Popular media personality and Walkley award-winning journalist, Marc Fennell, hosts The School That Tried to End Racism, an audacious three-part series commissioned by the ABC with production investment from Screen Australia.
Premiering later this year on ABC and ABC iview, the series explores a ground-breaking social experiment designed to educate school children in racial bias and provide them with the tools to make positive change.
Produced by Screentime Australia and filmed recently at a Western Sydney primary school, a team of inspirational educators and psychologists attempt to reverse the racial bias in an ordinary multicultural class of 10-11-year-old children. Using a bold new program for the first time in Australia, the series follows the students and their families as they confront racism head on in an effort to unpack the status quo.
Marc Fennell says “This series is one of the most important things I have ever been a part of. It’s about solutions. Too often, conversations about race in Australia get derailed by accusations, offense, and defensiveness. This program is about honesty and tangible, inclusive change. These big-hearted students, teachers, and families have taught me so much about what Australia could be. I can’t wait for you to meet them.”
ABC’s Managing Editor Factual, Richard Huddleston says “This is such a timely series, and my thanks go out to everyone from the school and its community who should be really proud of what they have achieved. Their collective experience will start conversations, create change and inspire audiences of all ages”.
Screen Australia’s Head of Content, Sally Caplan says “We are proud to support this documentary which is set to add to the critical conversation around racism and aims to inform the cultural debate on a confronting and complex issue. It’s a program that has the potential to inspire change and transform lives and I look forward to seeing it on ABC later this year.”
Deborah Spinocchia, Screentime Australia Executive Producer, says “It has been a truly humbling experience to work with students, teachers and parents who all courageously volunteered their time to tackle such an important issue. Watching the school program unfold offered insights into the deep thinking of young students while allowing space for self-reflection and the unsettling discovery of the toll of racism on both young and old.”
The School That Tries To End Racism will air on ABC and ABC iview later this year.
Production Credit: The School That Tried To End Racism is a Screentime Australia production for the ABC. Major production investment from the ABC in association with Screen Australia. Financed with support from Screen NSW. Screentime Executive Producers: Deborah Spinocchia and Johnny Lowry. Series Director: John Karabelas. ABC Commissioning Editor: Julie Hanna. ABC Managing Editor Factual: Richard Huddleston. ABC Head of Factual and Culture: Jennifer Collins.
Based on The School That Tried to End Racism: an original program by Proper Content Limited licensed and distributed by Banijay Rights Limited.
Charlotte Moore unveils landmark, with commissioners ‘more joined up than ever’
The BBC is to embed religious themes more regularly into programming across all genres as it unveils a Faith and Hope for Spring 2021 season complete with BBC1 landmark.
Chief content officer Charlotte Moore said her commissioning teams are “more joined up than ever” around cross-genre religious themes, helped by preparations for the commissioning restructure that kicks off next month.
A religious steering group led by Moore with commissioning editor Daisy Scalchi and several others is meeting once every two months and feeding back to genre teams on how they can better represent all religions, tell religious stories and cover areas such as live worship.
Speaking on a webinar this morning, Moore said the BBC’s behind-the-camera diversity push is also helping with attempts to represent people across the religious spectrum.
“The pandemic has changed how we’re thinking about reaching communities and the amount we can now communicate means we are much closer to our audiences,” she added.
Scalchi cited Saturday Kitchen spin-off Celebration Kitchen and landmarks such as BBC2 drama The Windermere Children and doc series Michael Palin: Travels of a Lifetime as “examples where religion can be included across a wide variety of content”.
A dedicated religion rail on iPlayer will soon launch, along with a BBC Sounds section.
“Conversations about religiosity have come to the surface since lockdown and we can see that reflected in the wider range of viewers who are coming to our religious programmes,” said Scalchi.
“We can also do more in terms of providing content about specific faiths or reflecting beliefs that may fall outside of a specific religious lens.”
Leading the Faith and Hope for Spring season is a BBC1 five-parter called Being… from Channel 4 Growth Fund indie Proper Content and Banijay-backed Workerbee.
Each episode will spotlight a different religious group, highlighting how faiths celebrate life’s big milestones.
Proper is forging the Jewish and Hindu episodes and Workerbee is behind Christian, Muslim and Sikh. David Dehaney and Michelle Chappell are exec producing.
BBC1 is also to show the Easter Day Eucharist with Archbishop of Canterbury next month, while BBC Northern Ireland and BBC Scotland are also behind other religious shows and there is a huge range of radio programming.
By: Max Goldbart
Looking for something to do this weekend? Well, we’re here to bring you five more sports stories you can watch on BBC iPlayer.
This week: a scandal that shook figure skating, personal testimonies from footballers on the receiving end of racial abuse, a touching tale about wrestling, bringing football back to Bury, and a tour with the Great Britain Lions.
Shame in The Game: Racism in Football
This BBC Three documentary came out in February 2020, but the experiences of Premier League players Anthony Martial, Axel Tuanzebe and Romaine Sawyers this week show it remains depressingly relevant.
The film is made up of personal testimonies from players at different levels of the men’s and women’s games in England. Among them, Inih Effiong describes fans making racist gestures at him while he played for Dover Athletic, and former Tottenham defender Renee Hector speaks about the horrific abuse she was sent after suffering the first recorded case of racist abuse in women’s professional football.
It shows the devastating impact the abuse can have on the players and their families, and asks what can be done to stop it.
Watch Shame in The Game: Racism in Football
By Ciaran Varley
Release Date: 30th January 2021
Daisy Maskell opens up for Proper Content single
Suicidal: In Our Own Words producer Proper Content is behind Daisy Maskell – Insomnia and Me, which follows BBC3 docs following the personal struggles of the likes of Little Mix’s Jesy Nelson and Leigh-Anne Pinnock.
Kiss and 4Music host Maskell will dig deep into the roots of her own insomnia and speak with experts to reveal emotional insights into her disorder, along with associated mental health issues.
According to Kings College London, around half of 16-24 year olds have been sleeping significantly less since lockdown, falling to one-third for people over the age of 35.
BBC3 controller Fiona Campbell ordered the 60-minute single along with head of documentary commissioning Clare Sillery.
Campbell said: “We know insomnia is a growing problem among our audience and we hope this documentary helps to shed some light on the issue.”
The School That Tried To End Racism indie sells minority stake
Proper Content has joined Channel 4’s Indie Growth Fund cohort, as the broadcaster acquires a stake in David DeHaney’s indie.
The deal forms part of a pivot by head of Growth Fund Caroline Murphy to focus investment on BAME-owned and nations & regions indies. C4 invested in Cardiff-based Yeti Media earlier this year, with Murphy hopeful of closing a total of three deals in 2020.
She said that the deal with Proper Content will help it to “grow and prosper”.
“David has a proven track record in creating engaging factual programmes which explore important and challenging social issues,” Murphy added.
A former exec at Love Productions, Firecracker and Nutopia, DeHaney launched Proper Content in 2016 and won a Grierson Award for 2019 Channel 5 documentary Suicidal: In Our Own Words.
Previously part of C4’s Indielab Accelerator scheme, Proper signed a first-look distribution deal with Banijay last year.
DeHaney has forged a reputation for tackling challenging topics including BBC3’s Britain’s Gay Footballers and The Baby Borrowers and C4’s Young, Autistic & Stagestruck.
“Our passion has always been to make difficult subjects entertaining and accessible, which can genuinely make a difference to people’s lives,” DeHaney said. “Our other passion is to become a hot-bed of talent who want to do the same.”