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Original language(s)

No. of episodes
(list of episodes)


Also known as
'Crimewatch UK'

Country of origin
United Kingdom

No. of series

Crimewatch wwwgstaticcomtvthumbtvbanners360664p360664

National Television Award for Most Popular Factual Entertainment Programme


Crimewatch 2016 episode 4 part 1

Crimewatch (formerly Crimewatch UK) is 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. It was announced on 15 October 2008 that the BBC would move the production of shows such as Crimewatch to studios in Cardiff.


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. 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.

Crimewatch 2016 episode 8 part 1


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.

Show format

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.

Crimewatch Update

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.

Crimewatch Solved

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.

Crimewatch Hot Property

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.

Crimewatch Roadshow

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.


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.

Ratings and public response

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."

Main show

  • Nick Ross (1984–2007) — The main anchor and longest-serving presenter of the series since its inception. His catchphrase, "Don't have nightmares, do sleep well", which closed out each episode, became a household phrase and was often spoofed in numerous other TV shows. Ross left the programme in 2007 to concentrate on other broadcasting projects. During his time on the show, he had three co-presenters: Sue Cook, Jill Dando and Fiona Bruce. From May 1999 until January 2000, Ross presented the show alone following the murder of Jill Dando.
  • Sue Cook (1984–1995) — British broadcaster and author, and first co-presenter of the series. Cook, unlike her successors, acted more as a second main anchor, sometimes presented a larger segment of the programme than Ross. Cook left the series in 1995 to focus on other broadcasting projects.
  • Chief Supt. David Hatcher (1984–1999) — Co-presenter of the 'Photocall' section since the programme's inception, who at the time of his appointment, was a Chief Inspector. The first and longest-serving police officer to feature on the programme, Hatcher retired from both the force and the programme in October 1999, having reached the rank of Chief Superintendent. During his time on the show, he had two co-presents: PC Helen Phelps and DS Jacqui Hames.
  • PC Helen Phelps (1984–1990) — Co-presenter of the 'Photocall' section alongside David Hatcher from the programme's inception until the early 1990s.
  • DS Jacqui Hames (1990–2005) — Co-presenter of the 'Photocall' section alongside David Hatcher from the early 1990s. Remained with the show for 16 years, before quitting in 2005. Co-presented the Friday episode of Crimewatch Roadshow in 2013.
  • Jill Dando (1995–1999) — British broadcaster and newsreader. Second co-presenter of the series, appointed following Sue Cook's departure. Dando was murdered on 26 April 1999, just days before the May edition of Crimewatch was due to air. Her murder was reconstructed on the May 1999 programme, where an appeal for witnesses was made. Calls made by viewers initially draw the police onto a new line of enquiry, in which they identified suspect Barry George, who was later convicted of the killing - but was acquitted in August 2008. No further appeals for information have been made on the programme.
  • Fiona Bruce (2000–2007) — British broadcaster and newsreader. Third co-presenter of the series, appointed in 2000 following the murder of Jill Dando the previous year. Bruce co-hosted with Ross until 2007, but left the show soon after Ross' departure to host Antiques Roadshow.
  • Rav Wilding (2004–2011) — A former policeman who joined the show during its 20th anniversary on air, to host a segment entitled "Caught on Camera" section, which replaced the previously featured "Photocall" section. Wilding departed the main show in December 2011, but continues to present the Crimewatch Roadshow.
  • Kirsty Young (2008–2015) — A former newsreader for Channel Five and ITV who became the main anchor of the show from January 2008, following the departure of Nick Ross. Young departed the series in December 2015 after seven years.
  • Matthew Amroliwala (2008–2015) — British newsreader who became the show's fourth co-presenter, following the departure of Fiona Bruce. Amroliwala hosted both the "How they were caught" and "update" segments. He left the show in March 2015 to focus on his other role of international affairs correspondent for BBC News.
  • Martin Bayfield (2012–2016) — Former rugby player and policeman turned sports commentator, who took over from Rav Wilding in January 2012 as the presenter of the "Caught on Camera" segment. Bayfield was the only remaining full-time presenter on the show when the BBC chose to reboot the format, and did not return.
  • Sonali Shah (2015) — Stand-in presenter who presented four shows in the wake of Amroliwala's departure, before Jason Mohammad was appointed as a main presenter.
  • Sian Williams (2012, 2015) — Stand-in presenter who acted as main anchor in July 2012, May 2015 and October 2015, as Young was either unavailable for filming or was unwell.
  • Jason Mohammad (2015–2016) — British rugby commentator and journalist, who initially took over from Amroliwala for two months on a temporary basis, before returning in October 2015 as a full-time presenter. Mohammad did not return to the show when the format was rebooted in September 2016.
  • Sophie Raworth (2016) — Stand-in presenter who took over as temporary main anchor following Kirsty Young's departure. She presented the first three shows of 2016, before the show was taken off-air and rebooted with Jeremy Vine as main anchor.
  • Jeremy Vine (2016–present) — British newsreader, presenter and journalist who took over as main anchor in September 2016, as part of a new rebooted format, which sees the programme travel up and down the country and broadcast from the scene of one of the main appeals featured in the episode.
  • Tina Daheley (2016–present) — British newsreader and Radio 1 journalist who took over as co-presenter in September 2016, taking over the roles of both Mohammad and Bayfield, presenting the "Caught on Camera", "How they were caught" and "update" segments.
  • Victims

  • The murder of Colette Aram, the first case to be featured on the show
  • The murder of Mark Tildesley
  • The disappearance of Lee Boxell
  • The murder of Sally Anne Bowman
  • The murder of James Bulger
  • The Murder of Jill Dando
  • The murder of Milly Dowler
  • The murder of Daniel Handley
  • The murder of Danielle Jones
  • The murder of Rhys Jones
  • The murder of Sophie Lancaster
  • The murder of Stephen Lawrence
  • The murder of Rachel Nickell
  • The murder of Nisha Patel-Nasri
  • The murder of Sarah Payne
  • The Death of Damilola Taylor
  • The stabbing of Abigail Witchalls
  • The murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman
  • The disappearance of Suzy Lamplugh
  • The disappearance of Claudia Lawrence
  • The New Cross double murder
  • The Joanna Yeates murder
  • The disappearance and murder of Melanie Hall
  • The murder of Elaine Doyle in Greenock
  • The murders of the Sharkey family, whose house was deliberately set on fire in Helensburgh, Scotland.
  • The disappearance of Madeleine McCann
  • Suspects and criminal offenders

  • Sidney Cooke, suspected murderer of Mark Tildesley
  • Antoni Imiela, the M25 rapist
  • David John Callaghan - Slough - attacks girl on her way to school at waste land 1969
  • David John Callaghan - Slough - attacks woman on her way to work via trading estate 1972
  • Fred Lawlor, child abuser and murderer
  • Fiona Mont, formerly Britain's Most Wanted Woman
  • Kenneth Noye, murderer
  • Michael Sams, rapist, kidnapper, extortionist and murderer
  • Joel Smith, murderer
  • Michael Stone, murderer
  • Steve Wright, serial killer in the Ipswich serial murders
  • Peter Tobin, a serial killer who murdered Vicky Hamilton, Dinah McNicol and Angelika Kluk
  • Delroy Grant, 'The night stalker', burglar and serial rapist of elderly women.
  • Bible John, a serial killer who murdered three young women in Glasgow, Scotland in the late 1960s
  • 2011 England riots, a special edition aired on 18 August 2011 was aimed at identifying those who committed offences during that month's riots.
  • References

    Crimewatch Wikipedia

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