‘Carte Blanche’ celebrates 35 years, pays homage to Derek Watts and gets a make-over

Claire Mawisa and Masa Kekana. Picture: Supplied

Claire Mawisa and Masa Kekana. Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 4, 2023


Awarding-winning investigative journalism show “Carte Blanche” is preparing to celebrate a huge TV milestone next month.

The show, which first aired on August 28, 1988, with the likes of Derek Watts and Ruda Landman at the helm, has gone on to become a trusted source of groundbreaking investigations that delve deeply into the heart of pressing issues.

Unfortunately, Watts had to step away from the show recently after being diagnosed with skin cancer that has spread to his lungs. Last month the team at “Carte Blanche” said they would provide regular updates on him.

Despite Watts’s absence, the rest of the team of award-winning TV journalists, Claire Mawisa, Macfarlane Moleli, Masa Kekana and Bongani Bingwa, still captivate audiences every Sunday evening and it remains the number one show on M-Net.

This upcoming 35th anniversary celebration will pay homage to Watts.

“We pay homage to Derek, a pivotal figure in ‘Carte Blanche’s’ success. We express our appreciation and admiration for his steadfast dedication to investigative journalism and his invaluable contribution to the show,” read a press release sent to Independent Media.

For the milestone celebration, “Carte Blanche” also showcased their new studio design at Stark Studios in Sunday’s episode.

‘Carte Blanche’ debuted their revamped studios on July 2. Picture: Supplied

John Webb, executive producer of “Carte Blanche”, said the team were immensely proud of the show’s legacy.

“We are immensely proud of ‘Carte Blanche’s’ legacy and continued impact on investigative journalism. As we approach our 35th anniversary, we remain committed to bringing our viewers the highest standard of journalism, uncovering the truth, and making a difference.“

Over 35 years, the news show has amassed more than 200 awards across various categories, including Best Current Affairs Programme, Investigative Journalism and Environmental Media, affirming its status as the leading investigative journalism show in the country.

“These accolades are a fitting testament to the programme’s unwavering dedication to delivering thought-provoking content that informs and enlightens its audience,” read the press release.

In 2008, “Carte Blanche” launched the Carte Blanche Making a Difference Trust to commemorate its 20th year on air, with a goal of raising R20 million (a million for every year on air) to support state paediatric units across the country, but with the support of corporate donors and viewers the show has raised more than R150m to date.

The fund-raising continues this year and viewers can help the trust achieve its goals by attending the Lexus Pop Classics 2023.

Viewers can help the trust achieve its goals by attending the Lexus Pop Classics 2023. Picture: Supplied

For a minimum contribution of R100, viewers can get up to four tickets, with all proceeds going to the trust.

Trust patron Karolina Andropoulos said: “By way of collaboration with several organisations and multiple donors, the Carte Blanche Making a Difference Trust has impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of children in crises through the last 15 years.

“Our partnership with Lexus Pop Classics and M-Net on this magical night of music performed by some of our premier performers reflects the spirit of our work and will undoubtedly go a long way in assisting us to continue to build and equip the children’s hospital facilities that are so greatly needed.”

Keeping with the times, the factual news show has also started a podcast.

“The show and its brand remain innovative with the introduction of ‘Carte Blanche: The Podcast’. This engaging podcast delves beneath the headlines, bringing to light the stories that truly matter in South Africa and around the world,” said the press release.

The team’s promise to viewers is to expect the same drive for excellence, truth-seeking, and impactful investigative storytelling.

∎“Carte Blanche” airs on M-Net, DStv channel 101, every Sunday at 7pm.