Did you hear the one about climate change? Bafta is calling for more TV plots, including comedies, to mention climate change in scripts. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts believes TV can play a part in changing people’s attitudes towards the planet, citing past initiatives based on health and social issues.
The report, prepared by Bafta and was also supported by analysis from Deloitte, analysed a year’s worth of subtitles from 40 TV channels and found that “beer” (21,648) “tea” (60,060) and “dog” (105,245) popped up in scripts more than “climate change” (3,125). References to “climate change” got about as much airtime as references to “zombie”, “urine” and “rhubarb”.
Bafta’s chairwoman Dame Pippa Harris said: “The TV industry’s call to address climate change is clear.
“It’s time to write a different script,… use powerful human stories to connect audiences with the world around them”.
Why does Bafta want us to switch from kitchen sink dramas to recycling bin dilemmas? According to the BBC News “Television is still seen as a very powerful medium which can change the public’s opinion of health and social issues”. When a soap such as Eastenders features health and social issues related charities often report an increase in calls for help.
Screenwriter Lisa Holdsworth says: “We’re beginning to see the real-life effects of climate change on people who’ve no choice but to bear the brunt of it and, I think, if television and drama are not reflecting that, we’re not doing our job properly.”
In a statement, the BBC said it was “helping to arm audiences with the facts on climate change and sustainability”.
Adding: “We will be commissioning more programmes which challenge and inform audiences, while building up our collection of online resources and archive about our planet and the environment in which we live.”