Monday, March 03, 2008


There have been very few TV programmes that I remember capturing me in the same manner as BBC Two's Choir: Boys Don't Sing. The programme is a typical public broadcasting take on reality television: youth meets empowerment. The programme idea is fairly simple: Choirmaster Gareth Malone goes to an all boys' school with the goal of making sports boys love singing.

I work with young people and we often struggle with the issue of sustainability. Malone's dedication is something I see also in my work: people working on a local scale on a long-term basis making change happen. Due to its superlocal take, Malone's experiment can be duplicated: he shows how change in young people starts from believing in them, taking them seriously and getting personally and emotionally involved.

Every time I have seen the show it has made me cry. The way singing helps these boys in believing in themselves is what culture really is about. It gives recognition and blows your mind. And most importantly, Malone guaranteed that once he left the school with the camera crew, the school board had guaranteed a choirmaster for the future as well.

This is what I call public broadcasting.

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