21 November is World Television Day. It celebrates TV shows that inform, educate, inspire and unites viewers around the world.
To mark the day, we asked colleagues to remember a few of the shows that have loved or been inspired by over the years.
Sarah Saatzer - The Island
I am very inspired by the program the Island because it strips away everything artificial and all outside distractions, comforts and even access to easy food and drink. This results, for the most part, in the people thrown together like this, having to work very hard together and really face themselves. It usually ends up in a togetherness which feels very real and very joyful in the end, though the going is so very, very tough along the way. It also makes me appreciate the basics of life and how relatively easily I can get them.
Strictly Come Dancing
Strictly Come Dancing also inspires me as I get to see the real people behind the celebrities and it feels like they too get pushed to their limits, though in a different and much more glamorous way than the Islanders. I know there may be a lot going on behind the scenes which we don't know about but for me the fact that there seems to be a lot of love, care and professionalism in the team imparts a culture like this into the country as a whole as so many people watch it and especially so many children. I know it can be seen as a distraction from important issues with all its glamour and fun and sparkle and I would agree with that too. There are two sides to it all; but I do appreciate the good things it imparts as it is such a popular program and influences so many people.
Judith Caul - Transparent
I’ve had a longstanding love-affair with American TV dramas. My current favourite is Transparent. It’s about a retired academic who comes out to his family as transgender. The series covers such themes as gender politics, religion, family relationships and intergenerational trauma in a darkly comic, yet often profound way.
Sarah Corrigan - Casualty
I remember watching Casualty when I was younger and it inspiring me to help support people in some way when I grew up. I knew I was too squeamish to be a nurse or doctor so I chose a career in trying to sort out people's emotional health instead!
Gill Wier - Old People's Home For Four Year Olds
Recently I watched some of the Channel 4 programme "Old People's Home for Four Year Olds". It was amazing to see how much both young and old gained from this experiment and incredible that a 102 year woman showed improved cognitive abilities at the end of the three months! These outcomes have the potential to change the way older people are viewed and to open up new ways of valuing and supporting them. It really makes us think about the importance of interaction between the generations which is often lacking in Western culture.
Bay Whitaker - The Water Margin
When I was growing up there was a terrific Chinese adventure show on TV called The Water Margin. It was a bit like an oriental Robin Hood story: a group of outlaws in ancient China lived together on the fringes of society, and strove to fight injustice in the face of an oppressive regime. Different members of the band had different skills or magic powers. The show had everything you want from a great adventure: exoticism, romance, martial arts, and terrific stories. Our family would sit round and enjoy it every week.
Another great show that has run for decades is Horizon, the BBC's iconic series of science documentaries. I never liked science at school much, probably because I didn't seem to be much good at it. But my Dad and I would settle down and watch Horizon and feel as if we had learned something exciting and special every week. The show was eclectic: one week it might be about child psychology, another about Einstein's theory of relativity. But it always aimed to make the ideas accessible without coming across as patronising, and would leave us with the start of a conversation that grew out of our stimulated curiosity.