The making of Protecting Our Children
"It took months of hard work to try and persuade people to take part to show the real nitty gritty of the actual cases with families."Read series producer Sacha Mirzoeff's post on the BBC TV blog
A new age for social documentary #protectingourchildren
In 2004 BBC Bristol made a series about social workers. As in the previous series, in 2012 the Open University were co-producers. They received a huge uptake in the level of enquiries about the courses they offered and what it means to be a social worker, but the BBC were ultimately largely divorced from their audience. At that time the powers that be in the BBC would talk about wanting to create “water cooler” moments – i.e moments where people were talking about the series the day after.
Fortunately we are now in a different technological age and we have a new relationship with our audience. Protecting Our Children seems to have hit a nerve across the country and has started a national debate. The twitter feed #protectingourchildren has been rocketing through the roof with thousands of comments during and after the programmes. Professional bodies and journalists are also taking part, as this is the best way to see what people really think.
The blog that I started on the BBC web site now has its own momentum and people are sharing impassioned views with each other about social work in a way that was unimaginable a decade ago. The Open University now has an interactive role model scenario to show what a day in the life of a social worker is like and are witnessing similarly lively debates on their student forums.
I find it exciting to think that this series and future social issue films can not only touch people in “water cooler” moments, but also bring people together online and make an impact over a sustained period of time.
I would like to pass on huge thanks to everyone who has contributed to the debate whatever your point of view. And the last and most important thanks goes to the many brave families and social workers that agreed to take part in our series. Their commitment to want to show the reality of social work has been admirable and is very much appreciated by all our team.
- Lesley Sharp
- Emma Burman
- Assistant Producer
- Claire Martin
- Assistant Producer
- Sasha Djurkovic