenter between the subject and the audience, and that makes a heck of a difference. I don’t particularly like presenters. Certainly in current affairs I didn’t quite know what they’d do. We were making authored films, and the strength of the programme was the simple fact that there was no-one there telling the audience what they should hear or believe. They had to look at the facts in the programme, or the images, etc.


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