Alzheimer's film-maker to face ITV lawyers

This article was first published on guardian.co.uk on Tuesday August 07 2007. It was last updated at 09:17 on August 07 2007.
Film-maker Paul Watson

Watson: told Radio 4's Today programme that he felt he was being made a 'scapegoat' in the row. Photograph: Frank Baron

Documentary maker Paul Watson is set to meet lawyers appointed by ITV today as part of the broadcaster's inquiry into the row surrounding his programme about Alzheimer's.

Watson is understood to have a meeting with lawyers from specialist media law firm Olswang, who were appointed by ITV to oversee the formal investigation into the latest flashpoint over broadcasting deception.

Publicity for the programme, Malcolm and Barbara: Love's Farewell, originally claimed to show the moment of death of Alzheimer's sufferer, Malcolm Pointon. It later emerged that Mr Pointon died two-and-a-half days after he was last recorded on camera.

ITV1 has scheduled the documentary for tomorrow night at 9pm.

The ITV executive chairman, Michael Grade, is said to want a rapid conclusion to the inquiry, which formally began last Friday. He has pledged to publish the conclusions of the report and "take effective action as necessary".

Mr Grade said last month he would take a "zero tolerance" approach to deliberate deceit in TV programmes, adding that the claim that Mr Watson's documentary originally purported to show the moment of death of Mr Pointon was a "very serious matter".

Malcolm and Barbara: Love's Farewell shows Mr Pointon slipping into a coma surrounded by his family and sparked a debate about the ethics of showing the death on-screen.

Mr Watson told Radio 4's Today programme last week that he felt he was being made a "scapegoat" in the row and said his 11-year-old project had been "wrecked by the row".

An ITV spokeswoman said the inquiry was ongoing, but would not comment on its timing or on specific interviews that were taking place.

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