Stephen Manderson’s BBC3 documentary Suicide and Me was a painful personal journey to uncover the reasons behind his dad’s decision to take his own life. But it was also a rather successful attempt to raise awareness of the “silent epidemic” of male suicide, which is the UK’s biggest killer of men under the age of 45.
The show got people talking, which was its main aim, but it could yet have a wider impact, having recently been screened in Parliament by Jeremy Corbyn’s new shadow minister for mental health and taken up by NHS psychiatrists as a teaching tool for staff and students.
Its success has clearly inspired Manderson – better known as the rapper Professor Green – to attempt the same thing when it comes to other contentious topics, and BBC3 has now commissioned two new films in which he will investigate some of the issues surrounding homelessness and dangerous dogs, with a particular focus on young people.
“I want to do more to explore the issues that we often don’t know enough about, which is why I can’t wait for everyone to see these new projects I’m working on for BBC3,” said Manderson. “The difficult subjects that we’re bringing attention to this time will take me on another eye-opening journey and I hope to raise awareness around two big social problems that will only continue to grow unless we tackle them head on.”
BBC3 controller Damian Kavanagh, said: “Suicide and Me was exactly the kind of thought-provoking film I want on BBC3 and we aim to have a similar impact with Stephen’s films on homelessness and dangerous dogs. Stephen has a natural rapport with people and I know he can bring this skill to highlight issues that matter to young people and bring them to wider attention. Highlighting issues like these are exactly what BBC Three will be doing in the future. I’m proud Stephen wants to be part of new BBC3.”
Both films are produced by Antidote Productions, the company behind Professor Green: Suicide and Me.
Antidote executive producers Laura Jones and Leila Monks said: “These are exactly the types of shows that we want to be making at Antidote. Stephen really speaks to a whole generation, his honestly and authenticity make these often tough topics accessible. BBC3 is the perfect partner for us – daring to take risks and do things differently.”
The new films are expected to get their first showing next year. BBC3 is due to cease as a broadcast channel in February 2016. It will become online-only, with a home on BBC iPlayer, from March but there is a commitment from the Corporation to give all BBC3 long-form content an airing on either BBC1 or BBC2.