Donal MacIntyre is likely to be a ubiquitous presence on TV screens this summer, with his latest series of MacIntyre Investigates on BBC and the broadcast of his first offerings for Channel 5, writes Martin McNamara.
The freelance undercover journalist has signed up with Channel 5 for the station’s first foray into serious investigative journalism.
Chris Shaw, senior controller of news and current affairs, said it was important for the channel to have an established name to push its radical move. “People wouldn’t buy into serious investigative journalism on Channel 5 unless we had an authoritative figurehead,” he said. “This is big step up in our commitment to current affairs journalism.”
Channel 5’s previous current affairs output has been largely confined to crime as well as personality-based specials on the troubled lives of Paula Yates and Michael Barrymore.
As well as going undercover himself, MacIntyre will work closely with independent TV news producers around the UK and will front their investigations.
He is already working with Steve Boulton Productions in Manchester on an investigation likely to be screened in the summer.
Shaw said the station attracted MacIntyre by promising to back him to the hilt in his work.
“One of the reasons he is coming on board is that he thinks he will be looked after,” said Shaw. “In some ways, financial back-up is the least difficult part of it. It is the legal department and the journalistic support that will help him.”