4 January 2012 4:05 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

The BBC pulled its drama Public Enemies and replaced it with a Panorama about the Stephen Lawrence murder. Could the chaos this caused viewers have been avoided?

Extensively trailed and advertised to run across the middle three nights of BBC1 peak-time this week, Public Enemies was what's known as "event television": a brilliant writer, Tony Marchant, providing lines for classy actors Daniel Mays and Anna Friel.

Yet for anyone persuaded to switch on at 9pm on Tuesday, the drama became non-event television, shunted from the schedule at the last minute to allow the showing of a Panorama special timed to coincide with the guilty verdict in the Stephen Lawrence murder trial. Public Enemies was re-arranged to start last night and run until Friday.

As a result, this week's pre-printed listings supplements are suddenly unreliable, newspapers (including the Guardian – spoiler alert) were stuck with running now redundant overnight reviews that disclosed plot details. »

- Mark Lawson

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