Channel 4 Documentary - Teenagers and Drugs
UNDER 18 DRUG USE: CHANNEL 4 DOCUMENTARY
I am sure that you get postings like this quite a bit, but I hope you will take a moment to read about a bold and unusually honest TV programme we are making about teenagers and drugs. Really.
Independent production company Betty TV has been commissioned to make a one-hour documentary to be broadcast on Channel 4 this summer, exploring teenage (11-17) drug use in modern Britain. The programme has been commissioned by Richard McKerrow at Channel 4’s Education department and will be aired on Channel 4.
We are looking for people in the appropriate age bracket to talk to about the programme. Ultimately we are looking for 4 or 5 people to film with, around Britain, who collectively, we hope, will represent something of a cross-section through the landscape of modern teenage drug use. (We have started filming with two contributors already.)
WE ARE PARTICULARLY KEEN TO HEAR FROM GIRLS.
We are not interested in making a sensationalist film or one that takes any particular moral stance. We would like to make a programme that is open-minded, non-judgemental and credible. In short, we want to make a programme that places itself a long way from the scandal and scare-mongering that we have seen in much of the media to date. I would like people to make their own mind up, about where they stand on drug use in its various forms, after watching the programme.
The starting point for the programme is the fact that most teenagers ‘experiment’ with drugs and many of them do not go on to experience long term drug related problems. That is not to say that we are not also looking at the costs of drug use and the potentially devastating effects of some drugs – we are - but the media often dwells on that overly and fails to explore the wider experience of drugs.
We want to do something that has not been done before on TV before. We are making a programme voiced almost entirely by people aged 17 and under, talking about the drugs that they use and their experiences. There has been a great deal of television to date where experts and politicians tell us what young people think and what they get up to, when it comes to drugs, but nothing where 14, 15 or 16 year olds talk about what they use and why. This seems to be the only way to make a truly honest film about what young people are doing right now drug-wise.
We aim to explore the whole range of drug use (and drugs) in teenage Britain – from cannabis to heroin and crack, via everything in between - and reveal the complexity of the subject. The debate around drugs is over simplified in the media and it is important for me that this programme reflects the fact that drug use is not one homogenous thing and that the effects of drug use can vary enormously from person to person.
Beyond that, I have no more of an agenda, believe it or not. Those who take part will lead the content of the programme. Above all, I hope that this programme will debunk myths by allowing young people who use drugs, a platform to talk about their choices.
I would like to hear from anyone who would be interested in at least having an informal chat over the phone. This does not commit anyone to taking part in the programme. I would be happy to talk with anyone who is interested, about the impact of appearing on television.
For your information: my name is Zac Beattie. I am the assistant producer on the project. Betty TV is a registered company based in London SE1. I can provide any further information about the project that you might require, or confirmation of the commission for broadcast on Channel 4.
Until Wednesday 13th March I am using a temporary email address: firstname.lastname@example.org From Wednesday onwards, I can be reached at email@example.com
My direct line in the office is 020 7537 8577.
Please drop me an email or give me a call. I will call you back if you want so you’re not paying. If I am not at my desk, please leave a message and I’ll call you back.
Cheers for reading –