Daniel Pearl

Commissioning Editor, Channel 5

Reflecting on a career at the very top of TV news and current affairs

2nd April 2020

Daniel Pearl is commissioning editor at Channel 5. He spent ten years at BBC News, where he edited the 2010 prime ministerial election debate, and was deputy editor on Panorama, Newsnight, and the Six & Ten O’Clock News.  In 2012 he joined Channel 4 as editor of Dispatches, winning a clutch of awards including two BAFTAs. Daniel also served as the network’s deputy head of news and current affairs, commissioning the Emmy-winning ‘Leaving Neverland’ revealing renewed allegations of child abuse against Michael Jackson.  In 2018, he moved to ViacomCBS for his current role, where he has created and overseen dozens of wholly new factual series, and notably brought Jeremy Vine into their morning schedule. In this in-depth interview, he traces his career through the shifting sands of current affairs coverage over the past twenty years; takes us behind the scenes of some of Dispatches ‘big hits’ including ‘plebgate’ and the Stephen Lawrence undercover policing scandal – which led to a full public inquiry; and shares his strategy to make Channel 5 make itself visible in a crowded news field, with hard-hitting content like ‘Hate Crimes: Uncensored’.

[Editor’s note: this podcast was recorded in London on 5th November 2019, well before the onset of the coronavirus public health crisis]

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