The panel - which included BBC vision director Jana Bennett, ITV programmes director Simon Shaps, Channel 4 CEO Andy Duncan, Endemol UK chief Tim Hincks and media critic Ray Snoddy - was questioned by 5 Live Breakfast presenter Nicky Campbell on the crisis that engulfed the television industry this year after a montage that highlighted an "annus horribilis" ranging from Shilpa and Jade on Celebrity Big Brother to the BBC's Queen promo error.
The session started off on an initially combative note, with Bennett and Shaps generally refusing to be drawn on specific issues on the basis of ongoing independent investigations. Bennett reiterated her support for Peter Fincham and denied shouting at him over the Queen affair, and denied that there is a culture of what Campbell characterised as "institutional indifference to the monarch" at the BBC. When asked whether he would resign, Simon Shaps said he would not pre-empt any decisions taken by the ITV board, who will receive a report from Deloitte - a report that is rumoured to be damning beyond initial expectations - shortly.
As the session progressed, certain snippets of information were offered. Andy Duncan said that Channel 4 will no longer use premium rate services to provide competition elements in its programming because "PRS should only be used as part of the delivery of [Channel 4's] public purpose." He revealed that BT has been unable to guarantee the closure of phone lines and that mobile operators have been equally unable to guarantee delivery of text messages. While Big Brother voting will continue, no further PRS-run competitions will be used by the channel - a position that ITV's Shaps disagreed with.
Towards the end of the panel discussion, a consensus began to emerge. Endemol's Tim Hincks was keen to point out that "there is a danger in seeing it all [trust] as one problem", and contrasted the issues of offence around Celebrity Big Brother with what he called a "profoundly depressing experience" over Brainteaser. He also dismissed some early analyses of the trust issue:
"If it's youth, how do you explain the involvement of ex-BBC veterans? If it's profit, why is the BBC involved?"
He added: "We need to work out what matters and what doesn't."
Concerns were raised during a question-and-answer session that the furore may result in a cultural over-reaction, that some of the artifice involved in the delivery of television would be lost in an over-literalisation of programme making. The executives present were keen to draw a distinction between institutional change, in which organisational structures were adjusted to speed up reporting paths, and in wihch editorial guidelines were "lived" by everyone involved in programme production, and the danger of cultural overreaction in which some techniques - such as cutaways and news "walking" shots - are lost in the guise of technical accuracy.