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Tributes to newsman whose probe caused minister’s downfall

Ray FitzwalterA former regional daily deputy news editor who led an investigation which led to the resignation of a Government Minister has died.

Tributes have been paid to Ray Fitzwalter, pictured left, formerly of the Bradford Telegrpah & Argus, who went on to become the longest-serving editor of ITV’s World In Action series.

While working at the T&A, he was instrumental in the uncovering of the Poulson affair – an investigation into the Yorkshire architect John L. Poulson and his use of bribery to win contracts.

The scandal sent shock waves across Edward Heath’s government in the early 1970s and led to the resignation of Home Secretary Reginald Maudling.

Ray later spent 23 years working on the World In Action series, where he won two BAFTA awards and was made a Fellow of the Royal Television Society.

Among his programmes for the series was an investigation which ultimately led to the release of the Birmingham Six, who had their convictions over the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings quashed by the Court of Appeal in 1991.

Rod Caird, who worked with Ray when he was head of features (documentaries) at Granada, said: “He was a startlingly good journalist, in the classic style. Dogged and determined and fearless and completely committed to uncovering evil deeds.

“But he also had a wonderful personality and a wonderful character everybody tried to imitate the whole time, and couldn’t do, because he was just Ray.

“He had one of those personas that is both likeable and slightly to be feared if you’re working for him. You knew if you had Ray on your side you were all right.”


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  • April 7, 2016 at 9:13 am

    I worked with him on the T&A at Bradford when we investigated the Poulson affair. He was like a dog with a bone – wld not let go and it was no surprise that the World in Action was so hard-hitting under his leadership. May he rest in peace.

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  • April 7, 2016 at 9:17 am

    Raymond’s integrity and his decency, sense of fairness and justice were unsurpassed – his compassion was such that he reserved his prejudices for those he perceived as abusing power or position. As a journalist, broadcaster and editor he was genuinely utterly fearless.

    Support and persistence of course were in his DNA, and there in spades in his driving of Granada/ WIA and the Birmingham Six. Who else could you imagine committing six years and being able to persuade a major broadcaster to commit screen time – and, what a million pounds maybe? – to fighting one of the least appealing causes imaginable to the British public? All too often this is unrecognised. While I was lead producer on all the World in Action shows in that campaign, make no mistake, without Ray Fitzwalter those men would have died in prison.

    Ray was one of the outstanding broadcast journalists of a generation. And to my utter good fortune he was my patron, mentor and friend who empowered, encouraged and supported me beyond measure. Along with many others, I will always be in his debt.

    Ian McBride
    World in Action 1976-98

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  • April 7, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    Ray Fitzwalter was a great journalist. Web of Corruption, the book he wrote about John Poulson, is a classic of its kind.

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