From what I have read, it is replete with its writer's opinions, loose with the facts and excessively sentimental and tabloid-ish. This is probably what caused me to avoid it the first time, but that was also before I began my efforts on understanding the welfare system and its history. It is it seems exactly the kind of 'docu-commentary' the BBC insists it does not make and leaves to Channel 4 to commission.
The first time it aired was sometime in 2010. I have been unable to find a recording of it online. It is not even on the Panorama website where it says you are able to watch any episode for at least the last five years or so. It's probably because the episode was an embarrassment. It may not even actually end up being shown unless heavily edited.
The significant claim I have read is that benefit fraud costs the government more than the planned cuts, the synopsis even claims it has risen by a third during the recession. The figure given is £22 billion, in fraud (not including official and customer error?). Having only been looking at the annual reports for Fraud and Error in the benefits system a few hours ago, I'm suspicious. Let's just look at this one from October 2010, this I what I find on page 14:
Currently, £5.2bn is lost in benefits and tax credits due to fraud and error. The initiatives outlined in this strategy are expected to reduce the level of fraud and error by over one quarter – or £1.4bn – by 2014/15.That figure is accurate and Panorama will have had access to the same data. There has been a rise in JSA claims because of the recession, but not spike in any other benefit. Naturally fraud for JSA rose proportionately to the total and that's been around 4% for a while, but that isn't enough to justify a claim that total benefit fraud has increased 'by a third' in the slightest.
That there is virtually no information to be found anywhere about Britain On The Fiddle is odd, but we may get the chance to see for ourselves on November 3rd why this has been buried. It is 'Left-biased' BBC at its most tabloid finest.