I believe that we as documentary makers in general and natural history commissioners and producers in particular have a responsibility to lead by some kind of example. Blurring the edges of truth with overly elaborate recreations doesn't help viewers re-establish that human bond with the natural world which has always been important, and which I think is going to be utterly essential in the coming years.
Behind the fun, the fundraising and the baths of baked beans involved in raising money for Sport Relief and Red Nose Day, there's a serious message. And it is this. Poverty and injustice blights millions of lives across the world, including here at home in the UK...
A feature-length documentary originally designed to follow the heavy metal band Lamb of God and their fans throughout the world to show how their music has gone global and can bring people together took a dramatic Kafkaesque turn when lead singer, Randy Blythe was arrested in Prague on a manslaughter charge...
At the end of 2011, I heard about a new documentary being made by a director called Mark Hartley. It was to be called Electric Boogaloo and tell the story of notorious B movie production company Cannon Films, who made classics like Missing In Action with Chuck Norris and American Ninja amongst hundreds of others.
Northern Soul wasn't so much a scene to many, as much as it was a way of life. These tunes were the most obscure of the obscure, plucked from indie labels in the ghettos of Detroit and Chicago. Some songs were only ever intended as demos, and here in the UK they found a new lease of life.
In Year 10, I didn't have one English teacher; I had six - a new supply teacher for each half term. I remember asking myself why it was that nobody wanted to stay at our school, but looking around me it wasn't that difficult to see why. Our school building was old and crumbling, we were oversubscribed, and classes were packed.
Teenage uses archive footage alongside narrated stories of real young people of the time, the film explores the birth of the modern teenager as well as early subcultures like the Bright Young Things and the Swing movement in the United States. The film also explores what life was like for teenagers under the Nazis.
From Blake Lively's schnoz to Megan Fox's ongoing face transplant, celebrities as we know them are not exactly queuing up to admit to their surgery. Things couldn't be more different in Venezuela, where, on the contrary, a new nose, some porcelain teeth and cheek implants are somewhat of a status symbol, in a nation where facial bandages are worn with pride.
Imagine a friend giving you a present. It's a free Metro newspaper he got on the bus. You could as well have picked one up yourself. Now, another friend gives you a special magazine she thought you'd really like. You will appreciate its value which lies in a combination of quality content and the fact that she actually bought it for you... We hope to attract enough participants to get our experiment to a self-sustainable level, but we're not quite there yet.
Far from a one-off, clusters of social breakdown blight thousands of similar streets across Britain. The injustice is real and the costs to our country are high. When Benefits Street is over we can't just sit back and wait for a second series. We have seen and we must act.
At the risk of stating the very obvious it is clear from the title of the documentary series 'Benefits Street' that the aim of the film makers was to identify those featured on the show primarily as benefit claimants.
The late Sir Wilfred Thesiger seems to be the man of the moment... It is an ironic accolade and tribute to the man given that, when he was alive and in an age where reality TV and celebrity adventurers didn't exist, he never quite received the recognition that he probably deserved.
While few political commentators, bloggers and pundits have yet to offer a view on Channel 4's Benefits Street, a programme dubbed 'poverty porn' by critics, there is one voice largely missing from the debate: that of those receiving benefits across Britain.
It is true that some of the residents of James Turner Street have not made the best nor wisest of decisions during their lives, but the response that the programme has generated has been both violent and deeply concerning.
In many ways, Channel 4 has accomplished something that very rarely happens in the mainstream media. It has managed to create a three way dynamic that forces us to question ourselves. It has asked us to watch ourselves watching the residents of Benefits Street. Now that I can see that, I'm not sure I like what I see.
I'm no opponent of fantasy, or of shock value. I also don't believe McKerrow or his company set out to deceive or mislead anyone. I do, however, know first-hand the disconnect between us media folk, who are comfortable living our lives as a dance of smoke and mirrors, and ordinary people, who assume that when they say things they will usually be taken as meant. The problem here isn't any kind of sinister right-wing agenda (as critics of Benefits Street allege). Rather, the media's fluid reality has clashed against the more unyielding reality known to most people, with uncomfortable results.