Lizzy Dening

The BBC has axed Crimewatch after 33 years

Lizzy Dening
The BBC has axed Crimewatch after 33 years

Will you be sad to see the end of Crimewatch? The programme has been cancelled to make way for other shows, according to the BBC, although it will continue to broadcast its daytime edition Crimewatch Roadshow.

The programme was famed for its format, which involved showing evidence and reconstructions of crimes, in the hope of prompting viewers to get in touch with further evidence or eye witness accounts.

Fiona Bruce's controversial comments

According to recent news reports, 53-year-old presenter and newsreader, Fiona Bruce, wasn’t surprised when she heard the programme was being axed because of the plunge in ratings. This was a result of crimes not being solved. It seems Fiona believes this was the right decision for the show.

“Ultimately, you can’t have a programme like ‘Crimewatch’ if people aren’t watching it.” She said to The Sun newspaper.

She added, “It has to be because you are trying to catch people and if people aren't watching then you are not going to catch very many. I was there for eight years and felt utterly committed to it - and believed in what we were doing. I was very proud of what 'Crimewatch' achieved."              


Original presenter Nick Ross said the show’s format was ‘of its age’ and blamed the change in TV viewing habits, in particular people watching pre-recorded programmes.

He also talked about the fact that when the show launched, in 1984, TV was less interactive, and that Crimewatch – being live and encouraging calls – was groundbreaking.

The first edition was presented by Nick Ross and Sue Cook, and featured the murder of 16-year-old Colette Aram who disappeared in Nottinghamshire in 1983. Over the years it was instrumental in solving some high profile cases including toddler James Bulger. In 1993 they played CCTV footage of two boys leading the child away from a shopping centre. Two witnesses called in to identify them as Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, who were later convicted.

It was also responsible for the conviction of Roy Whiting for the murder of eight-year-old Sarah Payne back in 2000. Crimewatch carried out two appeals and in both instances Whiting was named as a prime suspect. Fibres from a patterned curtain were found on Sarah’s show and a viewer recognised it – she had left it in a van sold to Whiting.

Other featured crimes have included the murders of Rhys Jones and Damilola Taylor and the disappearances of Madeleine McCann and Claudia Lawrence.


Of course famously, one unsolved murder close to the programme’s heart was that of its presenter Jill Dando. She had worked on the programme from 1995, but in 1999 she was shot on the head on her doorstep. It’s still unclear who was responsible.

Crimewatch’s viewing figures had dropped from 5-6 million per episode in 2002 to around 1-2 million recently.

Crimewatch Roadshow, which airs five days a week over four weeks of the year, reaches about 5 million people per week and will be given an increased run of six weeks.

The Police Federation of England and Wales have expressed their disappointment in the decision to end the long-running show.