Crimewatch has been axed after 33 years on TV – a move which is expected to anger police forces.
The BBC announced that it has cancelled its crime-solving programme to make way for ‘new innovative programmes’, but it will still broadcast its daytime spin-off show Crimewatch Roadshow.
‘We believe the successful Crimewatch Roadshow format in daytime is the best fit for the brand going forward and we will increase the number of episodes to make two series a year,’ a BBC spokesperson said.
‘We are incredibly proud of Crimewatch and the great work it has done over the years and the work Crimewatch Roadshow will continue to do, and this move will also allow us to create room for new innovative programmes in peak time on BBC One.’
Falling ratings are thought to be the real reason behind the axing, with Crimewatch losing out to ITV rivals Cold Feet and Broadchurch which aired at the same time.
The controversial decision will reportedly spark fury among police forces who have used the show, and its crime reconstructions, to solve many cases.
‘Everyone is really shocked,’ a source told The Sun. ‘The police are going to be furious. It is a massive public service programme’.
The show, which reconstructs unsolved crimes in an attempt to gather information from the public, was relaunched in September 2016 and was most recently presented by Jeremy Vine and Tina Daheley.
Over 4,000 cases featured on the programme, including hundreds of high profile murders.
The show is credited with helping to identify the killers of toddler James Bulger, and helping catch the murderer of mother and daughter Lin and Megan Russell who were killed as they walked home from school in a Kent village.
In 1993 viewers helped identify Jon Venables and Robert Thompson after the programme showed CCTV footage of them with Bulger at a shopping centre in Bootle. They were later convicted over his abduction and murder.
Similarly in 1997, an appeal on the killing of Lin and Megan Russell helped to catch murderer Michael Stone.
An appeal on Crimewatch was also a factor in the wrongful conviction of Barry George for the murder of the programme’s former presenter Jill Dando.
Calls made to the programme in 1999 led police on a new line of inquiry that resulted in George’s arrest. He was eventually acquitted in 2008.
Other crimes to have featured on the show over the past 33 years have included the murders of Rhys Jones and Damilola Taylor, as well as the disappearances of Madeleine McCann, Suzy Lamplugh and Claudia Lawrence.