Secret Society

In 1987, Duncan produced a six-part documentary for the BBC entitled, Secret Society. The series disclosed the culture of secrecy in government and lack of public accountability for its actions. The Thatcher administration had different ideas. Before the show was broadcast Strathclyde police raided the BBC's Scottish headquarters and Duncan's home, seizing the tapes. Although these were later returned, two episodes, 'Secret Cabinet Committees' and 'Zircon' were banned from broadcast in an act of good, old fashioned red-pen censorship.


You can watch the controversial series below.


You will also find additional material, including the a look at the political issues surrounding Secret Society and the Zircon Affair here.


Secret cabinet committees

Episode 1: The Secret Constitution: Secret Cabinet Committees

The opening episode exposes a rampant culture of secrecy dominant in Westminster. These clandestine committees and groups yield untold influence on government policy and yet operate completely independent of public scrutiny or accountability.

Related articles:

Banned BBC film up for sale on internet Documentary told of 'secret committees' in government

By Rob Crilly

Glasgow Herald, 26 August 2003

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Alisdair Milne's 'DG: Memoirs of a British Broadcaster'

Read an excerpt from the autobiography of former Director General of the BBC, Alisdair Milne, relating to internal and external pressures of producing Secret Society.
Click here to read more


Released under FOI Act, the first meeting displaying concerns over the nature of Secret Society, 27 June 1986

In time of crisis

Since 1982, governments in every other NATO country have been preparing for the eventuality of war. In Britain, these preparations are kept secret. So what will happen when the balloon goes up?

A gap in our defences

Bungling defence manufacturers and incompetent military planners have botched every new radar system that Britain has installed since World War Two. Why? And can we stop it happening again?

We're all data now

The Data Protection Act is supposed to protect us from abuse, but it's already out of date and full of loopholes. So what kind of abuses should we worry about?


ACPO have been making up their own law and policy. This episode investigates the Association of Chief Police Officers and how Government policy and actions are determined in the fields of law and order.


The infamous 'Zircon' episodes reveals the existence of a £500m British spy satellite programme kept secret from Parliament

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