BBC Three – Breaking Out of Bradford

The interesting thing about commissioning programs for BBC Three is how they’re “‘never afraid to try new things’ and will continue to innovate with breakthrough comedy, stand-out entertainment, brave documentary and intelligent factual formats.” (BBC Three, u.d.) They use real people and situations to tell really informative but also diverse stories in the documentary format. In this documentary, it focuses on a girl called Lelia, a 25 year old from Bradford who is training to be a barrister and go to law school on a scholarship.


The program mainly focuses on how she wants to achieve her goal of being a barrister in a mainly male dominant and sophisticated career. She also talks about how when she was younger, she would always be faced with sexism because she claims that ‘boys always got what they wanted’ and she has to strive even more into proving that she is going to be a good barrister. Not only that but the program focuses on part time job as a teacher, the audience see some actuality of her teaching the children and her approach is very straightforward, and to the point. She seems like a down to earth person in the program and I think the program aimed for her to be seen in a positive light as she is very humorous, and ambitious. The program also states some facts about law students and the acceptance rate, only half of the applicants get in.

bbc-threeeThe resolution at the end of the program was that she got accepted into The University of Leeds Law School but still needs funding for her degree which is a satisfying end for audiences watching the short documentary on BBC Three.


BBC – BBC Three – Commissioning. Retrieved 2 April 2017, from

Breaking out in Bradford. BBC iPlayer. Retrieved 2 April 2017, from



Serial Podcast

Serial the podcast is one of the most interesting podcasts to listen to because of how diverse and captivating it is. The podcast focuses on a season dedicated to telling a story of a murder with real people and real cases which inspire listeners to make a decision themselves on who did it and given the evidence provided in the show on why they had a motive to do it. According to Serial’s website it “has won several awards, including the Peabody, Edward R. Murrow, duPont-Columbia, Scripps Howard, and Silver Gavel Award for Media and the Arts. Serial, like This American Life, is produced in collaboration with WBEZ Chicago.” (Serial, n.d) Audiences are not only intrigued by the stories but how it is told is very informative making this factual program very enjoyable to listen to.


As well as that, The Guardian published an article which described how much of an impact this podcast as had on it’s listeners and claimed that there are “five million detectives trying to figure out if Adnan is a psychopath.” (Ronson, 2014) As well as that “episode one arrived without much fanfare – just some promotion by its parent show, This American Life – but what happened next was dizzying. It immediately became the world’s most popular podcast – a sensation. It achieved 5m downloads on iTunes – faster than any podcast in history. (BBC Radio 4 Extra has just picked it up for broadcast too.)” (Ronson, 2014) In another article, they’ve claimed that “each episode of Serial now averages 2.2m listeners, a podcasting record and a particularly striking achievement given that an audience of 300,000 listeners would have been considered a success. In fact, Serial has now been downloaded more than 20m times. “The way it has evolved has surprised us at numerous turns,” says Emily Condon, one of the show’s producers.” (Gordon, 2014)

newsweek.jpgOne of the factors that make this podcast such a success is the fact that the voice over is not monotonous which is possibly the most crucial in captivating listeners because it is a podcast and there isn’t any visual effects only sound so for the presenting voice to have a clear accent helps to understand the story. Not only that but the characters are engaging because they’re telling their side of the story and the listeners are piecing it all together in their heads to make a conclusion. This would translate very nicely as a visual medium because it is such a strong podcast. Furthermore, “Serial has been praised for the rigour of its journalism, and its presentation of multiple perspectives on the murder. For Melanie Bunce, a lecturer in journalism at City University in London and a self-confessed Serial addict, this has reduced the ethical doubts around it. “I can understand that people feel [the show is] making a drama of real people’s lives,” she says. “But . . . it’s more important than just entertainment.” (Gordon, 2014)


About Serial. Serial. Retrieved 2 April 2017, from

Gordon, S. (2014). ‘Serial’: inside a podcast phenomenon. Retrieved 2 April 2017, from

Ronson, J. (2014). Serial: The Syed family on their pain and the ‘five million detectives trying to work out if Adnan is a psychopath’. the Guardian. Retrieved 2 April 2017, from


Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time there was an author called Robert Thirkell who wrote the incredibly insightful book called ‘C.O.N.F.L.I.C.T’. He wrote about two chapter which are relevant to the task we have been set for this weeks blog task. He wrote about in one particular chapter the ‘creative sparks’  and how it is good to be on the lookout for as many stories as possible. He also mentions in this book that the most important ingredient for a story is for it to have ambition. You start out with a simple idea and expand upon it to make it so that it’s ambitious. An example he mentioned in the book is Jamie Oliver’s school dinners, this is ambitious in what it’s trying to change according to Thirkell by trying to change eating habits of children in the UK but ambition, makes it sell around the world which is an interesting concept to think about when coming up with an idea in pre-production.

He also talks about how meeting contributors and persuading people to contribute into doing the program is a hard task in itself because of negotiations. He claims that he will spend two hours finding the right contributor and once meeting with them he will simply talk 3/4 of the way about life and finding common ground. In fact, they got a statement from a former controller, legal and compliance, Channel 4, MD, Media Law Consultancy saying that the key thing is trust and wording the agreement to take place is vital for the contributor.

Not only that but later on in the book, Thirkell talks about how people skills are equally important into keeping lots of different constituencies happy. I think Thirkell’s book is really interesting as it not only teaches you a lot about how to keep a contributor happy and keep them in the fold even if the producer decides they don’t want them in the final cut is vital to a show’s success. He mentioned in the book that you want to push the boundaries of the contributor but also make them feel happy and comfortable to do so, this obviously comes with a lot of practice but it all depends on how you treat people as a whole which comes in handy when trying to gain contributors for a program. The book C.O.N.F.L.I.C.T is so compelling and useful when wanting to gain information into how you get people to trust you enough to take part in a show you are filming.

Robert Thirkell’s book C.O.N.F.L.I.C.T is truly a one of a kind book which offers some extremely insightful and thoughtful analysis into gaining contributors, and they all lived happily ever after.

BBC World Service – In Search of Henk and Ingrid

The locations in the BBC Radio show, In Search of Henk and Ingrid, involves a lot of public speaking with one of the politicians, Geert Wilders’, and they described him as the “radical right-wing Party For Freedom (PVV) – which wants to close mosques and ban the Qur’an – is expected to be one of the big winners in next week’s general election. Wilders says his typical voters are “Henk and Ingrid” – Holland’s Mr and Mrs Average. Tim Whewell sets out to find Henk and Ingrid in parts of the Netherlands that tourists, and Holland’s own elite, rarely see.” (BBC, 2017) The presenter, sets out on a journey and interviews a lot of interesting people along the way which adds to the depth of the program as you can visually see in your head everything you’re hearing because of the sounds of the location in the background. It is done really effectively.

NETHERLANDS-TRIAL-WILDERSThe locations that are described within the radio show are very interesting because at one point, it is made known that the political stance in Holland has taken an effect on locals because they shut their own houses and they describe how the shutters are down to make it a little safer and that they are kind of excluded from the rest of the town because of what’s going on in with the elections and rest of the neighborhoods. Whilst having a tour of this neighborhood, they ride bikes throughout it and give a brief explanation that in Holland it’s more effective to ride them and lowers pollution. Listeners can faintly hear the actuality of the rides being rode whilst the local is describing the atmosphere around them which seems to be isolated and rough.


This radio show is very good at describing the location through sound and locals giving detailed descriptions. All together this is a very successful radio location package telling the story of Holland’s elections.


In Search of Henk and Ingrid, Assignment – BBC World Service. (2017). BBC. Retrieved 19 March 2017, from





Manchester’s Serial Killer – Channel 4

The ‘Manchester Pusher’ as previously nicknamed in the program uses a lot of good locations to illustrate the story of the serial killer. Allegedly, “85 people – 72 of them men – have died in rivers, canals or other waterways in Greater Manchester between 2008 and 2014. Eleven of them were found dead in Manchester city centre” (Scheerhout, 2016) by a serial killer who is unknown to the police. The location of the canal adds to the depth of the documentary because it is local around the Manchester area and makes people more aware of how dangerous it actually is. Other locations they used skillfully to portray how serious the situation and how poignant the story is, would be the victims houses that have a family member describe what it was like losing someone they loved. This enhanced the story as it showed how much it’s affected young people. In addition, they also used footage from CCTV to back up the point of how it could happen at any point to anyone.


The locations are really important in conveying the story, they pointed out in the documentary the key areas where the killer had attacked his victims which the audience could feel unnerved by. This emotion response enables them to view how, as previously mentioned, the families are dealing with the loss. According to the Daily Star, “” (Culley, 2016) This adds more to the case because the audience then become invested in who is the Manchester Pusher and why is he luring down the canals. This is also highlighted in the program along with the locations in Peel Park, Salford Crescent Train Station and Media City UK, two of the locations are based near student villages.


The locations of the canals and the street views highlight just how serious the situation is and also makes citizens aware of the dangers in the locations that they have shot at. The Manchester Pusher is responsible for a lot of deaths which have alerted a lot of the general public since coming out in the Channel 4 documentary. One Twitter user complained that the evidence they supplied on the program in the CCTV location wasn’t clear enough, “ CCTV in Manchester ” (Rodney Marks, 2016) and another user noted that “Birmingham has twice the canals & half the deaths? Not in city centre, Manchester has loads more canal. This programme is skewed ” (Lee Kyle, 2016)


The Manchester Serial Killer raises a lot of questions amongst audiences but the locations that this program is set in helps to raise awareness in the places the killer has been attacking victims and also to illustrate a story told by both the families, police department evidence and specialist opinions.


Culley, J. (2016). REVEALED: Favourite ‘murder spots’ of feared Canal Pusher serial killer. Retrieved 19 March 2017, from

Scheerhout, J. (2016). Fact or fiction? Ten things we learned about ‘The Pusher’. Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 19 March 2017, from

Commisioning Meeting

For this assignment at University of Salford, I have been tasked with pitching my idea to my tutor to see if it is suitable for a show we had to pick. I chose to do a BBC Three Short Documentary as originally planned but the idea had changed to a day in the life of a paranoid schizophrenic. Whilst researching this idea I found a lot of interesting facts like “It affects about 1 in every 100 people and it usually starts during early adulthood. It does not mean that you have a split personality or that you are likely to be violent. The symptoms of schizophrenia can be split into ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ symptoms.” (Rethink Mental Illness, n.a)


The feedback that was provided from my tutor was very positive as I pitched my idea and found a couple of contributors who fit perfectly for the program. I found an interesting girl who is schizophrenic and has been very open about her struggles with it, I have emailed but had no response yet. Another contributor who I thought would be perfect for the program is an expert in the field of mental health and could shed some light why this is happening and what happens to the brain. All of this and information from charities such as ‘Mind for better mental health’  want to get the word out about the mental illness and the sigma surrounding it.

mind for better.jpg

The only piece of advice that my tutor gave me was to think of back up contributors just in case one fell through and to also think about the locations it would be set if it was in oversea territory or it was local in the UK. Apart from that he stated he would like to have seen this program being made once researched and had all the relevant contacts to make it happen.



What are the causes of schizophrenia? – Rethink Mental Illness, the mental health charity. Retrieved 12 March 2017, from






Newsbeat – The Brit Awards

Newsbeats reported live at the infamous award show, The Brits whilst interviewing artists and presenters at the ceremony they also commented on the issue that Stormzy reportedly helped to create more diversity. Newsbeat commented that Stormzy “pushed the BritsSoWhite hashtag and it trended on Twitter. Soon Lily Allen, Laura Mvula and Wolf Alice were among the acts to criticise the lack of people from so-called “black music genres” picking up nominations. Stomzy then put out the track One Take Freestyle, calling the Brit Awards “embarrassing”. The BPI reacted by getting Stormzy in for a chat about changes to the voting system.” (Newsbeat, 2017) The location item had actuality of fans screaming for the bands that they liked and it worked for Newsbeat and it was well presented.


The amount of young people that are now tuning into Newsbeat has increased from the “weekly reach of around 3.3 million listeners (compared to an overall Radio 1 audience of just under 11 million). More 15 to 24-year-olds (34% of them) get their news from Newsbeat than from any other BBC TV or radio outlet. Compton says it’s a myth that young people are not interested in news; the challenge is how to reach them.” (Plunkett, 2014) So it’s typical for a location item to be aimed at that age range and appeal to them by reporting at the Brit awards with interviewees such as Little Mix and Emma Willis. The one thing I would improve about how the show is presented is to include more actuality of the awards being announced and the cheers from the audience which could have increased the location item more but overall it was a good coverage of the Brit Awards which appealed to younger audiences and addressed issues of black artist nominations.


How Stormzy helped to change Brits voting system after #BritsSoWhite controversy. (2017). Retrieved 25 February 2017, from

Plunkett, J. (2014). Radio 1’s Newsbeat rips up the rulebook to lure young listeners. the Guardian. Retrieved 25 February 2017, from

Vice Short Documentaries; what women have to lose from an Obamacare appeal.

The story that Vice chose to cover was how women will be affected by the current appeal against Obamacare. Vice have chosen to cover the story from predominantly a female perspective on how stripping back Obamacare can cause women to be more vulnerable to pregnancies, diseases and overall health issues because of ‘gender rating’. In the short documentary it focuses on one female presenter stating the facts regarding the rise in heath care for women and how Obamacare covers them in all circumstances. Vice interestingly uses animated statistics to illustrate the facts effectively to audiences like showing charts and comparisons of men’s health verses women’s and livens up the short doc. Furthermore, Vice have used creditable sources such as the ‘US Department of Health and Human Services’, which makes it a stronger argument. In addition, to back the points up that they were making they used archived footage of interviews, activists and specialists fighting for Obamacare.


Vice’s short documentaries is described by critics as “one of the founders, suggested that he and his band of insurgents were building “the next MTV.” And then there was a promise to become “the next CNN” — outrageous claims at the time, but they are becoming truer every passing day.” (Carr, 2014)  It’s also really ambitious in telling the real life stories of individuals like the documentary where Vice goes inside of Syria front lines. One article described that particular documentary to be “very strong, especially Yeung’s effort that entailed dangerous reporting throughout Syria. For sure, there has been great reporting in the country. But this goes well beyond much of the sporadic American media accounts, which have tended to focus on the battle over Aleppo and the nation’s unceasing humanitarian disaster resulting from a civil war with atrocities on all sides.” (Warren, 2017)

vice news.jpgIf I could change anything about that short documentary is that I would interview more people from different perspectives such as a political figures, male activists and ordinary people who benefit or don’t benefit from this appeal. I think this would add more depth to the program and it would make for a better documentary but as a whole they effectively get the women’s side across and make some interesting and eye opening points on why stripping Obamacare is a bad thing for everyone but especially women.

obamacareThe link to watch the documentary is here:


Carr, D. (2014). Its Edge Intact, Vice Is Chasing Hard News. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Feb. 2017].

Warren, J. (2017). Vice goes inside Syria to show what media censorship really looks like. [online] Poynter. Available at: [Accessed 25 Feb. 2017].

Contacting Contributors

For an assignment at the University of Salford, I have been assigned to research a topic for a TV show and phone up contributors to participate in. At the start of this task I thought it would be easy to find people who liked to talk about their specialist subjects, however, once emailing people and struggling to find phone numbers to actual specialists I discovered it’s a lot harder than I once thought it would be. Unfortunately I only secured one phone which went better than expected. I forgot to ask a few questions that related to my topic area which I’m still deciding on but the phone call went relatively well.

phone calls.png

For the module that I’m doing, I have chosen to do a short BBC Three documentary on debunking the myth of the Loch Ness monster. I have already planned out which contacts I’m going to choose and which would be useful to me, however until I actually get in contact with them I wouldn’t know if they knew a lot of information which could benefit me or not. I plan to contact a range of people from marine biologists, to see if the actual Loch Ness monster is as big and wide as they possible say or if that is a myth too. I will also try to contact fanatics and people with some experience of seeing the monster to get their side of the story then do further research into how the myth came about, what fueled people’s interest in the myth and if the myth can be debunked or to some extent prove that their could be a monster out there.


As for the contributors, I emailed a lot of people regarding the subject but nobody has gotten back to me and I have not managed to secure a phone number so for the next couple of weeks, my task is to find useful information regarding Loch Ness so that I am well informed for when I actually speak to a specialist or anyone willing to talk about their experiences.

BBC Radio 4- A Mix-Tape for Gus

This program was broadcasted on Tuesday 7th of October, at 11:30am where “Young composer Emily Levy sorts through the mix-tapes which her brother Gus made for her, and considers their power both to hurt and to heal since his premature death in an accident.” (BBC Radio 4, 2014) The subject matter touches on some powerful emotions through loss and grieving and how she and her family coped with the loss of her brother whilst listening to the tapes that her brother made. This segment on BBC Radio 4 could also be considered intimate with some listeners because someone else could be dealing with a similar loss and the show could in a way be helping them to also come to terms with their grief. According to the BBC Trust, BBC Radio 4 “should appeal to listeners seeking intelligent programmes in many genres which inform, educate and entertain.” (BBC Trust, n.d) This show sticks to the mission statement of the radio station as it informs viewers of different types of loss.

bbc-radio-4The content could be perceived as personal reflection at a time where Emily Levy was hurting so much and she looks back on her brother and his music, and in a way “she finds solace in the discovery that sharing Gus’ music tastes with others bestows on him a kind of immortality.” (BBC Radio 4, 2014) In addition, the young composer actually commented on what it was like to produce such a touching show and said that it “is a tricky thing to self-promote because it is both so personal and so important to me – however, I’m going for it because I’m really proud of what producer Beaty Rubens and I have created.” (Levy, 2014).

emily-levyProducers have used the actual mix tapes that Gus sent to Emily as “he would make her compilation tapes which brought together his passionate and eclectic taste. When he went off to university, the tape-making continued.” (BBC Radio 4, 2014) They also used opinions on his music from some of Gus’ best friends and people who knew him well saying his personality and music taste was an ‘up the establishment’ attitude. Also at the end of the radio show, a touching tribute was made from his sister to say a final goodbye to a beloved brother and composer.


The interesting thing about this radio show is that it could be translated into a visual medium because of the gripping and heart-warming sentiment of it all. It could be interesting to include visual footage of the distressed sister who is grieving for her brother and it would be a gripping documentary.


BBC – BBC Radio 4 – BBC Trust. Retrieved 10 February 2017, from

BBC,. (2014). A Mix-Tape for Gus. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 10 February 2017, from

Levy, E. (2014). ‘A Mix-Tape for Gus’ Music Documentary | Emily Levy. Retrieved 10 February 2017, from