Dispatches editor Kevin Sutcliffe leaves Channel 4

The editor of Channel 4’s Dispatches, Kevin Sutcliffe, has confirmed his departure from the broadcaster one month after the current affairs programme was relaunched.

In November, Channel 4 announced plans to air 40 episodes of Dispatches in 2012 instead of 30, and reduce the length of the majority of shows from one hour to 30 minutes, with bosses insisting the move would not ‘change the nature of our journalism”.

Sutcliffe, who was also Channel 4’s deputy head of news, said: “After 10 fantastic years of troublemaking for Channel 4 I have decided it is time to look for new projects and challenges.

‘I have been lucky to have worked on an incredible range of programming with hugely talented people and production companies.

“I have also enjoyed Channel 4’s unstinting support when Dispatches has taken on the biggest subjects and ruffled the feathers of the rich and powerful.

‘I’m pleased to be handing over a reshaped Dispatches fit for the challenges of the digital world.”

Channel 4’s head of news and current affairs Dorothy Byrne has also announced the results of a tender process to provide paid work and mentoring as part of the Channel 4 Investigative Journalism Training Scheme, as well as output deals of delivering a minimum eight programmes.

The successful companies were: Blakeway Productions, October Films, Nine Lives Media and ITN Productions.

“Kevin was keen to oversee the tender process and help shape the new look Dispatches, now that is complete he feels the time is right to move on to new challenges,’said Byrne.

“Under his tenure, Dispatches has won every major award in the world and created memorable television. He has also been a kind and considerate colleague who we will miss greatly.”

In May 2008, West Midlands Police and the Crown Prosecution Service paid out £100,000 to Channel 4 after a libel action taken by the Dispatches team, following claims that the broadcaster’s Undercover Mosque investigation could have incited racial hatred.

In 2009 a science teacher who secretly filmed scenes of pupil misbehaviour for a Dispatches documentary was found guilty of unprofessional conduct, but Sutcliffe defended the use of hidden cameras in schools.

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