By Abbie Victoria Maguire
“Don’t hide it, deny it, or lie about it: at one point in our lives, we’ve all wanted to be famous. So what does it mean to be famous? Live that luxurious, hedonistic life, earn more in a week than I’d earn in a year and have articles written in the Daily Mail dedicated to you walking into a Starbucks? In the true sense, fame is about people following your life when you live it, as you live it. So if you could have a camera follow you around all day, what would you do? Silly question you’re thinking. Only, on 12th November, the BBC are giving you this very opportunity for their ‘Britain In A Day’ project.
The programme, capturing British life within a day, is launching as apart of the BBC’s Cultural Olympiad, taking public contributions to showcase their lives via camera to be uploaded online. The programme intends to encapsulate Britain, producing a full-length documentary which will be aired on BBC Two next year.
Am I considering doing this? Yes, but only because I think it would help my journalism to be working with a camera and make my relatively boring life seem exciting. Britain would see me naughtily skip breakfast and go to college, socialise with my eccentric friends, come home to write a blog, review or article and then of course live in my generation and go on Facebook, watch something trashy on the television and get not nearly enough sleep. But more importantly, what would I like to see other people do? That is where the entertainment value’s at after all.
Although I have a strong suspicion that many of these camera performances will be false, I would like to be virtually invited behind the scenes of a morning newscast or radio station. I’d like to be privy to the morning buzz before some of television’s most beloved faces read us the morning papers and watch a thrilling, spontaneous job take place – something that your average person couldn’t be the mastery of. I’d encourage people to turn their cameras on for work to see something truly inspiring, a job that has that little spark of delight beneath the long hours and short coffee breaks that we only ever mention. Even if I would never consider going into that job, I would like to see the skeleton of it and witness how Britons earn their living.
What I think would have some comedic value would be public transport. The drip of spilt coffee cascading onto the Underground tracks as workers hurry in their voguish suits doesn’t seem that amusing, but seeing all the different personalities on the train promises to be something of a laugh. I’ve heard of the hilarious stories from my grandmother as she brushes through the doors of her early morning train everyday. So why not turn your camera on as you travel into work? That is of course what Britain is most famous for, aside from the publicity powerhouse that is the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
I’d encourage people to turn their cameras on for a party and see what is the nightclub culture of Britain really is, not distorted and manipulated by our media. Undoubtedly I’d see the seedy side as a consequence of those 20p shots, but somewhere I assume to see innocent partygoers having a innocent time. Again, high comedic value regardless. Britain is sometimes wrapped up in her own seriousness and we forget that we can laugh at innocuous embarrassment and humour. Perhaps this project will be the revival of that.
Whilst there’s no denying it would be a challenge – probably one filled with regret the following day – I would most certainly encourage people to film for a full twenty four hours to really capture the way they live their lives. Whilst, upon first impressions, it sounds disastrously like a Big Brother spin off, it would be intriguing to see the way someone off our streets lives the British life. As the cliché goes, you don’t know someone until you live with them!
But, cynical as I am, the thing I’d most like to see would be something completely inadvertent. I’d like to see the controversy and scandal that our national newspapers and institutions will rip out, using their pens as mighty swords. I yearn to see what the people of Britain are really like, and what our media makes of them. It’s almost just as interesting, if not more. The only danger I see here is the branding of that notorious ‘reality TV.’