Damian Kavanagh, Controller, BBC Three, today announces two new Factual commissions for the channel: Professor Green On Suicide (working title) and Murdered By My Father.
Damian Kavanagh says: “BBC Three has a history of making thought-provoking, hard-hitting documentaries and Stephen’s documentary on suicide and Murdered By My Father follow firmly in that vein. These are exactly the kinds of programme BBC Three should be making now and in the future. If we’re given permission by the Trust to move online we would then be able to do more around documentaries like this with different types of content that appeal to younger audiences. This could include short-form video, authored pieces or interviews with contributors that have true public service value and give young people more from BBC Three.”
From Antidote Productions and Globe Productions comes a documentary fronted by Professor Green, aka Stephen Manderson, on suicide.
Suicide is the biggest killer of men aged 20 to 45 in Britain. There are around 6,000 deaths every year, with a 4:1 ratio of men to women* – making suicide both a national crisis and a gender issue.
Stephen was 24 when his father took his own life. His hits Read All About It, Lullaby and Goodnight give a glimpse into this tragic event. This documentary will follow Stephen on an intensely personal journey as he discovers the circumstances around his estranged father’s death – and uncovers a life packed with its own tragedy and loss.
Stephen says: “When the opportunity to front a BBC documentary on the topic of suicide presented itself I knew it would be a tough subject to tackle. Suicide is the biggest killer of men aged 20 to 45 and yet when you present people with this fact they are completely shocked. The truth is, suicide is still considered a taboo subject but it shouldn’t be. Not only is this a deeply personal journey for me but also I’ve been fortunate to meet some amazing people along the way with their own incredibly moving stories as well as those who are creating public awareness around the topic of suicide. If anything comes from this documentary it’s that we should not feel ashamed or embarrassed to open up and talk to those around us about our feelings, in particular young men. Collectively we need to break the stigma surrounding suicide.”
Laura Jones and Leila Monks, Antidote Productions, said: “This is a really important topic and Stephen is perfectly placed to bring and take an audience through what is a hugely sensitive subject area. We are so proud that this is one of our first commissions.”
Iain Funnel, Globe Productions, says: “This is a subject Stephen tragically has first-hand family experience of and his own insight and knowledge makes for a thought-provoking film giving much need attention to a subject that affects many people.”
Stephen’s story is not unique. During the film he meets with families who live day to day with the ‘bombshell’ of a suicide, and those who have been pulled back from the brink, and enters some of Britain’s specialized homes dedicated to the suicidal. What emerges is a clear picture: there is a fear of seeking help or talking about emotion among British men – and a suicide taboo that can only be broken by talking.
Murdered By My Father is the story of the ‘honour’ killing of a 16-year-old girl by her father, a riveting exploration of how family love and duty turned to violence, and murder, in a suburban British home.
Executive Producer Aysha Rafaele says: “I feel privileged to be able to help give voice to the many daughters out there who have lost their lives in the name of protecting their family’s honour – and very excited at discovering Vinay Patel – a brilliant young new talent to tell this important and devastating tale.”
Based on the testimonies of a range of individuals, many of whom have never spoken in public, as well as charities and institutions set up to deal with the problem of honour-based violence, Murdered By My Father broadcasts in the year of the first national memorial day for the victims of honour killing. Police records suggest this type of crime has increased by 47 per cent since 2009, with the main charity supporting victims reporting an average of 700 calls for help every month.
Written by exciting young screenwriter Vinay Patel, the drama will bore into the psychology of this hideous crime, focusing on the bonds of love and grief uniting a daughter with her widower father, as well as his need to control her burgeoning teenage wish for freedom.
Her crime was to fall in love with the wrong boy, and like hundreds of thousands of teenagers across the country, she was constantly in fear of having her tiny acts of deception and rebellion unmasked by her parents. A mix of thriller and love story, this is a hard-hitting, heart-wrenching story about the destructive power of love – a contemporary kind of Romeo and Juliet for a multicultural Britain.
Professor Green On Suicide (w/t) is a 1×60’ programme, commissioned by Damian Kavanagh, Controller of BBC Three, and Elliot Reed, BBC Commissioning Editor, Factual. The Executive Producers for Antidote are Laura Jones and Leila Monks, and Iain Funnel from Globe Productions.
Murdered By My Father is a 1×60’programme, commissioned by Damian Kavanagh, Controller of BBC Three and Elliot Reed, BBC Commissioning Editor, Factual. It is being made by BBC Documentaries Production and the Executive Producer is Aysha Rafaele.