'Panorama' staff told show may yet go out

(First Edition)

STAFF OF the BBC's Panorama were told yesterday that the controversial investigation into Westminster City Council may be screened this week after all, according to a source on the programme, writes Michael Leapman.

He quoted Tim Gardam, head of weekly programmes at BBC TV, as telling a staff meeting that he would 'bust a gut' to get the programme screened tomorrow Thursdayin the slot usually held by Question Time.

The programme, which follows up an earlier probe into the council's sales of its sale of the council's housing stock, was to have been shown on Monday but was held back because of what the BBC said was a serious legal problem. A spokesman for the News and Current Affairs department said yesterday that the problem still had not been resolved and it was 'premature' to talk about a Thursday of a screening. 'It is unlikely we would want to put it out in a non-Panorama slot,' he added. Because next Monday is a bank holiday there is There is no Panorama on the BBC1 schedule for this bank holiday Monday, and


The next regular Panorama slot available would be after next week's local council elections. Some staff members staffers are convinced believe that the programme was held back by Tony Hall, Director of News and Current Affairs, because of its possible influence on the Westminster poll. Conservative Party's bid to keep control of Westminster Council. The BBC denies this.