On air this November, BBC Three’s The Body Beautiful season features a collection of enlightening documentaries that question whether making changes to your body can bring you happiness whilst highlighting the variety of ways young people are striving for these physical changes.
Zai Bennett, Controller of BBC Three, said: “Body image is a big issue for our audience on BBC Three, so in The Body Beautiful - a challenging season of programmes - we’re asking whether changing your body can really make you happy.”
The Body Beautiful season will offer a range of content to young audiences across BBC TV, radio and online; from BBC Three, BBC Radio One and 1Xtra to Children's, Schools and Learning.
I Want To Change My Body - Monday 19 November, 9-10.30pm
I Want To Change My Body is a bold, original and ambitious documentary which sees young body-obsessed Brits turn the camera on themselves.
Diving beneath the surface of Britain’s body confidence crisis, I Want To Change My Body follows up to 30 young people aged 16 to 25 who are unhappy with their appearance as they go on a personal quest to transform their bodies with the hope that the changes will make them happier.
With each of the young people using a handheld camera, the diverse characters from across Britain will personally film their own extraordinary journeys over six months. From extreme weight loss surgery to hair transplant surgery, they will take us with them on the roller-coaster ride of anxiety, emotion, excitement and pressure they experience on their quest for perfection.
This is the real story of body-obsessed Britain, told through their eyes.
Transsexual Teen, Beauty Queen is an observational documentary following Jackie Green, the world’s youngest female transsexual, as she attempts to win the title of Miss England 2012.
The 18-year-old Leeds lass, born a boy named Jack, aims to become a role model for the trans-community and hopes competing in the beauty pageant will inspire other young people struggling with gender identity disorder. But how will she cope when pitted against some of the most beautiful girls in the land?
The film digs deep into Jackie’s difficult past: from hearing first hand how she came to realise she was trapped in a boy’s body and its affect on her close-knit family, and how she made the social transition from a boy to a girl, aged just eight; to how the bullying at high school led her to the brink of suicide and how her life was changed by a trailblazing American doctor who stopped the onset of male puberty.
Dying For Clear Skin - Monday 26 November 9-10pm
In this one-hour documentary, BBC Radio 1 DJ Gemma Cairney explores the impact that acne can have on young people and the side effects which can be caused by some of its more extreme treatments.
Dying For Clear Skin considers how society’s obsession with looks puts extraordinary pressure on young people to have perfect, smooth skin. Gemma meets 15-year-old Will who has severe acne which has impacted his school life and his self-esteem. 85% of young people get spots but for some, bad skin can take over their lives.
This was true of 24-year-old Jesse Jones, who in February 2011 went missing, five days later his body was found at a local beauty spot. Made alongside Jesse’s father, director Derek Jones, Gemma speaks to people all over Britain who are fighting their own war with acne and asks how far some people will go for clear skin.
Inside The Body Beautiful - Wednesday 21
Using computer graphics to travel inside the body, Inside The Body Beautiful explores the physiological and psychological changes that happen as young people strive to alter their appearance.
We find out how crash diets can actually alter your brain and show how ultra sound waves can destroy fat cells to sculpt the ultimate physique. It follows a man having the latest hair transplant treatment and reveals what actually happens to our skin as people inject synthetic hormones to achieve the perfect tan.
I Hate My Body: Skinny Boys And Muscle Men - Tuesday 27 November, 9-10pm
I Hate My Body: Skinny Boys And Muscle Men follows four young men, who feel that their size and shape is negatively impacting their life, as they attempt to achieve their dream physique. Two are skinny men who are going to be pumping up and two will be super muscular men desperate to come down in size.
For three months, they’ll receive expert advice from a top sports physician, personal trainer and nutritionist, who’ll design bespoke exercise and diet plans for the four men to follow. Will these young men achieve their dream bodies and more importantly will their new physiques make them happy?
Britain’s Biggest Beauty Queens explores Britain’s only plus-size beauty pageant.
Contestants in the Miss Big Beautiful Woman pageant have big bodies and big personalities to match. This is a movement which has thrived in the US for years and has now burst into Britain, thanks to Linda Koch - the driving force behind the pageant. Linda insists she’s not promoting obesity, but wants girls to be proud of their bodies, even if they weight over 20 stone.
With exclusive access, this film focuses on four pageant finalists. Behind the diva moments, mascara and bling, each young woman has an extraordinary personal story. They’ve struggled against discrimination, bullying, difficult relationships and young parenthood. Now they squeeze into swimwear and glam-up in evening gowns bravely baring their plus size curves to the world. The documentary culminates in the pageant at a London hotel where 19 anxious beauty queens battle for the Miss BBW 2012 crown.
Free Speech: Body Beautiful - Tuesday 27 November, 8-9pm
BBC Three’s live debate show, Free Speech, is to host a Body Beautiful Special from Newcastle on Tuesday 27 November at 8pm.
Part of the BBC’s The Body Beautiful Season, Jake Humphrey chairs the programme, which will see a panel of four take questions from the studio audience of 18-25 year-olds.
In the last of this year’s run of the interactive debate show the panel will debate issues raised throughout the season. The Free Speech Power Bar will show what the audience at home think of the panellists.
With a special VT from Olympic Weightlifter Zoe Smith, we will hear what she thinks about the criticism she faced for not conforming to a standard body image. BBC Three regular Sam Naz returns as the Social Media Jockey, speaking up for the web responses and online comments.
It’s your show, get involved via bbc.co.uk/freespeech; facebook.com/bbcfreespeech; @bbcfreespeech; and #freespeech
BBC Learning is supporting The Body Beautiful Season. As well as co-commissioning programming for BBC Three, Learning hopes to extend the reach of the season to younger audiences by commissioning additional resources for schools and creating online content for Free Speech.
The Learning Zone
The Learning Zone has commissioned 5x6 minute films to provoke debate in the classroom. Aimed at 11-15-year-olds, the films breakdown body image myths and investigate the commercialisation of body image ideals.
Films include History Of Beauty - a fun, historical perspective on body image ideals. The film illustrates that body image isn’t just a 21st century obsession. By exploring the humorous and extreme examples of the past, it aims to put body image ideals into context, thereby questioning contemporary fads and trends. It also shows how being happy about your body counts as much as how you look.
The Global Body celebrates human global diversity and shows how vastly different the concepts of fashion and beauty have traditionally been across the world. The film argues that no matter what we look like, people around the globe are being manipulated to feel dissatisfied. Can this be right?
In Faking It, DJ Goldierocks lifts the lid on exactly what goes into creating just one single fashion photo. Studies show that within 15 minutes of picking up a glossy magazine, self-esteem plummets. DJ Goldierocks becomes a model for a day and discovers just how many people and how much patience she needs to transform from ‘girl next door’ to ‘glamour girl’. Make-up, hair and image manipulation, Goldierocks unpacks the business of beauty and shows in painstaking detail exactly what it takes to create one ‘perfect’ magazine image.
The Blame Game explores what size "real women" are and discovers that men actually like women in all shapes, sizes and colours. The film also reveals new research that suggests women would actually spend more money on clothing if advertisers used ‘real sized’ models.
Presenter Radzi Chinyanganya and actress Melissa Suffield go to a co-ed school in Bristol in the film Body Talk to show how teenage students can start taking back control of their body image by "banning body bullying". They look at new methods that make it easy to take a stand against the pressures of the health and beauty industry machine.
All the films will go online onClass Clipswhere they can be streamed for use in the classroom.
The Global Body and The Blame Game will also be shown on the Learning Zone on BBC Two on Tuesday 27 November. Body Talk, A History Of Beauty, and Faking It will be shown on the Learning Zone, on BBC Two, Friday 6 December.
Dying For Clear Skin and How Your Body Works
BBC Learning has co-commissioned Dying For Clear Skin and How Your Body Works for BBC Three. It has also specially commissioned reversions of these films for a schools audience in consultation with a PSHE specialist. The school versions of these programmes will be broadcast on the Learning Zone, BBC Two, on Tuesday 27 November (Dying For Clear Skin) and Friday 30 November (How Your Body Works) and be available for use on the Class Clips website.
The Free Speech debate around body image will be supported by a series of short films commissioned by BBC Learning designed to get people talking about their bodies. The six films feature young people with opposing views on issues such as breast implants, baldness and body hair. The films will feature on the BBC Three website and are designed to share online from the Free Speech Facebook page.
The BBC media literacy pages, Webwise, will also feature content from the Body Conscious programming at bbc.co.uk/webwise.
Note to Editors
BBC Learning plays a central part in meeting the BBC's purpose of promoting education and learning. Utilising the power of the BBC’s big brands and key talent, the department puts learning right at the heart of the BBC and provides a variety of resources and learning opportunities for children, teachers, parents and adult learners. Working with partners and in local communities, BBC Learning aims to stimulate interests and encourage engagement through a variety of campaigns across all BBC genres and platforms.
The Learning Zone is the BBC’s overnight service for schools, broadcast between 4 and 6am on BBC Two. The aim of the Learning Zone is to provide inspiration for the classroom and beyond. Learning Zone programmes are curriculum related or otherwise relevant to a schools audience. Commissions include original documentaries, drama and animation, as well as spin offs from landmark series, and programmes which extend the learning value of key BBC brands.