ITV1’s Tonight with Trevor McDonald is gearing up for new emphasis on investigative journalism following the recruitment of two specialists.
Lee Sorrell, former head of investigations at London Weekend Television has been appointed head of investigations and Julia Berg, a former producer on ITV’s World in Action, as an investigative producer based in Manchester.
Tonight editor James Goldston said he regarded investigations as fundamental to the work of any good current affairs show and the “final piece in the jigsaw” for the series, which will broadcast 92 episodes this year.
“We’ve enjoyed great success with the interviews that we’ve done, the ratings on our show are very strong and we’re getting lots of exclusives, but we felt that some of our investigations have lagged behind and we’re determined to make our mark in this area. What we’re after are big, highprofile investigations that are going to cause waves and make headlines and will interest our audience,” he said.
Goldston insisted the move was “not a wholesale change in direction” for the show. “I am delighted that Lee has joined the series. He is very experienced and good at what he does. His appointment underlines our commitment to producing innovative and revelatory current affairs programmes,” he said.
Sorrell replaces David Worms, now a senior producer on the programme.
At LWT, Sorrell was responsible for producing and developing current affairs programmes for broadcasters such as Channel 4 – in particular, a Dispatches exposÃ© on the trafficking of Thai women and children for the sex trade in Scotland in 1999 – and ITV’s Rogue Traders. He also carried out undercover investigations into the arms trade.
Sorrell joined LWT in 1993 as a researcher on The London Programme.
Prior to his television career, he worked as a freelance newspaper journalist.
Berg was on World in Action for six years – three of those as an assistant producer. She worked on investigations into the Russian Mafia, multinational pharmaceutical companies, and members of a UK charity who abducted children.
Berg was also a producer for BBC current affairs and entertainment features, a producer for Dispatches and on ITV’s Garages from Hell, as well as director on ITV’s Savage Planet.
By Wale Azeez