Broadcast roughly every month by the BBC since its initial episode on the 7th June 1984, Crimewatch UK remains the countries most high profile public service magazine programme, helping to solve major crimes by staging dramatic reconstructions and broadcasting CCTV footage to gather valuable information from the viewing public at home.
The show is loosely based on a German programme entitled Aktenzeichen XY … ungelöst (translation; File Reference XY...Unsolved) which was also the inspiration and template of the US series America's Most Wanted but, crucially, the BBC declined the dramatic scores that were laid over those programmes reconstructions, as well as filming the reconstructions from the POV of the offender, focusing solely on the public service aspect of audience participation and appealing to the public for information, much like Shaw Taylor's Police 5 though that focused only on minor crimes. Crimewatch UK would tackle serious criminal activity including murders, armed robberies, violent burglaries and physical attacks and sexual assault. It began as an experiment, because the producers were unsure of whether the police, the victims and witnesses would participate and whether or not the show would prejudice a jury, but they did and Crimewatch quickly became an institution that has over the years seen up to 57 murderers, 53 rapists and sex offenders, 18 paedophiles and more being captured as a direct result of the programme.
The show's original presenters were Nick Ross and Sue Cook (pictured above) Ross was famous for signing off each broadcast with the immortal phrase "Don't have nightmares, do sleep well" and presented the show for a total of twenty three years, before being replaced by current presenter Kirsty Young in 2008. Cook left after eleven years in 1995 and was replaced by Jill Dando, the much loved TV presenter who was murdered in 1999 - a crime which tragically remains unsolved despite the programme's efforts at the time.
The bombastic wonderfully dramatic theme tune was composed by John Cameron and is entitled Rescue Helicopter - a sublime piece of music that screams of the dedicated action of the emergency services as you can see in this clip of the opening titles from the 1980s that I've uploaded to the old Tube of You.
Do sleep well. Don't have nightmares