Documentary Season (TV)

I wanted to talk a little bit about documentaries, since I’m currently working on my second documentary project at university and there seems to be an awful lot of documentaries out there to explore right now (especially across the BBC). I’ve listed below a few of the documentaries I’ve watched recently and whether or not I thought they were particularly interesting.

Louis Theroux – Saville (BBC 2)

I’m pretty sure most of the British public have watched at least one of this man’s many documentaries. This new film however, captured my interest after I found out that Louis had done a previous documentary in which he’d met the, then alive and still notorious Jimmy Saville. Within this new documentary, 16 years later, Louis tries to get his head around how he too was fooled (along with almost everybody) by Saville.

Even people who do evil things….do good things from time to time – doesn’t make them good people

I really enjoyed this documentary, as despite it’s uncomfortable subject matter, it really gives you an understanding of how manipulative and controlling Saville could be. Literally almost everyone thought of him as a National Treasure even for some time after his death.

America’s Hate Preachers (BBC 3)

BBC 3 have always created controversial, yet important documentaries about current affairs/issues. In particular I’m seeing a lot of films surrounding the issues of gun crime, extremism and racism in the USA. This documentary focuses in on America’s right to ‘freedom of speech’; allowing extremists to take to the streets and churches of America, in order to spread their controversial and often highly offensive views.

BBC’s Hannah Livingston had therefore spent six months tracking two of America’s most radical Christian hate groups; including a notorious pastor who has actually been banned from the UK. This documentary had it’s ups and downs for me – it was interesting to see what some people think is acceptable to preach or even say to the general public. However, other than showcasing these extremists – there isn’t an awful lot more to this documentary – the only thing I felt after watching this documentary was anger, I did not come away from the documentary with many thoughts about how to change the current situation.

Reggie Yates: Life and Death In Chicago (BBC 3)

Against the backdrop of unprecedented, continuous gun violence Reggie Yates travels to Chicago to investigate gun crime in President Obama’s adopted hometown. This documentary is one of the best that BBC 3 have produced, in my opinion; the stories told within the film are both heartbreaking and life changing.

To read more on this particular documentary please click here.

A World Without Down’s Syndrome? (BBC 2)

This documentary has been widely talked about since it’s release in both negative and positive ways. The documentary is about the ethics of pregnancy screening for Down’s Syndrome; it’s also presented by Sally Phillips whom has a child of her own with the condition. This film explores both the science & the way the general public are thinking about the proposed new screening test for Down’s syndrome and its possible availability on the NHS.

By talking to experts in the Down’s syndrome community, the world’s top scientists and including people with Down’s syndrome in the debate, Sally investigates a highly controversial subject that begs questions relevant to us all….

 ‘What sort of world do we want to live in and who do we want in it?’

This was definitely a very thought-provoking documentary for me, I found it fascinating to here from both people who would, or have, chose to terminate their child because of this life-changing condition. It is also interesting to see society as a whole, be exposed for being able to essentially ‘choose’ what kind of child they would like.

Ramble over.


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