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Wednesday 20 Aug 2014

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BBC Three takes a snapshot of young Britain in 2009

Underage And Pregnant (image: Emilie Fjola Sandy/Mentorn

Update – 10 June 2009: this press release has been updated: The Growing Up Season is now known as The Adult Season.


BBC Three explores what it is like to be young and growing up in Britain in 2009 in a new season of programmes.

Danny Cohen, Controller of BBC Three, said: "This season aims to explore the boundaries between being an adult and a child, and how these appear to be changing in Britain today. We want to start a conversation with our audience about the age of adult responsibility – and the dangers of growing up too fast."

Leading The Adult Season are two series following teenage girls on the cusp of womanhood, facing very adult situations and decisions that will affect the rest of their lives. But in a society where the transition between childhood and adulthood has never been so extreme, the season explores what happens when UK teens do not want to grow up or are ill-equipped with the skills to do so.

The Grown Up Girls follows five pairs of teenage girls who face a similar and potentially life-changing decision. Taking a break from their everyday lives, the girls embark on a road trip around the UK, joined by their mothers and grandmothers who offer them help and support throughout the experience. In exploring the implications of their potential choices in areas ranging from sex and pregnancy, leaving home and school, to body image and plastic surgery, they will learn as much from spending time with each other as they will from the experience itself.

Underage And Pregnant goes beyond the statistics and tabloid headlines to reveal the real story of life as a pregnant school girl and teenage mum. Following their lives over a six-month period, each programme looks at a different theme or issue around teen pregnancy – from finding out they're pregnant, attending their first scan, nervously awaiting delivery day, life with a new baby or sharing a crowded family home with parents and their partner. The mums-to-be share their hopes, fears and tears as life as a teenage mum.

BBC Learning will be using footage from Underage And Pregnant to create a free Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE) pack for use with Key stage 3 and 4 pupils. Teachers will be able to order their copy on the BBC schools site from mid-May, with packs distributed to UK secondary schools in September 2009.

In Daddy's Little Princess, teenagers who have been waited on hand and foot all their lives compete against each other in tough real life challenges, set by their parents, to drag them kicking and screaming into adulthood. Living on a basic budget, and with limited access to cash and their mobile phones, the teenagers will experience a new way of life, poles apart from their previously pampered lifestyles. It's the parents that will then decide who should stay and who gets the chance to win a trip of a lifetime.

The Adult Season also features a series of one-off documentaries that will challenge mainstream stereotypes, prompting viewers to question their own preconceptions.

Most young adults take their freedom for granted. They can choose their friends, stay out late, learn to drive and decide what they want to do as a career. But for some the choice isn't that easy. At 21 Otto Baxter is on the brink of "adulthood". But how does that feel when you have Down's syndrome and society still treats you like a child?

In Otto – Looking For Love, Otto Baxter goes on a journey of self discovery. This film follows Otto throughout his "coming of age" year as he tackles the rites of passage other men his age are grappling with: searching for a girlfriend, getting a job, travelling abroad and finding his place in the adult world.

The pursuit for fame and beauty is paramount for some teenagers across Britain today and, as an evolving trend spreading across the country, it's having just as big an impact for pre-teens.

Baby Beauty Queens follows the journey of some of the entrants to the Mini Miss Beauty Pageant, a pageant accepting contestants from as young as six years old. With hundreds of applicants with the title in their sights, the film explores the drive and ambition of the children – and their parents.

But not everyone is in such a hurry to grow up. In a society where some parent and child relationships have never been so blurred, Britain's Most Embarrassing Parents explores everyday life for those teens that are fed up with parenting their parents. From the stop-out mums and the rocker dads, the series follows the journey of teens and their parents as they attempt to rebalance the parent-child dynamic.  

First time directors

The Adult Season also includes three films from three new directors, developed through BBC Three's New Talent strand, Fresh – an innovative way of spotting the next generation of documentary film-makers.

Maxine Watson, Executive Producer, said: "We're delighted to be premiering the work of three emerging directors as part of BBC Three's Adult Season.

"We're immensely proud of what they have achieved, and we think the BBC Three audience will love their fresh and engaging programmes. We hope these will encourage them to examine what's important in their own lives."

For people growing up with Asperger's syndrome life can be very difficult. Matthew Rudge's film, Please Let Me Grow Up!, follows three young people with Asperger's on their rocky road to being accepted as an adult. They are all fighting for independence and responsibility but being frustrated by the restrictions imposed on them by their disability, their families and the preconceived ideas of mainstream society.

When you're a teenager the last thing you want in life is your mum to be your teacher, to be told what to do and when, to be chaperoned on every trip out and to ask permission to go to your own room. Rachel Harvie's film, Parent Trapped, explores exactly what this life is like for 13-year-old Megan. Megan wants to be like other girls her age, but has no idea what other girls her age do and if her Jehovah's Witnesses parents have their way, she may never know.

Max Fisher's film Home Alone (working title) traces the journey of a boy forced to leave home at 15 after a clash with his parents over his lifestyle. Now 17, he's lived alone for the past two years and has just about learned to get by. Still very much a boy, his dream has always been to convince his mum to let him come home – can he grow up enough to convince her?

Notes to Editors

The season will be screened on BBC Three in summer 2009.

BBC Learning

BBC Learning Campaigns offer opportunities for learning in the broadest sense, with the emphasis on active participation. Building on the interest generated by broadcast programmes, these campaigns encourage and enable people in communities throughout the UK to learn more through taking part in events and activities developed with expert partners.

bbc.co.uk/schools/teachers

Production Credits

The Grown Up Girls 5 x 60-minutes. Executive Producer: Elliot Reed at Love Productions. BBC Knowledge Executive: Harry Lansdown.

Underage And Pregnant 6 x 30-minutes. Executive Producer: Hannah Wyatt at Mentorn Media. BBC Knowledge Executive: Maxine Watson.

Daddy's Little Princess (working title) 6 x 60-minutes. Executive Producer: Gideon Joseph at Monkey. BBC Entertainment Executive: Karl Warner.

Otto – Looking for Love 1 x 60-minutes. Series Producer: Jacqui Wilson. BBC News & Current Affairs Executive: Clare Sillery.

Baby Beauty Queens 1 x 60-minutes. Executive Producer: Nick O'Dwyer at Landmark Pictures. BBC Knowledge Executive: Maxine Watson.

Britain's Most Embarrassing Parents (working title) 1 x 60-minutes. Executive Producer: Natasha Bondy at Talkback Thames. BBC Knowledge Executive: Harry Lansdown.

Please Let Me Grow Up (working title) 1 x 60-minutes. Executive Producer: Jes Wilkins at Firecracker Films. BBC Knowledge Executive: Maxine Watson.

Parent Trapped (w/t) 1 x 60-minutes. Executive Producer: David Dehaney at Love Productions. BBC Knowledge Executive: Maxine Watson.

Home Alone (working title) 1 x 60-minutes. Executive Producer: Emma Wakefield at Lambent Productions. BBC Knowledge Executive: Maxine Watson.

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