Days That Shock The BBC


As the public service broadcaster celebrates its centenary – expect to grow weary of hearing about it over the coming months – this three-parter found Dimbleby providing a personal analysis of major kerfuffles over the past half-century. As virtually a BBC lifer who chaired Question Time for 25 years but is now an independent documentarian, who better than The Dimblebot to cannibalise the Corporation’s history for juicy scandals? He proved admirably even-handed, although this was a programme of two halves.

This was a fascinating exercise in self-flagellation. Enjoy it while it lasts, BBC bigwigs. Next time, Dimbleby turns his attention to the Jimmy Savile abomination.

Michael Hogan, The Telegraph

David DImbleby - Days that shook the BBC

“Incisive and absorbing”

“I’m not here to speak for the BBC – my conclusions are my own,” declared David Dimbleby at the start of his absorbing new series Days That Shook the BBC, about the controversies that have beset the public broadcaster over recent decades. To which seasoned critics of the BBC might reply: “Yeah, sure, but Dimbleby is so much a part of the BBC furniture that he wouldn’t recognise impartiality if it socked him in the jaw.”

Personally, I’m quite partial to Dimbleby, especially for his incisive but good-humoured moderation of Question Time over 25 years. It was mostly incision he brought to bear on the contributors here. These included Emily Maitlis, whose recent speech to the Edinburgh TV Festival gave the series a powerful jolt of topicality.

Days That Shook the BBC is Dimbleby at his best, his unwillingness to let a stray remark go unchallenged and ability to get to the heart of the matter undiminished in his 84th year. And as he did so successfully on Question Time, he shed light on a vexed topic by removing much of the heat.

Gerald Gilbert, Inews

Emily Maitlis - Days that shook the BBC

“Rich and Rewarding”

Filled with fascinating archive footage, and hearing from some key figures in politics and broadcasting over the years, this is a rich and rewarding dive into the history of the BBC. But, more than that, it is a reminder of the value of the BBC, and the importance of Public Sector Broadcasting. It is testimony to the Corporation’s scrupulously fair and neutral approach that it would allow a programme that is often critical of the BBC to air unencumbered. And it is worth remembering the role the BBC has played in speaking truth to power, often to its own detriment. To my eyes at least, the BBC is as relevant and important now, in an age of mistruths and misinformation, as it’s ever been.

At the age of 83, Dimbleby is as sharp and enquiring as ever. In this new three-part documentary series, he takes a look back at the history of the BBC, and at the Corporation’s role in key moments of political and cultural change, its conflicts with the establishment, public controversies, and how it continues to engage with the British people.

Benjie Goodhart, Saga Magazine

David Dimbleby - Days that shook the BBC

“The Best Hour of the Week”

Typical for the BBC to celebrate its centenary by broadcasting a programme looking back at some of their most notable failures. It almost makes you proud to be British.

In this three part BBC series, David Dimbleby looks at whether the public service broadcaster has truly learnt from its past mistakes. The appeal of the documentary is how it explores some rather big issues, such as whether the BBC reports on the Royal Family with adequate scrutiny, with countless clips from the BBC’s rich archive. It has the same level of constant archive material as Blair & Brown: The New Labour Revolution. If you liked that you’ll love this.

And you’ll learn that issues that some of the issues the BBC are currently facing, such as issues surrounding due impartiality are hardly new issues too.

Scott Bryan Worth Watching