Will either charity or film change opinions?

I was rather surprised to read that the BBC paid £20 million for the television adaptation of Alexander McCall Smith’s No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.

This was entertaining and a fitting tribute to Anthony Minghella – although I agree with some reviewers that it was slightly “twee, quaint, shallow, possibly patronising”.

It was good to see the dramatisation was actually filmed in Botswana although it is not clear how much of the £20m found its way into the pockets of local residents.  The show may be helpful in public relations terms for the country at least.

Ironically, all the recent celebrity and public charity activities of the BBC championed Sports Relief raised around £20m, some of which is used to help people in Africa.

I’m not sure if either portrayal of Africa can be said to present the reality of living there – but maybe the dramatisation, despite its cheesiness, will challenge opinions, whereas, charity marathons seem to continue to present Africans as two-dimensional victims. 

Money earned by those involved in the production in Botswana (presuming some was), is also trade rather than aid, so has to convey a better message in itself.

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Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.

2 thoughts on “Will either charity or film change opinions?”

  1. “it is not clear how much of the £20m found its way into the pockets of local residents”

    I’m guessing none of it!

  2. Agreed, why can’t British television produce any compelling material based in the African continent that isn’t patronising?

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