On 7th May the UK’s Guardian newspaper carried a short story headlined “Brian Cox urges BBC to do more to educate viewers”. It reports that, in an interview in Radio Times, Physicist and Science TV presenter Brian Cox said:
Television is the most powerful way of getting ideas across. Often, it doesn’t take its responsibilities seriously. … We have had enough of talent shows. I don’t want my kids exposed to them and get it into their minds there’s a shortcut to riches. I want them to go to university and work hard for everything they get.
While we welcome the recognition of the importance of television as a pedagogical tool, we are troubled by some of the assumptions underlying Cox’s statement about young people’s aspirations and their relationship to Reality TV talent shows. In this blog, Kim and Heather share their concerns.