A study commissioned by Global Action Plan provides insight into what the next generation of eco-conscious young audiences want to see on screen.
76% of 16-34 year olds in the UK are worried that environmental issues are not getting enough exposure on TV since the onset of the Coronavirus
77% of 16-34 year olds in the UK would like to see environmental issues included in drama programmes on TV more than they currently are.
88% of 16-34 year olds in the UK say environmental issues are important to them
*Global Action Plan commissioned Opinium to poll 16-34 year olds in the UK. The research, carried out between 26 June- 7 July 2020, polled 1,053 16-34 year olds, of which 50% were 16-24 and 50% were 25-34 years old.
The survey figures prompted discussion about what young audiences want to see on screen at the webinar‘ 'Making A Drama Out Of A Crisis’, hosted by the Royal Television Society and Global Action Plan.
The online session was headlined by Richard Curtis CBE and showcased five young filmmakers from the Flickers of the Future initiative.
Supported by albert, the authority on environmental sustainability for film + TV from BAFTA, the event called for the UK industry to reflect on how it can support young creative voices to be heard as part of a fresh restart for the world of TV, as well as for the planet. Flickers of the Future is funded by the KR Foundation.
Our expert panel joined us and gave their responses to the call for more environmental content in drama and shared their views on what they’d like to see and how this could be done.
Lucy Siegle, Environmental journalist and broadcaster, panel host
Lucy Siegle is an environmental journalist known for bringing climate issues to the home front and for accessible, practical advice on showing up for the planet. She is known as the green expert on The One Show (since 2007) and champion of the show’s longstanding campaign to reduce the impact of plastic waste on the natural world. Lucy is the author of two best-selling books on every day environmentalism, To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing out the World and Turning the Tide on Plastic. She most recently interviewed Sir David Attenborough for her weekly podcast on telling climate stories, So Hot Right Now. Lucy is a trustee for the environmental NGO, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) and chair of the Real Circularity Coalition, spearheading the change to a real circular economy.
Aaron Matthews, Head of industry sustainability at albert
Aaron Matthews is an environmental consultant with ten years’ experience supporting the screen industries. He manages BAFTA’s environmental project albert, and is both knowledgeable about ways to reduce the industry’s impact and passionate about acting on the screen industry’s opportunity for creative climate cultural leadership.
Addy Raja, Award-winning film producer
Addy Raja is a multi-award winning film producer and NHS junior doctor. Addy combines his skills as a frontline clinician and creative storyteller to scope out fascinating and relevant stories. His latest production, SAMARITAN, a fictional narrative about climate change, is currently circulating the film festival circuit. He set up the UK’s first narrative healthcare production company, ADDY FILMS, and runs the UK’s largest medical film festival, Medfest. His first production, NORA, made for the NHS’ 70th Birthday, premiered at TEDx at the British Film Institute, and is now available to stream on Amazon Prime. Addy is currently developing a factual TV show highlighting therapeutic benefits of comedy improv performance with mental health, and co-writing a fictional dark comedy set in a hospice.
Charlotte Ashby, Head of Production at Carnival Films
Charlotte is Head of Production at Carnival Film and Television, producers of Downton Abbey, Belgravia, The Last Kingdom, Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, Jamestown, Poirot, Hotel Babylon, The Hollow Crown anthology and many more. Carnival is one of the UK’s leading drama specialists and has received a host of national and international awards including Primetime Emmys, Golden Globes and BAFTAs, and has been recognised as the UK’s best production company at both the Bulldog Awards and Broadcast Awards. Prior to joining Carnival, Charlotte worked as a freelance Producer / Line Producer and then as Production Executive at NBCUniversal and Working Title Television. Charlotte is on the Green Is Universal committee and is working with Sky to embed sustainable practices in production.
Jeremy Oppenheim, Chair of Global Action Plan
Founding Partner of SystemiQ, a new firm dedicated to building sustainable, market-based economies, programme director of the Energy Transitions Commission, lead author of the Better Growth, Better Climate report of the New Climate Economy project, and advisor to multiple governments, companies and foundations on system transformation and resource productivity. In 2011, Jeremy co-authored a major report: Resource Revolution: Meeting the World’s Needs for Energy, Food, Water and Materials. Jeremy has spent over 20 years at McKinsey, developing and leading its Sustainability and Resource Productivity Practice (SRP) from 2007-2015.
Jon Mountague, Director of Comedy, Sky
Jon Mountague is Director of Comedy for Sky Studios where he commissions and executive produces scripted comedy. His credits for Sky1 include, amongst others, the award winning Brassic with Dominic West, Idris Elba’s In The Long Run, Code 404 (Steven Graham and Danny Mays), Breeders (Martin Freeman), Intelligence (David Schwimmer and Nick Mohammed) and Two Weeks To Live (Maisie Williams). On Sky Atlantic his credits include the Bafta Award winning Alan Partridge: Scissored Isle (Steve Coogan) and Camping (Julia Davis). For Sky Arts he commissioned and exec’d the acclaimed Urban Myths. Prior to Sky, Jon was Head of Comedy at BBC Comedy North where he launched the BBC’s comedy operation at Salford Quays leading a team of producers who scored a number of hit shows out of the north of England. He has worked as a producer with various Indies and also for BBC Radio Comedy. He is a member of BAFTA’s TV Committee.
Richard Curtis CBE says:
“It’s clear that young people haven’t lost sight of the urgent need to address climate change despite the global pandemic. And quite rightly as the climate emergency is central to the solutions to so many of our problems.
The TV industry is going to be absolutely key to combatting climate change. I’d like to see commissioners respond to the concern of young viewers by placing the environment at the heart of the work they’re commissioning.
It’s undeniable that the climate emergency is going to dominate the next ten years, so I think for TV not to deal with it would be mad.“
Theresa Wise, CEO of the Royal Television Society says: “The RTS is passionate about issues of conservation and sustainability. We are therefore delighted to be involved in this important initiative – which will use young people and the power of our industry to raise awareness and inspire the right sorts of change.”
Aaron Matthews, Head of Industry Sustainability at albert said: “It's critical that our content illustrates the impact our food choices, shopping habits, transport decisions and personal relationships have on the environment. It's no longer acceptable for the science to tell us we need to change our way of living whilst our Film and TV content continue to promote an unsustainable lifestyle. This isn't about finding new climate touch points that don’t exist, but rather removing blinkers and letting the climate reality flood in. We're excited to see how initiatives like Flickers for the Future will help the next generation of creatives to bring the climate into their content and help inspire positive change.”
Charlotte Ashby, Head Of Production at Carnival Films says: “We are working with Flickers of the Future because we share the aims of this fantastic initiative – to nurture young writers taking on the issues of climate change and to get these compelling stories to the widest audience possible. The message is loud and clear, it is time for mainstream TV to give the mic to young talent to help change the content we make and the way we make it, in order to challenge norms and shape narratives that can motivate action on the climate crisis. We need their voices, imagination and humour as we look for positive visions of a future we can live and thrive in.”
Flickers of the Future is funded by the KR Foundation