Archive for the ‘anna richardson’ Tag

Digital Britain: grit in the oyster

pearlWith the publication of the Digital Britain report today it’s an apposite time to reflect on the role of Channel 4 in Britain’s Public Service landscape. After listening to former BBC Chairman Christopher Bland asserting (this morning on Today) that the UK can only afford one public service broadcaster and after reading a spiky response from BBC Trust Chairman Sir Michael Lyons jealously guarding the BBC’s cash, I reflect on last night’s RTS Education awards. I went along with The Sex Education Show presenter Anna Richardson and the Sexperience team from Mint Digital and Cheetah. During the evening I caught up with Tanya Byron who was presenting the awards and served on the Digital Britain steering group (I worked on the DB Being Digital / digital media literacy work group, whose outputs Tanya polished. I also helped her a little with her government Review of Children and New Technology last year and have been busy trying to get it implemented this year via the UKCCIS). At the end of the ceremony she spoke of how she had been inspired by watching all the nominations with her family and picked out Sexperience,  Chosen and Troubled Minds for special mention.

Just playing the numbers game, the BBC with its pots of cash for education scored 2 awards. Littl’ ol’ Channel 4 bagged 5. And some 5…

For Educational Impact in Primetime  Chosen (True Vision for More4) – three courageous men disclose the abuse they suffered at school. Turned down by 17 commissioning editors before More 4 had the balls. Talking of Balls, one of the three protagonists, Tom, drafted a set of recommendations taken up almost in their entirety by Secretary of State for Education Ed Balls when he reviewed this area in the wake of this film. The jury said: “A revelatory and dignified film… which explored paedophilia by allowing three highly articulate middle-aged men to tell their own stories of having been groomed and serially abused by teachers in the same public school as they were growing up.”

For the 11-16 Years category KNTV Sex produced by Tern Television (whose trusty leader Harry Bell – he knows a good Rioja when he sees one – I caught up with in the bar afterwards) – a lively, funny animation (punctuated with weird archive from Eastern Europe) tackling tackle and other forbidden subjects. The jury said: “A witty and uncompromising look at a subject of great relevance to its target audience. It uses first-class entertainment devices and characters to deliver tough content. An engaging and fun watch with real take-home for the viewer.”

For Campaigns Jamie’s Ministry of Food (Fresh One for Channel 4) – love him or loathe him, you have to admire Jamie’s commitment. I was lucky enough to work on Jamie’s School Dinners which in many ways set the gold standard for mainstream Public Service TV. The jury said: “The winning series was utterly brilliant – it truly enriched the lives of the people involved and gave the viewer a rare insight into other people’s lives.”

For Factual Education 7/7: The Angels of Edgware Road (Testimony Films for Channel 4) – driven by one committed film-maker, a story of people who risked their lives to save others. The jury said: “not only a deeply moving account of the appalling events on the London Underground in 2005 but challenged its audience to consider their own responses if faced with the dilemma of whether to save themselves, or try to save others.”

For Educational Impact in Primetime (Series) Can’t Read Can’t Write (RDF Media for Channel 4) – teacher extraordinaire Phil Beadle (who I worked with on The Unteachables) again teaches the ‘unteachable’, this time adults who have never grasped reading and writing and had given up. Now two of the featured contributors have written books! The jury said: “powerful storytelling and memorable sequences within this important series which highlighted the shockingly high numbers of British adults who cannot read or write. The jury was genuinely surprised by the extraordinarily brave characters whose stories were at the heart of the series, finding them engaging, surprising and honest.” Compare that one for example to BBC RAW for flair, passion and imagination.

Sexperience lost out for Innovation in Education to the BBC’s School Report which marshals the whole BBC machine – BBC News, Radio 4′s Today, the network of local radio stations, the Full Monty/Aunty – to encourage children to try out news journalism. Laudable and solid. But an exact replica of Channel 4′s Breaking the News for a different audience (Newsround age as opposed to 14-19) which won an Education RTS in 2005, a year before School Report was launched. Yes, a strange choice given Raw’s Battlefront was the other nominee.

All of this illustrates how Channel 4 is the grit in the PSB oyster. The BBC would be even Blander (scuse the pun) without the boundary pushing of C4 and its discovery and nurturing of talent. On BBC Jamie cooks and makes a dish, on C4 he campaigns around food and makes a difference. (He was discovered of course by an ex-C4 PA who followed her passion straight out of Charlotte Street to become a highly successful exec producer, Pat Llewellyn.) Digital Britain has highlighted and backed C4′s place in British media and started rolling an exciting updated remit:

Championing and promoting creativity and new talent across all digital
media, by:
●● Investing in a wide range of original, innovative, high-quality audiovisual
content, including film, which provides alternative perspectives
and reflects the cultural diversity of the UK.
●● Providing audio-visual services and programming that can stimulate
learning and which will inform, challenge and inspire people, particularly
older children and younger audiences.
●● Maintaining a strong commitment to distinctive national and
international news and current affairs.
●● Enabling through partnership the development and reach of other public
service content from British cultural organisations.
●● Developing new services and applications to support its overall role,
embracing the potential of all digital media to connect with audiences
in new ways and to encourage the wider take-up of and participation in
new digital media by audiences.

Porn to be Wild

Anna Richardson vs Porn

Anna Richardson vs Porn

With headlines like “Porn Scandal Minister Faces Axe” in the press yesterday (they have a Minister for everything these days), what a great day to launch the next phase of Sexperience which accompanies the new series of The Sex Education Show: The Sex Education Show vs Porn.

The Sun ran a double page centrespread as only the Sun can – an outraged “Pornification of Our Kids” headline, bridling at the impact of porn on teens, laid over the torso of a stunna in black lace bra and panties, head cropped off not that any objectification was going on.

The site, updated for the new series, got off to a cracking start with

  • 414,000 pageviews in the first 3 hours!
  • 60,000 visits in those 3 hours
  • over 1,000 questions submitted by users in the same period

The Sex Education Show continues this evening at 9pm on Channel 4.

Pornification

Pornification

Alpha Mails

sexperience

Sexperience - The Sex Education Show on-line

Following up my recent in-depth analysis of the Daily Mail, I return to that august journal to gather together some of its readers’ comments on the article it published yesterday about The Sex Education Show on Channel 4 whose on-line presence is Sexperience.

Mail/male journo says: “Channel 4 has been accused of peddling obscenity… school pupils asked to discuss pornography… In the programme a group of boys were shown close-up images of penises and asked which they thought was the average size… A male model’s genitals were also shown in close up as a female doctor described in depth the anatomy of the penis… a group of schoolgirls looking at pictures of different size breasts… Shocked viewers said Channel 4 was guilty of broadcasting indecency into family homes… One viewer contacting a TV message board said Channel 4 was ‘reaching new lows’… Conservative MP David Davies added: [...] ‘do we really need to have these things graphically discussed by schoolchildren at 8pm in the evening when we are having our tea?’ “

Mail readers say:

My husband and I watched it with our 12 year old son, and it sparked a really honest and helpful discussion. The pictures of genitalia were not prurient or arousing and it was actually helpful for him to see how other normal people looked, without resorting to porn. The point that the program made with those pictures is that normal people don’t look like porn stars, so be happy with your body. A pretty good message for young men and women, I think!

Well done, Channel 4 – we’ll be watching next week!

- Annie, Lincoln, UK

Personally as a parent of teenagers I thought it was a very informative and “real” programme. I think it would be far more useful to show teenagers a show like this instead of the tepid sex education stuff they usually get at school. If they got real life education such as this then maybe they would have less STD`s and less unwanted pregnancies.

- Jeff, CHESTER

I thought it was extremely well done, it was not vulgar or seedy in any way at all, in fact at 48 with 4 children I learn something new, I could never understand why condoms were so tight and hard to put on until I watched that programme and found out there were different sizes available! Shouldn’t teenagers know that? Fantastic useful and educational, well done channel 4

- David Burns, COVENTRY

Channel 4 has a special remit – it is neither a channel designed for ‘everybody’. The real disgrace is no other broadcaster would make such a program because they are paranoid about offending viewers at that time – 8pm is the right time but no earlier.

They have done nothing wrong – clearly educational even when containing explicit detail.

Viewers were warned about the images multiple times – do they have no responsibility or do they just rubberneck for the sake of being offended?

- Ali, Liverpool

This show is educational. Society needs to be less scared of talking about sex. Unless you prefer teen pregnancy that is.

- Arwen, Edinburgh

We can do without this on TV. It is the sort of thing that was subject of some banter on the mess-decks of the RN, and even sailors would not have been so vulgar in another environment.

- LionelB, Dundee

There is always the “amazing off switch” for viewers to use, if they do not like what they are viewing or are embarassed by this programme.

- John Rodwell, Rye

I didn’t watch the show, but i had already heard about it. Why is it so wrong for boys to look at a photo of a penis? Or girls to look at breasts? I don’t understand? Surely it educates children and dispels alot of myths.

- Michaela Cerda, Essex

It’s about time this country developed a grown up attitude to sexual matters.

Just what were those viewers who complained expecting from the programme?

For God sake GROW UP!

- David Maggs, Devizes

If I don’t need to see male genitalia on tv at all, let alone before 9pm, then I very much doubt kids do either!

How many children will have still been awake and watching tv (likely unsupervised in their rooms) at this time?

Ridiculous.

Grow up C4!

- Anonymouse, UK

The teenage boys shown in the photo, which I assume are a good example of modern youth, look look a bunch of thugs, I doubt that they learnt anything new by watching the TV.

- Robert the EX-Brit, Sumter, USA

Robert the EX-Brit… the teenage boys in the photo do not look like thugs at all. This witch hunt against teenagers needs to stop. As for the program, their parents consented to it, so it’s fine, in fact, we need a culture that is more open and understanding about sex.

- John, Sheffield

Robert the EX-Brit, I watched this progremme. The school boys on the show (pictured) came across as thoughtful, eloquent, intelligent young men. It is obvious from your remarks that you did not watch it (being in the US). Please do not tar all youngsters here in such a way. Remember, sometimes it is better to keep quiet than to speak and let everyone know you are an idiot!

- WA, Oxford

So it’s ok to show fight scenes on Coronation Street, domestic abuse on Emmerdale and advertisements for films where people routinely slaughter each other, but it’s not ok to educate and inform young people who are having sex ANYWAY about the dangers out there. What a load of hypocrites.

- Janice, London

one reason I never watch channel 4

- Christina Crosbie, LESMAHAGOW SCOTLAND

Oh for goodness sake, I wish people would wake up!

This is a modern society where our children and teenagers are exposed to the internet, they know the airbrushed, highlighted and soft pornographic side of sex which is zero education, this programme showed the honesty and reality of sexual organs and sex in all its gory detail, its what responisble parents should be doing anyway, not glossing over the birds and bees story to a 13 year old child who is then more than likely going to naively get into trouble.

I wish more parents would speak to their children so honestly, this isn’t the 1950′s anymore! And if you don’t like it, don’t watch it, there’s plenty of drivel on the other channels to switch your brain off to and brush the ‘shhhhh… sex’ chat under the carpet.

- Ellie, London


Guardian/female journo says: “This is not my kind of thing, as a rule – people talking openly about sex, how much they’re getting it, what kind they’re getting. I’d rather clean the oven. But this show claimed to present both teenage and adult perspectives on all matters sexual. And because I have both a 16-year-old son and a nine-year-old daughter, any advice on how to broach this stuff in a way that is less likely to scar my offspring for life is gratefully received.

As it turned out, I didn’t need to make notes, because teenage son decided to watch it with me. Which I guess was what Channel 4 intended when they gave it a pre-watershed 8pm slot, but was entirely unexpected and potentially horrifically embarrassing (no, for ME, not him). He wandered in at the start, asked what I was watching, and decided to “give it five minutes”. By the end he admitted it had been “interesting” and “useful”. And in the mumble-heavy vocabulary of a 16-year-old boy, I believe that counts as a glowing review.

So was it any good? Well, yes, I think it was”

Screen from the Sexperience website

Screen from the Sexperience website

Practically living in The Sun

Anna Richardson and Sexperience

Anna Richardson and Sexperience

My next project, Sexperience (aka Sex Education), has sneaked out quietly into the world…

…in The Sun.

That’s two Sun spots in a couple of weeks (Osama Loves hit that august journal on 23rd July). It’s good to break out from the narrow confines of the broadsheet world from time to time and enjoy the super soaraway expanses of The Sun. Which reminds me, I’m off on hols at the end of the week so no action in these quarters for a couple of weeks.

Osama Loves in the Currant Bun

Osama Loves in the Currant Bun

(Talking of wide expanses, Osama Loves made the evening TV news in Canada the day before yesterday)

Update 01.09.08:

Here’s the holding screen for Sexperience (including an indicative video clip) which launches tomorrow

and here’s a rather good mash-up of that Sexperience clip by Paul Carr, a man with delightfully too much time on his hands ;-)

Currently reading Paul’s new book Bringing Nothing to the Party which won my Phrase of the Day the other day with: “the litigious little cunt” – not quite Swift but made me laugh out loud on the Tube in context

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