Production Planning: TV Programme Outline

Programme Title: ‘Spectacular Sciences’

Brief Outline: A science programme aimed at young people to encourage them to become rocket scientists.

Channel and rationale
: The programme would be shown on CBBC in the late afternoon, at about four or five, aiming to be on as the target audience are home from school, however allowing time for them to complete any homework they might have. The show aims to teach children science while being entertaining. It fits with the BBC’s mission to ‘enrich people’s lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain’ Scheduling this programme on CBBC makes it available to most TV owners while also making it obvious that the show is for children. The show will draw inspiration from the highly popular show Horrible Histories, such as narrative style, sketches, mini quizzes and songs. It will also have an interactive web page where children can play games, learn facts and watch clips. The show fulfils four of the BBCs six public purposes – ‘Sustaining citizenship and civil society’, ‘Promoting education and learning’, ‘Brining the UK to the world and the world to the UK’ and ‘Delivering to the public the benefit of emerging communications technologies and services’.

Series length: 12 episodes in a series, with one musical episode at the end of each series. Each episode lasts around 28 minutes each.

Primary Audience: 11-16 year olds at school, with the aim to help them achieve good results by generating interest in how science can feature in their future
career plans.

Programme style: The style of the show and the programme structure will be designed to engage the target audience. The style will be fun, humourous, upbeat and informative sketches with a presenter linking them. The sketches and links will be well paced, but the show as a whole will be fast paced. The sketches would be filmed in multi cam. The linking segments could be filmed on one camera, however if they included a guest and an experiment, more cameras would be needed for the segment, so multicam is probably the better option. Unless the linking segments feature a guest and/or experiment, they wouldn’t really need to last anymore than a minute. Music would be involved and a fairly big part of the show. Music in the show would include a specially written theme song that relates to science, with a few facts in it, jingles for the links and songs for the musical sketches which would be either popular music with re-worked lyrics or songs based on popular music, most likely they will be songs based on others.. There will be a couple of multiple choice questions in each episode to encourage viewer interaction (As on Horrible Histories, CBBC). As the majority of the show is made up of sketches, only a simple studio is needed for the links, but should still have a science feel to it, being based on a lab or classroom. The show will use dialogue that children will understand and relate to while being careful to not talk down to them.

Programme structure: Each episode would focus on a particular bit of science. These would vary from a type of science (biology, chemistry, etc.), or a particular discovery or a particular scientist/etc. If there was a particular event going on, the episode would relate to that (e.g. there would have been an episode explaining the Large Hadron Collider scheduled near when they planned to begin the experiment). The show would have one young, relatable presenter.

Sketch lengths would vary but would all be average length for a comedy sketch and of good length to keep children interested, probably ranging from two to five minutes, the length and number of links would depend on how many sketches there are and how long they all are. As each episode is based around a particular person/subject, the presenter could be wearing appropriate clothes each week. Some weeks the presenter could have a guest and partake in an experiment, while the guest leads the way and explains what is happening and why, these experiments could range from dangerous and advances “Don’t try this at home” to simple experiments the children are encourages to try themselves, similar to Art Attack.

Each episode would tend to end on a muscal sketch, but it wouldn’t be a necessity.

When and if a comedy sketch tells an untrue fact, or states something untrue as a fact for the sake of comedy, it should be made clear that the untrue part isnt true, ways of doing this could be via a graphinc or a scrolling text ot via the presenter telling you so once the sketch has finished.

Each week could also feature a small amount of geography, such as informing the audience where people came from and what the place is like. The show could also feature some history, such as who discovered what when, etc.

It’s important that the sketches are entertaining, so that the children actually pay attention to what they’re being taught. The show should also be funny and entertaining as it needs keeps the children’s interest and attention so that they don’t turn the show off.

Taking inspiration from Brianiac: Science Abuse, Some of the experiments on the show could rather silly experiments, such as what fruits float, or they could be based on silly rumours, such as proving whether a not a ducks’s quack does, in fact, echo, etc.

Taking inspiration from the segments V-File and Mystery Lab from the children’s show Mystery Hunters, There could also be a section where young viewers of the show write in to and ask questions which the presenter could then answer, or possibly even prove. Viewers could also send in pictures and videos of their attempts of the experients shown on the show and whatnot.

At the end of each series, there would be a musical special which would be a collection of all the songs from the previous series, plus one extra song. The show could also have a christmas special, featuring fact from christmas related scientific facts, be it scientists born around christmas or experiments from previous christmases, etc.

Bibliography

BBC: Mission and values / BBC: Horrible Histories / Disney: Art Attack / Discovery Kids: Mystery Hunters