11 November 1953

Image: Richard Dimbleby in 1961.

The world's longest running current affairs programme was first aired at 8:15pm on 11 November 1953. Panorama was the brainchild of Dennis Bardens and Andrew Miller Jones and originally intended as 'a fortnightly reflection of the contemporary scene'. Yet despite an audience of almost half of the adult viewing public, the first show was very nearly the last, following a number of technical hitches and a shaky performance by host Patrick Murphy.

The programme was taken off air for a month, and when the second edition was broadcast it was presented by Max Robertson. Despite this uncertain start, Panorama gained new ground and in 1955 it was revamped as a 'window on the world', extending its running time to an hour and recasting Richard Dimbleby as the front man. It became responsible for a number of television firsts, including broadcasting the birth of a baby in 1957 and interviewing a member of the royal family, the Duke of Edinburgh in 1961.

Richard Dimbleby presents Panorama in 1964.

From frontline reporting such as the 1970 interview with King Hussein of Jordan as civil war broke out, to the humour of the 1957 April Fool's Day spaghetti crop film, Panorama has been the face of BBC current affairs for sixty years. The BAFTA and Emmy winning programme continues to break new ground and new stories.

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