Blunkett tried to gag BBC over 'Panorama' docu-drama

The Home Secretary, David Blunkett, intervened to get the BBC to tone down a Panorama programme about a terror attack on London, The Independent on Sunday can reveal. He withdrew his support from the docu-drama, to be broadcast next Sunday, because the corporation refused to bow to his requests.

The Home Secretary, David Blunkett, intervened to get the BBC to tone down a Panorama programme about a terror attack on London, The Independent on Sunday can reveal. He withdrew his support from the docu-drama, to be broadcast next Sunday, because the corporation refused to bow to his requests.

Last night the Home Office branded the programme, which it still hasn't seen, as "irresponsible and alarmist". In response, the BBC said it had a public duty to highlight potential flaws in Britain's ability to deal with a major terrorist atrocity.

The Panorama programme, "London Under Attack", depicts a fictional day of terror in which thousands of people are blown up or poisoned. It is harshly critical of the lack of preparedness of government, police and security services.

The Home Office said in a statement: "Although we have not seen the programme we are disappointed to learn that the BBC appears to have adopted an irresponsible and alarmist approach to what is understandably an emotional and frightening subject."

The BBC said: "Our view is that it would be irresponsible not to explore the subject given that the Government and everyone else in civil defence is warning that an attack is imminent."

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