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  • Documentary and factual


"Dispatches" is an ongoing series of investigative and topical documentaries that have been broadcast on Channel 4 since 1987. It covers issues ranging from politics, health and religion to international current affairs and the environment. The first episode on October 30, 1987, featured a report on the black market in weapons grade uranium operated from Khartoum. Other episodes in the long-running series have included a report in 1989 on the widespread use of anabolic steroids in horse racing, an undercover investigation in 1999 into Britain's sex slave trade, and an examination in 2009 of the terrorist attack that year on Mumbai from the point-of-view of victims, security forces and perpetrators.


Episode 1: The High Street Cash Crisis: Dispatches


Antony Barnett reports on the collapse of several of Britain's best-known brands, examining the influence of the internet and the pandemic on the decline of high street shopping. Barnett asks how much are these firms to blame for the problems on our high street, and questions whether it's fair that their owners still earned millions while tens of thousands of shopworkers lost their jobs.


We all know why high streets are in trouble, don’t we? There has been lethal pincer movement of e-commerce growth and the pandemic shutting down all but essential shops for months on end. Case closed. But Dispatches points to a third, less obvious factor. 

Reporter Antony Barnett probes the collapse of high-street fixtures such as Debenhams, Cath Kidston, Jack Wills and Poundworld, and discovers they had one thing in common: all were owned by private equity firms, whose partners earned millions while tens of thousands of shopworkers lost their jobs. Why, he asks, have the people pulling the strings not been held to account?

How to watch

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There are no live broadcasts scheduled for this show. But it is available via the streaming provider below.






PresenterAntony Barnett
ProducerAlasdair Glennie
DirectorAlasdair Glennie

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