As the BBC wields the axe on Crimewatch, we take a look at the most memorable moments seen on the show. After a 33-year run, Crimewatch will no longer air. The show famously reconstructed high-profile unsolved crimes, before using their television show to gain information and tips from the public. Flailing viewing figures have caused this decision, although the move has caused widespread disappointment. So, in celebration of the show that first graced our screens in 1984, we take a look at some of the better times seen at Crimewatch.
The Overall Record
While the show has been criticised in the past, the figures show the positive impact Crimewatch has had. Over 60 murderers, approximately 50 rapists/sex offenders, and 20 paedophiles among others were apprehended as a result of public appeals on the show. Producers of the show suggested up to a third of cases featured on the show are solved – an impressive return based on the use of armchair detectives.
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Kidnap of Stephanie Slater
In 1992, estate agent Stephanie Slater was kidnapped by a man named Michael Sams. She was released after a ransom was paid. The search for the kidnapper proved fruitless until Crimewatch stepped in. A tape recording of the voice of Sams was played, leading to Sams’ arrest, and subsequent conviction. Sams is still incarcerated to this day.
James Bulger Disappearance
In a crime that repulsed the nation, Crimewatch publicised the disappearance of James Bulger, which ultimately led to the capture of the two juveniles involved. This was due to public appeal – and producers counted this case as one of the biggest successes in Crimewatch history.
Arguably the most high-profile case in the United Kingdom within the last decade, Crimewatch featured the disappearance of Madeleine in a broadcast. The broadcast, which helped bring the public up to date on the case, also facilitated a revamp in interest, and led to many new lines of enquiries. While the case is still cold to this day, hope of a breakthrough remains.
2011 England Riots
After some of the worst riots to have hit the country since the 1980s, a Crimewatch broadcast in 2011 aimed to bring those who committed offences to justice. Extensive use was made of CCTV. Again, many people were caught as a result of the broadcast.
So, Crimewatch is leaving our screens. But as shown here, the show has proven highly successful in capturing criminals. Their appeals have led to several high-profile cases being cracked, all with the help of the public. It was certainly a success, but in an age where TV is highly-competitive, it was unable to go on.