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BBC Panorama: 'The Mystery of Madeleine McCann' *

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'The Mystery of Madeleine McCann' Panorama documentary
Jane Tanner: talked publicly for the first time on Panorama about the night Madeleine McCann disappeared. Photograph: BBC
Jane Tanner: talked publicly for the first time about the night Madeleine McCann disappeared

'The Mystery of Madeleine McCann' - BBC Panorama, was broadcast on 19 November 2007.

Also below is the BBC transcript of the documentary, various reports and an article on why the original producer, David Mills, dramatically quit the project two weeks before it was transmitted.
 
GMB Transcript: The Mystery of Madeleine McCann
 
GMB The Mystery of Madeleine McCann Transcript Screenshots
 

McCann friend tells of abduction, 16 November 2007
McCann friend tells of abduction BBC News
 
Last Updated: Friday, 16 November 2007, 22:18 GMT
 
A close friend of Kate and Gerry McCann has told the BBC she saw a man carrying a child through the Portuguese holiday resort where they were staying.
 
In an exclusive interview, Jane Tanner said she remained adamant Madeleine McCann had been abducted.
 
Ms Tanner was among a group of friends who dined with the McCanns on 3 May as they left Madeleine and their two other children asleep in an apartment nearby.
 
Her parents were named as official suspects in September.
 
Madeleine, from Rothley, Leicestershire, vanished from the family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz days before her fourth birthday.
 
Ms Tanner told the BBC's Panorama programme how her friend Rachael came to her holiday apartment to tell her Madeleine had gone at about 10pm.
 
"And then I saw Kate and Fiona running around shouting 'Madeleine', and Kate said to me, 'Jane, Madeleine's gone, Madeleine's gone'.
 
"And that's the first I heard."
 
Jane Tanner is potentially a crucial witness in the police investigation.
 
Ms Tanner says at about 9.15pm she saw a man walking away from the complex with a child, but at the time thought nothing of it.
 
It was another 45 minutes before friends informed her Madeleine had disappeared and now she says she is convinced that child was Madeleine.
 
'Liar and fantasist'
 
Much of the police investigation focuses on the timeline of events on the night of 3 May.
 
And the group of friends who dined together - the so-called Tapas Nine - have been key to piecing it together.
 
Among them were friends and fellow holiday-makers including Rachael Oldfield and Fiona Payne.
 
Ms Tanner insists she has done everything to help with the police investigation but decided to talk to the media after being called "a liar and a fantasist".
 
"I know what I saw and I think it's important that people know what I saw because I believe Madeleine was abducted," she said.
 
Ms Tanner also said that she would be willing to be questioned again by police if it helped with Madeleine's investigation.
 
Last month the McCanns released artist's sketches of a man drawn by an FBI-trained forensic artist using details from Ms Tanner.
 
She had described the man she saw as aged about 35 to 40, 5ft 6in (1.7m) tall, and slim and the child he was carrying was described as wearing the same pyjamas as Madeleine.
 
The artist, commissioned by private detectives working for the McCanns, left the man's face blank as Ms Tanner was unsure about some details
 
The police say they do want to speak to all friends who were with the McCanns on the night Madeleine vanished.
 
They are reassessing the case but continue to believe that Madeleine was either abducted or died as a result of an accident in the holiday flat.
 
The full interview with Jane Tanner can be seen on Panorama: The Mystery of Madeleine McCann on BBC One at 2100 GMT on Monday 19 November.

McCann witness speaks out, 17 November 2007
McCann witness speaks out Daily Mirror
 
Exclusive by Rod Chaytor
17/11/2007
 
The family friend who thinks she saw Madeleine McCann carried away in her pyjamas is tortured by an awful belief - that she should have saved the little girl.
 
She told of her "absolute horror" at living with the terrible thought as she became the first of the Tapas Seven to speak publicly of the fateful evening of May 3.
 
Jane Tanner, 38, said that as she passed a man carrying a child in their holiday resort: "Never in a million years did I think it could have been Madeleine.
 
"I just saw a person walk along the top of the road with what could have been a child in his arms."
 
But marketing executive Jane is now certain that she saw poor Madeleine being carried off in Praia da Luz, Portugal.
 
A friend said: "It's true to say she is haunted by that thought and goes over and over it every day.
 
"She thinks to herself, 'If only I had stopped him' and 'If only I had seen his face'."
 
Jane told TV interviewers she decided to speak out after slurs against her in the Portuguese media and because she believes that Madeleine was abducted.
 
She said: "I have not spoken before because the Portuguese police told us not to talk about the case at all. From Day One we have done everything we can to help them with the investigation.
 
"I'm talking now because I'm being called a liar and a fantasist. I know what I saw.
 
"I think it's important that people know what I saw because I believe Madeleine was abducted."
 
By speaking out Jane risks prosecution under Portugal's privacy laws surrounding legal cases.
 
The Tapas Seven are the friends who dined with Kate and Gerry McCann on the night of the four-year-old's disappearance. They had put their children to bed and gathered for an evening meal in a Tapas bar near their apartments.
 
At around 9.15 Jane was walking back to her apartment when she saw a man striding across the road in front of her. In his arms there appeared to be a child, barefooted, wearing pink pyjamas.
 
Jane saw that her daughter was sleeping and returned to dinner.
 
Just before 10pm Jane was called back to her apartment by her partner, Dr Russell O'Brien, who had found their girl had been sick.
 
She was there when Kate McCann's 10pm check on Madeleine and two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie raised the alarm.
 
Jane said: "I went out to the front door of our apartment. I saw Rachael (Rachael Oldfield) and she came and said 'Madeleine's gone'.
 
"That was the first I heard about it. Then I saw Kate and Fiona (Fiona Payne) running around shouting 'Madeleine'.
 
"Kate said to me: 'Jane, Madeleine's gone, Madeleine's gone'. That was the first I heard."
 
Jane's friend said: "Basically her heart went through her boots, because she instantly thought of the man carrying a child which she had seen about an hour earlier.
 
"When the Portuguese police turned up she told them about it at once. She later became convinced the child was Madeleine.
 
"Another of the friends, Matthew Oldfield, feels equally guilty because he also checked on the McCann children at around 9.35.
 
"He stood in the doorway of the bedroom and saw the twins but didn't see Madeleine because her bed was tucked behind the door."
 
Jane, of Exeter, agreed with the permission of the McCanns to speak to BBC's Panorama for a one-hour special report on Monday night. The footage has been shared with US network CBS, which plans to air it tonight. A Portuguese programme will screen another version tomorrow.
 
Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns' spokesman, said: "All the friends have become frustrated at the secrecy under the Portuguese legal system. Jane felt now was the time to put the record straight."
 
Panorama also interviews for the first time suspect Robert Murat's mother, who discusses her son's whereabouts on the night Madeleine disappeared.

The Mystery of Madeleine McCann, 18 November 2007
The McCanns are suspects with "arguido" status in the case

The Mystery of Madeleine McCann BBC News
 
Page last updated at 11:00 GMT, Sunday, 18 November 2007
 
Gerry McCann has spoken in a personal video of his belief that his family was watched by "a predator" in the days before his daughter's disappearance.
 
In the video, filmed by a family friend in August and to be screened on BBC One's Panorama, he tells of a "window of opportunity" taken by an abductor.
 
That belief made him and wife Kate "sick to the core", he said.
 
Madeleine, of Rothley, Leics, vanished from a holiday apartment in Portugal on 3 May, days before her fourth birthday.
 
The footage - filmed in Portugal by friend Jon Corner and to be shown as part of a Panorama programme on Monday - captures a time when suspicion over the disappearance began to fall on the couple.
 
The McCanns, both 39, became suspects with "arguido" status in the case in September but deny any involvement.
 
Mr McCann said that, before Madeleine went missing, he and his wife had been concerned by the security at the back of their Praia da Luz apartment when "maybe the weak spots were at the front".
 
"It's a corner flat with trees overlooking it - somebody could be hiding there or watching out of view," he said.
 
He added: "I've no doubt that Madeleine was targeted and that makes us sick to the core to think that someone was watching us and our daughter and then targeted her - I think the true word is a predator.
 
"But you just don't think there's any trouble and it's certainly the furthest thing from our mind."
 
Campaign pressure
 
In one scene on the video, Kate is shown hanging washing out to dry while, in another, Mr McCann is shown making missing posters of Madeleine on his laptop computer.

The footage shows the McCanns going about their everyday lives

Also in the film, Mrs McCann talks of the pressures posed by the campaign to find Madeleine and her regret at leaving their children alone in the apartment on 3 May.
 
The couple dined with a group of friends as they left Madeleine and their two other children asleep in an apartment nearby.
 
"There's not a textbook about it is there? Like what to do when your daughter gets abducted," she said.
 
"It's awful and horrible for anyone to have to go through and we are just doing what we think is best."
 
Possible sighting
 
The Panorama programme also features an interview with the McCanns' friend Jane Tanner, who dined with the couple in a tapas restaurant on the night of Madeleine's disappearance.
 
In an exclusive interview, she told the BBC she saw a man carrying a child through Praia da Luz.
 
Meanwhile, the head of the Spanish private detective agency hired by the McCanns has told US network CBS in an interview he was certain Madeleine was abducted and the abductor was close to being caught.
 
The couple's spokesman Clarence Mitchell has also confirmed that a possible sighting of Madeleine somewhere in Portugal on 5 May was now being investigated by private detectives.
 
Panorama: The Mystery of Madeleine McCann will be shown on BBC One at 2100 GMT on Monday, 19 November.

McCann special boosts Panorama ratings, 20 November 2007
McCann special boosts Panorama ratings Guardian
 
Caitlin Fitzsimmons
Tuesday 20 November 2007 16.34 GMT
 
The public's enduring fascination with the Madeleine McCann case boosted BBC1's flagship current affairs programme Panorama last night by 3 million viewers.
 
Panorama's special on the missing child, shown on BBC1 at 9pm, attracted an average of 5.3 million viewers and a 22% share, according to unofficial overnights.
 
It included interviews with people who had direct contact with the McCanns in Portugal, including Jane Tanner, a member of the of the so-called "Tapas Nine", who talked publicly for the first time about the night Madeleine disappeared.
 
The show narrowed the gap with ITV1's reality show I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!, which drew an audience of 7.6 million and a 31% share in the same timeslot.
 
Panorama walk-out over McCann film, 25 November 2007
Panorama walk-out over McCann film Guardian
 
Why did TV journalist David Mills, the producer of a Panorama film on the McCann affair, quit the project before it was transmitted last week? The Observer's David Rose reveals the inside story of the latest row to hit the BBC's flagship show
 
David Rose
The Observer, Sunday 25 November 2007
 
In the credits at the end of last week's Panorama special on the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, one name was conspicuous by its absence - that of David Mills, the programme's original producer. His name had disappeared from the end credits despite the fact that it was his company, Mills Productions, that had done all the research and was responsible for bringing the exclusive footage at the film's heart to the BBC.
 
Two weeks before transmission last Tuesday, Mills - one of Britain's most respected documentary-makers, who in his 40-year career has made 120 investigative films for broadcasters including the BBC, Granada, Thames and America's CBS - walked out of the programme after a furious row with Panorama's editor, Sandy Smith, over the programme's approach and argument.
 
He then wrote a stinging email to the BBC attacking Panorama for losing its journalistic passion. It has created a stir in the media world, mixing as it does the controversial issues of the McCanns and how their story is covered, journalistic balance and television current affairs.
 
'I had written a draft script and had already been told it was compelling,' Mills said. 'Sandy turned up with a completely different version and basically imposed it on me. I told him, "I cannot edit the film to this: it's a completely different show, and I'm not going to do it." To have this happening is very depressing.'
 
The incident - one of several controversies Panorama has faced this year - suggests, Mills said, that 'the BBC is no longer interested in serious current affairs'. BBC sources confirmed last night that the decisions about the programme's shape had been taken 'close to the top' of the BBC management hierarchy - which has already conducted a series of internal meetings over how the corporation should approach McCann case coverage in general.
 
As one of those interviewed by Mills and the programme's reporter, Richard Bilton, I can attest to how different the programme shown was to what they told me less than a month ago that they were envisaging. Along with The Observer's Ned Temko, who has covered the case for this newspaper, I ended up on the cutting-room floor. At that stage - as Mills's draft script makes plain - his intention was to make an analytical, investigative programme that would have been very critical of the Portuguese police, not only for the errors in their investigation, but for their apparent campaign of disinformation designed to put pressure on Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann. It would also have criticised both the local and British press over allegations that they recycled unfounded rumours with little sign of fact-checking or detachment.
 
It would, as Mills confirmed again yesterday, have scrutinised the various allegations that have been floated against the McCanns and concluded they are baseless: 'We had an investigative team looking into the story for weeks. Our assessment was that the purported DNA evidence was weak and inconclusive, while so far as we could tell the supposedly significant "discrepancies" between the stories told by the McCanns' friends about the night of Madeleine's disappearance amount to very little indeed.'
 
The original film would have compared Madeleine to the JonBenet Ramsey case in Colorado, about which Mills has made three previous documentaries. After the body of JonBenet, a child beauty pageant winner aged six, was found in her parents' Boulder home, they were vilified by the police and media, despite their continued insistence that they had nothing to do with her death. They claimed she had been killed by an intruder. Mills's version of the McCann Panorama featured an interview - eventually not used - with JonBenet's father, John, in which he said that the Colorado police 'did a great job of convincing the media and the world that we were guilty, but they couldn't charge us, because of course they had no case'. Years later DNA evidence proved beyond doubt that JonBenet had been killed by an intruder. John Ramsey told Panorama: 'It's a life-time damage. No question about it.'
 
The programme on the McCanns that was broadcast by Panorama was much less ambitious. It recited the case both for and against the McCanns, but had nothing harsh to say about either the police or the media. It did include new material, including a video diary shot of the McCanns in Portugal by their friend John Corner - footage that had been acquired by Mills and had led to his company getting the BBC commission.
 
It also cast doubt on some of the wilder claims published by the tabloids, and contained the first interview with Jane Tanner, one of the McCanns' companions on the holiday in Praia de Luz last May, who said that she was certain she had seen a girl who looked like Madeleine being carried in the street by a strange man around the time she is thought to have disappeared. But the programme avoided firm conclusions.
 
Having handed the film's editing over to a colleague, Mills emailed Smith on Monday, the day before transmission, saying he felt compelled to remove both his name and his company's from the credits. 'In part this is because its muddled structure and lack of narrative drive means it is far below the standard of any work that I or my company would wish to be associated with,' the email said. 'In part, too, my decision reflects the programme's intellectual impoverishment. The McCann case poses issues of real importance which Panorama should have examined. That it is instead running a laboured, pedestrian, extended news report is shameful.
 
'But the most important reason for my decision is that because the programme is insufficiently analytical it verges on the dishonest. Our lengthy investigation revealed that there is no meaningful evidence against the McCanns... The real question must be how, without any meaningful evidence, the Portuguese police and the media in Portugal and Britain have been able to convince most people that the couple were involved.'
 
Mills had been working closely with a CBS team, which also used the video diary footage. They, he told Smith, had concluded it was 'ludicrous' and 'crazy' to think the McCanns could have caused the death or disappearance.
 
Smith emailed Mills back, accusing him of wanting to broadcast 'advocate journalism', and pointing out that the broadcast version did describe some of the allegations against the McCanns as 'tenuous, to put it mildly'. Smith said that, while it was true that the programme 'changed substantively,' this was because 'it is a current affairs programme and it was overtaken by events'. He added: 'To get Jane Tanner and some of the McCann family meant that some of the other stuff moved to the edge, and the original version was just not journalistically as important.'
 
Mills disagrees. 'So far as I can see, investigative journalism at the BBC is over,' he said. 'The broadcast script contains nuances that suggest that the McCanns still have a case to answer. The BBC should have had the courage to state that this is simply not so.'
 
Clarence Mitchell, the former BBC reporter who is the McCanns' spokesman, said Kate and Gerry were 'content' with the broadcast version and accepted that events meant it had to change. He said they had spoken to Bilton and told him they considered the film to be 'fair'.
 
Other McCann family members were less happy. John, Gerry's brother, whose interview was broadcast, said: 'It wasn't the programme that I was told they were going to make. They've made something very different, and I am disappointed, because I'd hoped the full story was going to be told. Nevertheless I'm pleased they interviewed Jane Tanner. She said she saw Madeleine being abducted, and we want people to remember that.'
 
The row follows controversies over previous films this year, such as a report on Scientology by former Observer journalist John Sweeney, in which he lost his temper and turned - in his words - into an 'exploding tomato,' and a story claiming that wi-fi technology might be harmful, which was denounced by some scientists as 'irresponsible'.
 
As someone who once spent a year reporting for Panorama myself, I know that no BBC programme is more closely scrutinised and, sometimes, fought over. The fact remains some of its most distinguished contributors, including Tom Mangold and John Ware, have left in recent years, and that it has been repeatedly accused of punching below its weight. Mills is not a marginal figure, and the CBS film with which he was collaborating was much firmer in its conclusion that the McCanns had to be innocent.
 
Last night the BBC hierarchy was closing ranks to resist Mills's arguments. Outside the corporation, they may not be as easily dismissed.
 
'Your programme verges on the dishonest'
 
From: David
 
Sent: 19 November, 2007 12:12
 
To: 'Sandy Smith'
 
Subject: credit
 
Dear Sandy,
 
As you know, in the end I felt I could not leave either my name or my company credit on the programme.
 
In part this is because its muddled structure and lack of narrative drive means it is far below the standard of any work that I or my company would wish to be associated with.
 
In part, too, my decision reflects the programme's intellectual impoverishment. The McCann case poses issues of real importance which Panorama should have examined. That it is instead running a laboured, pedestrian extended news report is shameful.
 
But the most important reason for my decision is that because the programme is insufficiently analytical; it verges on the dishonest. Our lengthy investigation revealed that there is no meaningful evidence against the McCanns. Our CBS colleagues concluded that it was 'ludicrous' and 'crazy' to think them involved and that ... 'the child was abducted'.
 
The real question must be how, without any meaningful evidence, the Portuguese police and the media in Portugal and Britain have been able to convince most people that the couple were involved. Yet while the programme drips innuendos against the McCanns, it does not put a single challenging question to anyone in the Portuguese police or to anyone in the media. This is truly astonishing.
 
David Mills

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