Crimewatch (formerly Crimewatch UK) was a long-running and high-profile British television programme produced by the BBC, that reconstructs major unsolved crimes in order to gain information from the public which may assist in solving the case. The programme was originally broadcast once a month on BBC One, although in more recent years it has more usually been broadcast roughly once every two months. On 17 October 2017, it was announced that the show had been axed after a 33-year run, due to falling viewing figures nationwide. Daytime spin-off Crimewatch Roadshow will continue to air on BBC One.
Crimewatch was first broadcast on 7 June 1984, and is based on the German TV show Aktenzeichen XY … ungelöst (which translates as File Reference XY … Unsolved). Nick Ross and Sue Cook presented the show for the first 11 years, until Cook's departure in June 1995. Cook was replaced by Jill Dando. After Dando was murdered in April 1999, Ross hosted Crimewatch alone until January 2000 when Fiona Bruce subsequently joined the show.
Kirsty Young and Matthew Amroliwala replaced Ross and Bruce following their departures in 2007. It was announced on 15 October 2008 that the BBC would move the production of shows such as Crimewatch to studios in Cardiff. Young and Amroliwala remained as the lead presenters until 2015. Following a brief period with guest presenter Sophie Raworth in 2016, it was announced that the show would relaunch in September 2016 with a new weekly format. The new presenters were announced as Jeremy Vine and Tina Daheley. The new series began on 5 September 2016, with the final episode airing on 20 March 2017.
The idea for the show came from the UK programme Police Five and the German Aktenzeichen XY … ungelöst (File Reference XY … Unsolved). Producers viewed the shows and rejected the overt reconstructions with music to build suspense in America's Most Wanted, and were also against the idea of filming the reconstruction from the perspective of the offender as in Aktenzeichen XY … ungelöst (particularly for sexual assaults). However, they favoured the idea of audience participation in the show. It started as Crimewatch UK and was due to run for three programmes only. It was regarded as an experiment when it was first shown, partly because of doubts about whether police would take part, whether witnesses and victims would welcome the idea, whether it would actually lead to arrests, and whether it could be considered to prejudice a jury. In over 25 years, 57 murderers, 53 rapists and sex offenders, 18 paedophiles, and others were captured as a direct result of Crimewatch appeals.
The programme used to be shown every month on BBC One usually at 9pm, with a Crimewatch Update at 10.35, following the BBC News at Ten. Since March 2011 the show has aired less frequently, roughly once every two months. The show features approximately three or four cases per show, with each case featuring reconstructions of the crime. It is one of the largest live factual studio productions. The films shown often feature interviews with senior detectives and/or relatives or friends. Key evidence is usually shown, such as E-FIT profiles of suspects and details of certain lines of enquiry.
The show has other features, such as the CCTV section, presented approximately 15 minutes from the start and end of the programme by Martin Bayfield. This shows CCTV reports of many different crimes, with enhanced imagery of suspects police are trying to contact. Also presented by Martin Bayfield is the Wanted Faces, eight close-up pictures of suspects police need to talk to. This section also frequently involves information about suspects, including aliases. These eight photos are shown upon the programme's closing titles, one of the few programmes in which the BBC do not 'show the credits in reduced size'.
Viewers can contact Crimewatch by phoning 08085 600 600, with phonelines remaining open until midnight the night following the programme. Viewers can also send text messages to 63399. Due to the high demand for cases to be shown on the programme, many other cases are added to the Crimewatch website. These are joined by reconstructions, CCTV footage and Wanted faces that have been shown on previous programmes. All reconstructions, CCTV footage, faces and cases remain on the Crimewatch website until the criminals are caught or suspects convicted. Crimewatch can be watched on the BBC iPlayer catch-up service for 24 hours from broadcast—longer availability could potentially prejudice forthcoming legal proceedings.
Following the main programme, there was a 10–15 minute follow-up after the BBC News at Ten, with updates on calls and results from the earlier broadcast. This was removed when the show relaunched in September 2016.
From time to time an extra programme Crimewatch: Solved is transmitted, showing cases that resulted in convictions; sometimes a Crimewatch special is produced which reviews an entire high-profile case, such as the murder of Sarah Payne, from beginning to end.
In 1997, Crimewatch did a special programme called Crimewatch Hot Property presented by Jill Dando and broadcast on BBC One. The aim was to help people find their stolen properties that were recovered by police raids.
As of 2009, there has been no monthly show broadcast in June, instead this has been replaced with this accompanying series, which is broadcast for four weeks on weekday mornings from 9.15am – 10.00am. The programme travels to different police forces across the country to help solve everyday crime. To date, seven series of the show have been broadcast. Rav Wilding has been the main presenter of all seven series.
In series one (2009), his co-presenter was newsreader Sophie Raworth. For series two (2010), Raworth was replaced by journalist and radio broadcaster Ginny Buckley. For series three (2011), Buckley was replaced by Irish television presenter Miriam O'Reilly.
In series four (2012), Wilding had three co-presenters working on rotation: journalists Dave Guest, Alice Bandhukvari and Nicola Rees. For series five (2013), Wilding was joined by newsreader Sian Lloyd, who also co-presented the following two series (2014 and 2015) as well. During series five, former Crimewatch presenter Jacqui Hames co-presented the show every Friday with Wilding, updating viewers on the success stories from the past few years.
During series seven (2015), the show once again adopted a rotation format with Lloyd co-presenting the first two weeks, before being replaced by Michelle Ackerley for the third week, and finally Sonali Shah for the final week.
Series eight had 20 episodes and ended on 1 July 2016, Michelle Ackerley was a reporter for this series also.
Series nine of Crimewatch Roadshow started on June 12 2017 on BBC1.
Several police officers have appeared on the programme from the studio, including David Hatcher, Helen Phelps, Jeremy Payne, Jacqui Hames, Jonathan Morrison, Jane Corrigan, and Rav Wilding. For many years the programme also included antiques experts John Bly, Eric Knowles and Paul Hayes to help with 'treasure trove' details of recovered goods believed to have been stolen, to trace owners.
Despite initial police concerns about involvement (only three forces out of more than 40 agreed to participate initially) Crimewatch developed a special status with police and was credited with an expertise of its own, notably through Nick Ross' long experience with public appeals. Unlike the American equivalent based on Crimewatch, America's Most Wanted, Crimewatch itself usually appeals for unsolved cases inviting viewers to be armchair detectives. According to the producers, about a third of its cases are solved, half of those as a direct result of viewers' calls. Its successes have included some of Britain's most notorious crimes, including the kidnap of Stephanie Slater and murder of Julie Dart, the M25 rapist, the road-rage killing by Kenneth Noye, and the capture of two boys for the abduction and murder of James Bulger.
Over the years, Crimewatch has featured appeals from all 43 police forces in the country. 1 in 3 appeals leads to an arrest and 1 in 5 lead to a conviction. 4 or 5 requests to air appeals are received from police forces every day.
Crimewatch is watched by between four and five million every month.
A study by the Broadcasting Standards Council found that Crimewatch UK increased the fear of crime in over half of its respondents, and a third said it made them feel "afraid". However, according to John Sears, senior English lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, it provides a beneficial role, performing "a social function by helping to solve crime, and drawing on the collective responsibilities, experiences and knowledge of the viewing audience in order to do so."
|Rav Wilding||2009–present||Co-presenter of Crimewatch Roadshow every series|
|Sophie Raworth||2009||Co-presenter of Crimewatch Roadshow during June 2009|
|Ginny Buckley||2010||Co-presenter of Crimewatch Roadshow during June 2010|
|Miriam O'Reilly||2011||Co-presenter of Crimewatch Roadshow during June 2011|
|Dave Guest||2012||Co-presenter of Crimewatch Roadshow during June 2012|
|Sian Lloyd||2013–2015||Co-presenter of 2013 and 2014 Crimewatch Roadshow, as well as the first two weeks of the Crimewatch Roadshow in June 2015.|
|Michelle Ackerley||2015–present||Co-presenter of Crimewatch Roadshow since June 2015.|
|Sonali Shah||2015||Co-presenter during final week of Crimewatch Roadshow in June 2015.|
|1||"Episode 1"||Kirsty Young • Matthew Amroliwala • Rav Wilding||27 January 2010|
|Features: An arsonist who killed a girl and her grandmother • The murder of a 50 year old man in Lincolnshire • A lookback at how the team solved the very first ever case featured on the programme.|
|2||"Episode 2"||Kirsty Young • Matthew Amroliwala • Rav Wilding||25 February 2010|
|Features: The latest on the disappearance of Claudia Lawrence • A look at how police solved the case of a murdered man whose body parts were scattered across the country • The search for the kidnappers who stabbed a shopkeeper.|
|3||"Episode 3"||Kirsty Young • Matthew Amroliwala • Rav Wilding||29 March 2010|
|Features: A rapist who attacked his schoolgirl victim as she left school • An international manhunt for the killer of two young women • How police finally arrested a millionaire playboy who thought he'd gotten away with a crime for more than a decade.|
|4||"Episode 4"||Kirsty Young • Matthew Amroliwala • Rav Wilding||28 April 2010|
|Features: How the police caught a woman nicknamed the Black Widow • The search for the robbers who subjected a Cumbrian mother and her child to a brutal ordeal • A sixteen year old murder case that took place in Holyhead.|
|5||"Episode 5"||Kirsty Young • Matthew Amroliwala • Rav Wilding||15 June 2010|
|Features: The hunt for the killer of a pensioner in South Gloucestershire • The investigation into con men getting people to hand over thousands of pounds online • The search for armed robbers who escaped with a horse trainer's money.|
|6||"Episode 6"||Kirsty Young • Matthew Amroliwala • Rav Wilding||5 July 2010|
|Features: The search for a murderer who killed a careworker in North Wales • An appeal for information on a bank robbery committed in Bradford • An update on serial killer Peter Tobin's trial.|
|7||"Crimewatch: Solved"||Kirsty Young • Matthew Amroliwala • Rav Wilding||8 September 2010|
|Features: This episode includes updates on; the murder of Francesca Bimpson in an arson attack at her home in Liverpool • A rapist terrorising young women in Exeter • An armed robbery committed in Rayleigh.|
|1||"Episode 1"||Sophie Raworth • Martin Bayfield • Jason Mohammad||8 February 2016|
|Featured cases: The unsolved murder of David Brickwood in Abington, Northampton • The shooting and subsequent murder of Marvin Couson in Shoreditch, London in May 2002 • Unidentified remains of a busker found in a back garden in Galway, Ireland • The story of the Hatton Garden safe deposit burglary and the search for the unidentified perpetrator only known as 'Basil'.|
|2||"Episode 2"||Sophie Raworth • Martin Bayfield • Jason Mohammad||10 March 2016|
|Featured cases: The unsolved murder of John Palmer in Essex on 24 June 2015 • The rape of a woman in Derby on 7 September 2015 • A series of attacks on women in Lewisham in December 2015 and January 2016 • The search for rioters after a large scale disturbance in London on 31 October 2015.|
|1||"Roadshow: Episode 1"||Rav Wilding • Michelle Ackerley||6 June 2016|
|Featured cases: A violent house robbery in Feltham • The twelve-year investigation into the Wimbledon Prolwer, Britain's most prolific cat-burglar • A brutal Boxing Day attack in Farnham in December 2015 • The ongoing attempts to stop online romance fraudsters.|
|2||"Roadshow: Episode 2"||Rav Wilding • Michelle Ackerley||7 June 2016|
|Featured cases: The mugging and assault of a vulnerable man in Thurrock • An attempted house burglary by a gang in Borehamwood • An armed robbery involving the stabbing of an employee at a supermarket in Penge • The murder and disappearance of a husband and wife from their home in Weybread.|
|3||"Roadshow: Episode 3"||Rav Wilding • Michelle Ackerley||8 June 2016|
|Featured cases: The unsolved murder of Melanie Hall in Bath in 1996 • The brutal assault of a young girl in Chatham • The theft of valuable birds from an avery in Sittingbourne.|
|4||"Roadshow: Episode 4"||Rav Wilding • Michelle Ackerley||9 June 2016|
|Featured cases: A distraction robbery involving a vulnerable pensioner Hitchin • A violent street robbery of a disabled pensioner in Folkestone • An aggravated burglary in Stevenage in which the occupiers were tied up and threatened with a shotgun • The theft of donations from a museum in Brentford.|
|5||"Roadshow: Episode 5"||Rav Wilding • Michelle Ackerley||10 June 2016|
|Featured cases: A hit a run in Hackney on Christmas Day 2015 which left the victim brain damaged • The investigation into a pair of thieves using mopeds to commit assaults in North London • A serial attacker who has been responsible for a number of sexual assaults on young women in Blackheath.|
|6||"Roadshow: Episode 6"||Rav Wilding • Michelle Ackerley||13 June 2016|
|Featured cases: An armed robbery at the home of a former landlady in Warrington • The unsolved murder of a victim found buried in woodland in North Wales • The unsolved murder of Liam Hill in Rhyl • The theft of a Marines veteran's souvenir watch during an assault in Failsworth.|
|7||"Roadshow: Episode 7"||Rav Wilding • Michelle Ackerley||14 June 2016|
|Featured cases: A brutal assault on a man and his pregnant wife in their home in Rochdale • The assault and robbery of a young woman in Nantwich • The theft of a number of rare breed tortoises from a home in Northwich • A crossbow attack on a wild goose in Chester.|
|8||"Roadshow: Episode 8"||Rav Wilding • Michelle Ackerley||15 June 2016|
|Featured cases: An armed robbery at a family run post office in Eccleston • The unsolved murder of a self-employed mechanic and handyman at his home in Inverness • A distraction burglary on the home of a vulnerable pensioner in Huyton • The assault and robbery of former Liverpool F.C. chairman David Moores at his home in Liverpool.|
|9||"Roadshow: Episode 9"||Rav Wilding • Michelle Ackerley||16 June 2016|
|Featured cases: The unsolved murder of a twenty-year old student who was gunned down in a takeaway in Stretford in 2008 • A trio of distraction thieves targeting pensioners across the South East • The sexual assault and robbery of a young girl in Salford • The brutal assault on a nineteen-year-old man out celebrating his birthday in Preston.|
|10||"Roadshow: Episode 10"||Rav Wilding • Michelle Ackerley||17 June 2016|
|Featured cases: The assault of a visually impaired man in his home in Hulme • An attack on a disabled woman with learning difficulties in Wigan • The theft and murder of a family dog in Romiley • The assault of a young man outside the Tiger Tiger nightclub in Manchester • The search for a gang of distraction burglars in Suffolk.|
|11||"Roadshow: Episode 11"||Rav Wilding • Michelle Ackerley||20 June 2016|
|Featured cases: The brutal murder of an 80-year-old man in own home in Rotherham • A distraction burglary in Leeds • A series of related house burglaries in Derbyshire • The theft of firefighting and rescue equipment from a fire station in Meltham • A arson attack which resulted in the death of over 200 pigeons in Barnsley.|
|12||"Roadshow: Episode 12"||Rav Wilding • Michelle Ackerley||21 June 2016|
|Featured cases: The theft of £140,000 worth of parts for the Porsche Carrera GT from a garage in Leeds • The disappearance of an 86-year-old man from his home near Bluewater • The theft of a prize Star Wars collection from its owner in Doncaster • An assault on a pensioner in Dewsbury, in which his hand was severed with a meat cleaver.|
|13||"Roadshow: Episode 13"||Rav Wilding • Michelle Ackerley||22 June 2016|
|Featured cases: The attack and rape of a young woman in Leeds city centre • The assault and murder of a man in his own home in Doncaster • The theft of jewellery from a vulnerable pensioner in Batley • An armed raid on a Toby Carvery restaurant in Rotherham on Mother's day • A hit and run involving a young female victim in Dagenham.|
|14||"Roadshow: Episode 14"||Rav Wilding • Michelle Ackerley||23 June 2016|
|Featured cases: An armed robbery at a family home in Askham Richard in which a two-year-old was threatened with a shotgun • The search for rioters involved with violence at the Euro 2016 championships in France • The attempted kidnapping of a teenager in Hull • The theft of bank cards in a 'shoulder surfing' robbery in York.|
|15||"Roadshow: Episode 15"||Rav Wilding • Michelle Ackerley||24 June 2016|
|Featured cases: The theft from and assault of a disabled student in Newcastle • The theft of specially adapted bikes for disabled riders in Sunderland • The search for poachers illegally trespassing on protected land in Gateshead • A team of rogue traders operating a fake drive repair business targeting pensioners in Sunderland.|
|16||"Roadshow: Episode 16"||Rav Wilding • Michelle Ackerley||27 June 2016|
|Featured cases: An armed robbery at a country pub in Derbyshire during the Easter bank holiday • A life changing assault on a young man on the doorstep of his home in Bolton • An armed robbery at a KFC branch in Alfreton • A burglar who targeted the home of a 94-year-old woman whilst she was sleeping in Sutton Bonnington.|
|17||"Roadshow: Episode 17"||Rav Wilding • Michelle Ackerley||28 June 2016|
|Featured cases: The brutal assault of a man and his son who tried to stop a burglary in Blyth • A homophobic attack in a shopping centre in Birmingham • The search for a gang of distraction burglars in the West Midlands • The assault of young man in Birmingham city centre • The search for a missing 18-year-old man from Rhyl.|
|18||"Roadshow: Episode 18"||Rav Wilding • Michelle Ackerley||29 June 2016|
|Featured cases: A series of linked sex attacks on young female students in Birmingham • A violent house burglary in Oldbury in which a 14-year-old girl was threatened • The assault of and theft from a diamond dealer in Birmingham • The murder of a young woman in Edinburgh • A hit and run involving a motorbike courier in Northfield.|
|19||"Roadshow: Episode 19"||Rav Wilding • Michelle Ackerley||30 June 2016|
|Featured cases: An armed robbery at the home of Oasis tribute singer Ian Alcock in Talke • The murder of a young father on Father's day in Hereford • A distraction robbery involving a vulnerable pensioner in Wells • The disappearance of a house husband twenty-four years ago from Bitterne • A burglary at a pet shop in Gwent.|
|20||"Roadshow: Episode 20"||Rav Wilding • Michelle Ackerley||1 July 2016|
|Featured cases: An arson attack on a recently renovated grand home in Gilwern • A series of sex attacks on young woman in Hereford • An unsolved shooting of a young man in Chingford • An assault on a pensioner on the way back from posting a letter in Newport • The crackdown on illegal cigarette vendors operating in Derby.|