Home TV by Decade TV Shows - 1960s World In Action

World In Action

1 9 6 3 – 1 9 9 8 (UK)

Granada TV’s hard-hitting current affairs series World in Action was first transmitted in 1963 and has set a consistently high standard in investigative journalism.

The first edition, in January, highlighted the atomic arms race and showed Khrushchev and Kennedy in conflict.


Later in the year, World in Action ran into trouble over an exposé of the appalling living conditions of black people in South Africa and Angola.

The ambassadors of those countries protested, and the ruling body of Independent Television, the ITA, decided that the programme was not impartial and decreed that the authority should vet future editions.

The first producer was Australian Tim Hewat who, on arriving in Switzerland to film a story about a typhoid outbreak at the height of the winter tourist season, so incensed the normally mild-mannered locals with the prospect of adverse publicity that they pelted him with rocks.

World in Action continued to upset those in high places, particularly with programmes about Northern Ireland.

Even a 1964 edition about the poor facilities available to British athletes training for the Tokyo Olympics was banned; and when a film on defence spending was vetoed in the 60s, part of it was broadcast instead on the rival Panorama, to the acute embarrassment of the ITA.

Probably the most famous product of The World In Action is the 7 Up series of documentaries with Michael Apted monitoring a dozen school children every seven years; 7 Up in 1963, 14 Up in 1970, 21 Up in 1977, 28 Up in 1984, 35 Up in 1991 and 42 Up in 1998.

Tim Hewat

Tim Hewat
David Plowright
Leslie Woodhead
Jeremy Wallington
Gus McDonald
Denis Mitchell
Michael Apted
Mike Wooller
John Birt
Ray Fitzwalter
Alex Valentine
Brian Lapping
Nick Hayes
Charles Tremayne
Steve Boulton