Down With

Series in which some of our best known institutions are put to the test: do they do a good job or is there a case for sweeping reform?

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Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
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0101The Treasury!2003081320030816

Tonight, the Treasury: elitist, interfering and too powerful or trusted guardian of taxpayers' money? Edward Stourton chairs a debate between Labour MP Diane Abbott and economist Bridget Rosewell at the Mansion House with an invited forum of experts.

0102The European Parliament!2003082020030823

Is the EU Parliament a vital part of the democratic process or a toothless talking shop? Edward Stourton chairs a debate with Jens Peter Bonde, Graham Mather and an expert panel.

0103 LASTThe Football Association!2003082720030830

Is the Football Association a trusted guardian of English football, or an impotent governing body? Edward Stourton chairs a debate from Notts County Football Club.

0201The General Medical Council!2004051220040515

The final report of the Shipman inquiry, due in the summer, is expected to be critical of the GMC - the body responsible for regulating the medical profession.

So what is the GMC doing to restore public confidence in our doctors? Diana Madill chairs a debate between the GMC's President, Sir Graeme Catto and leading health lawyer, Ann Alexander with a forum of experts about how best to police the medical profession.

0202Devolution!2004051920040522

Tonight - is devolution delivering what it promised, or is it a waste of time and money? It's claimed devolution has given the Scots and Welsh a new confidence, freedom to pursue new policies, whilst in London, the Mayor's radical transport policies are popular.

On the other hand, the new Scottish Parliament building has haemorrhaged money and there are no visible improvements to the Scottish Health Service.

So is devolution working? Diana Madill chairs a debate from Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead between Dr John Tomaney of Newcastle University and the Daily Telegraph's Scottish editor Alan Cochrane, together with an invited forum of experts.

0203 LASTThe Human Fertilisation And Embryology Authority!2004052620040529

Tonight, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

Should parents have the right to engineer a baby to save a sibling? Should we be allowed to choose the sex of our children? The HFEA has been accused of being aloof: not talking to patients nor consulting widely enough with the scientific community.

Professor Alison Murdoch steps in to defend them against clinician Dr Mohammed Taranissi, who says the HFEA interferes and is out of touch with science.

Diana Madill chairs with an invited forum of experts.

0301London!2005010520050108

'When a man is tired of London, he is tired with life, for there is in London all that life can afford.' Was Samuel Johnston right? London is often described as one of the world's best cities and dominates the political, economic and cultural life of our nation.

But is that position still deserved? Isn't the truth now that London's overcrowding, cost and infrastructure mean it's no longer a good place to live and work? Isn't it now time to re-think the capital's role in the UK?

0302Advertising!2005011220050115

Advertisers claim that their work is an essential part of the market economy, providing vital information to consumers.

They say adverts have played an important role in helping to break down stereotypes and that without the industry, Britain's thriving independent media wouldn't exist.

But critics say advertising is a corrupting and manipulative influence on our lives.

Its message is that we are inadequate without certain products and tries to sell us lifestyles which most people can never have.

The industry wastes huge sums of money and represents a system of values which are divisive.

Which view is right? Diana Madill chairs a debate between writer Judith Williamson and Hamish Pringle of the Institute of Advertising practitioners with an invited forum of people with strong views.

0303Oxbridge!2005011920050122

The ancient universities of Oxford and Cambridge claim to be two of the finest universities in the world, producing first-class graduates.

The rigorous selection procedures ensure that only the most academically able are offered a place, regardless of background - and their unique tutorial systems are the envy of the world.

But critics say Oxbridge continues to be dominated by public school types, and still fails to attract enough pupils from the state sector.

What's more, Oxford and Cambridge are being caught up - and in some cases, overtaken - by other universities, both here and abroad.

Which view is right? Diana Madill chairs a debate from Magdalen college Oxford between its president, Anthony Smith - and David Walker, editor The Guardian's Public magazine, along with an invited forum of people with strong views.