Panorama on the binge-drink crawl again
of drinking in northern town
Panorama, once the BBC's flagship, serious news programme, has an obession with binge drinking. Last night's programme (10 August) was the third one it has devoted to the subject. It featured Oldham in Greater Manchester -- or rather just one street in Oldham. The image of drunken young people behaving badly was an unappealing one but it was not true of the whole of the city. The constant refrain that "this will soon be happening in your town" was not backed by any evidence and was weakened by the admission that this type of behaviour did not happen to such an extent in neighbouring Manchester.
The street in question was packed with bars and nightclubs. There was not one single traditional pub shown. The bars and clubs competed by offering heavily discounted drinks, an activity that is not followed by most pubs.
But at least there was one step forward in this programme. For the first time, Panorama got stuck into supermarkets and admitted that it was their policy of selling massively discounted vodkas and other spirits that encouraged young people to "front load" before heading off to clubs and bars.
But in general there was no balancve to the programme. Panorama could have shown last week's Great British Beer Festival in London, attended by a record 64,000 people. There was no drunkenness, no fighting and no occasion to call the police.
But why let the truth interfere with a good distortion?