Richard Curtis to Headline Royal Television Society Event as U.K. Youth Demand Environmental Content

Richard Curtis
Richard Curtis

“Love Actually” director Richard Curtis will headline a webinar on Oct. 1, co-hosted by the Royal Television Society and green charity Global Action Plan.

The event, titled “Making a Drama Out of a Crisis,” aims to offer new insights into what youth audiences want to watch. Research conducted by Global Action Plan reveals that 77% of young people in the U.K. would like to see environmental issues included in drama programs, and 76% worry that environmental issues are lacking TV exposure since the onset of coronavirus. The young people also want to see environmental issues included more in dramas (59%), comedies (57%) and entertainment programs (57%). When looking into specific environmental issues, the most pressing for young people are in protecting wildlife (87%) and ending plastic pollution (84%), according to the youth focused study conducted this summer.

Global Action Plan’s Flickers of the Future initiative invited U.K. filmmakers between the ages of 18-29 to create a human story of a sustainable future, with a nationwide competition resulting in more than 100 entries. Shortlisted finalists will be supported through the process by Carnival Films, which is part of NBCUniversal International Studios. Five young filmmakers from the initiative will participate in the Curtis webinar.

“It’s clear that young people haven’t lost sight of the urgent need to address climate change despite the global pandemic,” said Curtis. “And quite rightly as the climate emergency is central to the solutions to so many of our problems. The TV industry is going to be absolutely key to combating climate change. I’d like to see commissioners respond to the concern of young viewers by placing the environment at the heart of the work they’re commissioning. It’s undeniable that the climate emergency is going to dominate the next 10 years, so I think for TV not to deal with it would be mad.”

Sonja Graham, co-CEO of Global Action Plan, said: “Our survey findings show that young people’s concern for our environment is still very real and urgent – and they want to see this represented in the story-lines of the shows and films they watch – not just side-lined into documentaries.”

Theresa Wise, CEO of the Royal Television Society, said: “The RTS is passionate about issues of conservation and sustainability. We are therefore delighted to be involved in this important initiative – which will use young people and the power of our industry to raise awareness and inspire the right sorts of change.”

The event is supported by albert, the authority on environmental sustainability for film and TV from BAFTA.