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New OU/BBC series' unflinching look at public services

Darren McGarvey © Tern Television Productions

A new three-part series co-produced by The Open University (OU) and BBC follows Scottish writer and rapper Darren McGarvey as he takes an unflinching look at the UK’s public services.

Each episode of Darren McGarvey: The State We’re In follows Darren as he explores the UK’s justice system through the eyes of the people who live and work in it, the heroic efforts of an NHS workforce battling rising patient numbers and the state of the UK’s classrooms.

The series will air weekly on BBC Scotland starting from Tuesday 27 February at 10pm, and on BBC Two from Thursday 29 February at 9pm. All episodes will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer from Tuesday 27 February.

Locations across Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales which feature in the series include Barlinnie Prison in Glasgow, Gordonstoun School in Elgin and a Health Centre in Nairn.

Three OU academic experts shared their expertise during the making of this series.

Dr Sara MacKian, Senior Lecturer in Health and Wellbeing in the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS), was the academic consultant for the health focused episode. She said:

“This series gives viewers an opportunity to look behind the headlines and political point-scoring to understand why the NHS is at breaking point, and why it is in all our interests to protect it.”

Sarah Stewart, Director of the Postgraduate Certificate in Education Programme in the Faculty of WELS, was the academic consultant for the education episode. Sarah said:

“As an academic consultant it was great to share my research expertise and see it come to life in a way which is both creative and truthful in its portrayal of the day-to-day lives of children and their communities.

“Darren doesn’t shy away from the complexity of issues such as social class or poverty and he does this in a down-to-earth, compassionate and thoughtful way. I think this series will ask people to think deeply and honestly about what we want from education and for our children and how we too can become change-makers in our society.”

Dr Andrew Gilbert, Associate Dean, Curriculum and Quality Assurance in the Faculty of Business and Law worked on the justice episode of the series. He said:

“Justice is essential for a healthy society. It’s been a privilege to work on this programme and, while not always an easy watch, I hope it challenges viewers – including law and policy makers – to imagine a better future for our justice system.” 

Visit the Broadcast and Partnerships site OU Connect for an exclusive interview with Darren McGarvey and an interactive ‘board game’ exploring how factors beyond our control, such as how where we are born can influence our social, health and financial opportunities.

Image: © Tern Television Productions Ltd.

This article was originally published in OU News.

27 February 2024


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