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In the summer of 1980 the BBC’s flagship documentary series Panorama was developing a TV special about British intelligence.  This was the first film of its kind, and perhaps unsurprisingly Thatcher’s government was not happy about it.  Downing Street put pressure on the film-makers via BBC Director-General Ian Threthowan, and an MI5 lawyer previewed the film and provided detailed feedback on what to remove.

The full story contained within this Top Secret file from the Office of the Prime Minister is the subject of this weekend’s ClandesTime (episode 103) so I’m not going to write a proper article about it but needless to say it is a tale of censorship and a cover-up at the highest levels of government.


PREM 19/587 – Proposed Panorama programme on British Intelligence