In 1982 a fourth national television channel was inaugurated in Britain, among the responsibilities of which were the reflection of perspectives and issues ignored by the other channels and the commissioning of programmes from independent producers rather than in-house production. In 1986, much derided by the then current affairs establishment, David Lloyd took this to ‘the extreme’ by deciding to commission his creation, Dispatches, from a different supplier every week.1 Many hundreds of Dispatches have been transmitted since November 1987 and the variety of stories and treatments is possibly greater than for any other series or strand in the same period. There can be few aspects of British public affairs that have not been touched upon by Dispatches and, in consequence, it has upset many and found itself regularly fielding legal challenges.