What Really Happened

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On a mission to extract reality from rumour, investigative journalist Jacques Peretti picks apart the most sensational high-profile scandals of recent years

About the Show

On a mission to extract reality from rumour, investigative journalist Jacques Peretti picks apart the most sensational high-profile scandals of recent years

  • Michael Jackson in 2009

    Michael Jackson's Last Days: What Really Happened

    As soon as the news of Michael Jackson's death was released the rumour mill went into overdrive. Within hours there were as many theories about the circumstances surrounding his death as there were about his extraordinary and bizarre life. Jacques Perreti investigates the story behind the countdown to the death of a superstar - from the announcement of his spectacular comeback concerts to his death, just months later, in LA.

    Peretti speaks to a number of key witnesses to offer a unique insight into the last four months of Jackson's life. Publically everything seemed to be on track - Jackson was passionately enthused and determined to impress his legions of fans - performing the music they so wanted to hear, one last time. But could he really deliver? What was the truth behind the scenes? Peretti gives us an extraordinary insight into the chronology of his demise as Jackson spiralled into despair.

    In March this year, amid fanfare and hype, the fifty-year-old Jackson announced a series of 50 concerts at the O2 Arena in London. Fans spent thousands buying tickets, and overwhelmed ticket sellers. But even at this stage bets were being taken by bookies speculating that the concerts would never happen at all.

    For AEG, the promoter, it was an extraordinary business opportunity. It was billed to be a huge spectacular, but it would be performed by a man touching 50 who hadn't toured live in years, and who is said to have had a serious problem with prescription drugs. The pressure on Jackson to deliver was immense - not just for his loyal fans, but also to satisfy his spiralling debts.

    As preparations in London were underway, and Jackson began rehearsing, there was continued speculation in the press - talk of live animals on stage; 3D spectacular graphics, illusionists and a stage show to rival his dream world at Neverland.

    But behind the scenes, concerns were growing and the first scheduled shows were postponed. Was it a disaster waiting to happen?

    Jacques Perretti talks to insiders in London and LA to find out what really happened.

  • Jacques with Johnny Gold

    Dodi Al-fayed: What Really Happened

    On 6 September 1997, two and a half billion people watched the funeral of Princess Diana. Six weeks later there was another funeral. This time there were no cameras and just a handful of mourners.

    This funeral was for Dodi Al-Fayed. He had sprung to public attention after a photograph showed him in an embrace with Diana, but little was known about him. After his, death two different pictures of Dodi emerged: a talented man who'd won an Oscar for his first film and was loved by family and friends; then came dark and salacious rumours of drugs and womanising.

    Meeting those close to Dodi, including his former assistant, close friends and one of his former girlfriends, Jacques Peretti pieces together Dodi's life, and attempts to answer some crucial questions: who was Dodi, what role did his father play in his life and how did he end up with Diana?

  • Jacques Peretti

    Heather Mills: What Really Happened

    When Heather Mills appeared on GMTV in autumn 2007, she claimed to have had worse press than a paedophile or murderer. Her outburst gave the appearance of someone on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

    The media have termed her a fantasist, a publicity seeker and a gold-digger. But what is the truth about Heather and why does she behave the way she does? Is she severely misunderstood, or is she being slowly driven to the edge by media intrusion into her life? Jacques Peretti tries to separate fact from fiction and find out the truth behind the headlines.

    Jacques followed Heather's story for months in the run-up to her divorce hearing and interviewed many of those connected to her. This programme includes the first television interview with Heather's father, Mark Mills, and the with ghost writer of her autobiography Out on a Limb, Pamela Cockerill.

  • Jacques Peretti

    Madonna and Mercy: What Really Happened

    On 12th June 2009, Malawi's Supreme Court of Appeal overturned an earlier ruling and granted Madonna's adoption of Mercy James. Ahead of the verdict presenter and journalist Jacques Peretti travelled through Malawi to find out why Madonna's bid to adopt Mercy has polarised opinion both in Malawi and around the world.

    Madonna's lawyers were successful in their appeal when Malawi's Supreme Court upheld her application for adoption. This documentary looks at the future for Mercy as she prepares to move to New York with the pop star and asks what's best for Mercy. Should she have stayed in her orphanage in Malawi?

    Prior to the latest ruling Peretti spoke exclusively to Mercy's father, James Kambewa, as well as her grandmother Lucy, who originally opposed the adoption, and her uncles, who signed the legal papers supporting it.

    Peretti seeks to understand the complexities of this moral minefield and also speaks to the Executive Director of Madonna's charity Raising Malawi, which is based on Madonna's commitment to Kabbalah, and visits the orphanage where Mercy was placed.

    Peretti follows events across Malawi as they developed, as one child's life hovered between privilege and poverty.

  • Michael Barrymore

    Michael Barrymore: What Really Happened

    Journalist Jacques Peretti travels to the heart of Essex to examine what happened on the night that 31-year-old Stuart Lubbock died in Michael Barrymore's swimming pool. While paramedics tried to revive Stuart, one notable member of the ad-hoc party was absent - the host and star attraction of the evening, Michael Barrymore.

    Through the events of that night, Jacques gains insight not just into the personal demons of a fallen entertainment icon, but also into the contradictory worlds Barrymore tried to straddle: shiny floor glitz versus the gay scene; his sexuality versus the hard machismo image of Essex.

    Jacques looks at whether the lurid tabloid headlines of orgies and sexual assault have any truth and examines a father's struggle to fathom why the people who were there that night cannot reveal what really happened.

    With the aid of contributors that includeTerry and Kevin Lubbock, Michael's brother John Parker and his friend Mike Brown (who has never been interviewed on television about the incident before), Jacques Peretti investigates.

  • Jacques Peretti

    Paul Burrell: What Really Happened

    From being Diana's butler and self-styled 'rock' to appearing as a reality star on American TV, via two revelatory books about the princess and a high-profile trial for theft, Paul Burrell appears to be the master of reinvention.

    Jacques Peretti delves into the world of Paul Burrell, meeting his family, former colleagues and friends. He charts the rise of the boy from Derbyshire who joined the Royal household, and his subsequent fall from grace into notoriety, cleared of theft charges but accused of perjury.

    What drives Burrell? What are the secrets he says he knows but won't reveal? Just what is it that the butler knows?

  • Prince Harry at a Christmas service

    William and Harry: What Really Happened

    As Harry is engulfed in another scandal, Jacques Peretti has been investigating the truth behind the headlines triggered by the young prince and his brother.

    At the funeral of Princess Diana, her brother Earl Spencer gave a speech in which he said Princes William and Harry should continue on the path of their 'blood family' and not be 'immersed by duty and tradition'.

    Would the princes grow up as part of the traditional House of Windsor, or would they be more like their mother? At stake was the future of the monarchy. The royal family began by creating a complete press blackout around the young princes. Years later the princes emerged as modern A-list celebrities: handsome, down to earth, war heroes.

    Jacques Peretti investigates what happened in between. What's the story that's been happening behind the booze, the girls and the Nazi uniform? Who is in control? Who won the battle to shape the princes?

What Really Happened synopsis

On a mission to extract reality from rumour, investigative journalist Jacques Peretti picks apart the most sensational high-profile scandals of recent years

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