TV and Film to Watch this Christmas PART 2

After carefully reading the TV schedules I’ve spotted a few films and TV programmes which are being broadcast this holiday season which will aid your knowledge and understanding of topics we learn in Religious Studies and PSHCE…

Saturday 23rd December

  • Cool Runnings – BBC1, 13:15-14:50 (prejudice, stereotypes, heroism)
  • Gladiator – Channel 4, 23:20- 02:10 (Roman Empire, punishment)

Sunday 24th December

  • Das Boot – History, 16:00-18:00 – (War, World War II)

Monday 25th December

  • Downfall – History, 13:00-16:00 (War, World War II)
  • Dambusters – ITV, 01:45 – 03:50 (War, World War II)

Tuesday 26h December

Wednesday 27th December

  • Bears (a documentary)- Channel 2, 07:55-09:10 (environment)
  • East is East – Channel 4, 23:05-00:50 (multiculturalism, racism, homosexuality, community, Muslim wedding)

Thursday 28th December

  • About a Boy – Channel 4, 23:05 – 00:55 (family, mental health, suicide, bullying)

Friday 29th December

  • Brave – BBC 1, 16:20-17:45 (gender equality)
  • The Green Mile – More4, 21:00-00:45 (prison)

Sunday 31st December

Monday 1st January 2018

  • Ice Age: the Meltdown – Channel 4, 15:35-17:20 (global warming, environment)
  • Noah – BBC 2, 22:00-00:10 (Bible story, The Deluge, covenant with God)

Wednesday 3rd January

 

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TV and Film to watch this Christmas to help you with Religious Studies PART 1

On numerous occasions I’ve written about films and TV programmes that students can watch which will help them with their understanding of issues we study such as poverty, war, sexual relationships, climate change, abortion, the death penalty and community. Then there are the more obvious films and TV programmes which focus on religious beliefs, teachings and practises such as Noah, Bruce Almighty and the recent TV series Broken on ITV.

At Christmas time it is a great opportunity to watch Christmas films which show how the Christian festival of Christmas is celebrated:

British soap operas like Eastenders, Coronation Street, Hollyoaks, and Emmerdale will also show families celebrating the festival of Christmas, whereas comedy specials and talk shows will have their studios decorated for Christmas with some themed jokes and interviews.

nativity!

Is everything linked to the commercial celebration of the festival or is there any mention of what is written in the books of Matthew and Luke in the Christian Bible?

 

Alan Shearer: Dementia, Football and Me

In a recent Year 8 PSHCE lesson as part of our healthy lifestyles unit, we learnt about dementia. It was poignant to see students talking about their experiences of family members with dementia, and the rest of the class listening, learning and empathising.

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In class we started by checking that we understood what dementia was.

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Then we discussed how having dementia would be tough for those who have it and their families. One student told us about his mum working in a centre where lots of people have dementia and how it can get quite violent.

On Sunday evening the well-know former Blackburn, Newcastle and England football player Alan Shearer, who also presents on BBC Match of the Day, will appear in a BBC documentary exploring the links between dementia and football. Alan Shearer writes in a BBC article about the documentary:

“I went into football knowing that at the end of my career I could probably expect to have some physical issues, which I do – I have dodgy knees, a dodgy back and dodgy ankles. But what I never contemplated for a second back then was that there is a chance that heading the ball could affect my brain.”

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The documentary airs on BBC One on Sunday 12th November at 10:30-11:30pm, though you will be able to catch it again on BBC iPlayer.

The Boy with the Topknot

There’s a new 90 minute BBC drama about Sathnam Sanghera, a boy born to Punjabi immigrants living in Wolverhampton, covering topics like secrecy, mental health and the life of a second-generation immigrant. It’s based on a best-selling book where the protagonist moves to London and embarks on a career as a journalist, while gradually building up the courage to tell his traditional Sikh parents about his English girlfriend.

 

 

 

You’ll be able to catch it on BBC Two at 9pm on Monday 13th November, or after that on BBC iPlayer.

Sacha Dawan who stars as the older Sathnam says that he nearly turned down the role as it felt too close to home, and made him think about his own upbringing too much. As a young man he also felt like he “was running away, not just from my culture, but from stuff that was going on at home.”

I’m hoping the drama not only gets the audience thinking about how it feels to be an immigrant and the struggles of growing up in a new culture, but also some facts about Sikhism. Fingers-crossed!

Watching TV or film and learning about Christian worship

It is such a natural form of revision to be watching TV or film and suddenly spotting something you’ve learnt in class. It is so exciting to be able to explain something, understand it better, simply because you were in that classroom, listening and concentrating on that particular day.

Some students have had the challenge of comparing TV and film which show liturgical and non-liturgical worship. Well done to my Year 10 Tuesday afternoon class who did so well on this homework.

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non-lit

  1. Four Weddings and a Funeral would be a good film to watch for its many scenes inside a church. For Roman Catholics and some Anglicans you’ll also get to see some sacraments.
  2. The BBC’s recent drama called Broken which I’ve previously referred to on the Blog is fantastic not only for showing liturgical worship (the eucharist is given in every episode) but also its depiction of a local church community with food banks and diversity.
  3. Songs of Praise is on television every Sunday afternoon, or you can catch a number of previous episodes on YouTube.
  4. Coronation Street has a brilliant 2 minute scene showing parts of an infant baptism from a few years ago.
  5. There is a really peculiar scene from the Kingsman: The Secret Service film, which shows a church massacre (15 rating). Watching simply that scene makes no sense unless you know more about the film.  The actor Colin Firth play a suave secret agent, Harry Hart, who recruits a kid from the streets named Eggsy (Taron Egerton) to be part of the Kingsman. But Eggsy is quickly thrown into the fire when evil tech-whiz Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) creates a technology that can cause mass terror across the globe, and only the Kingsman can stop him. On the hunt for Valentine, Hart ends up at a hate church group in Kentucky. While Hart is in the church, Valentine tests his technology, which causes the SIM cards in everyone’s phones in the church to make them become homicidal maniacs. There is then this three-and-a-half minute sequence in which we watch Hart shoot, stab, slam, and break everyone in his path as the guitar solo from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” plays in the background. It’s peculiar and unsettling.
  6. The Simpsons has a plethora of church scenes, including this one when Homer refuses to go to Church. Listen out for Lisa saying a snippet of the Lord’s Prayer. Another short clip is from when the Simpsons go to an evangelical church. Not to do with worship but really clever is the Protestant Heaven Vs Catholic Heaven with all its national stereotypes.
  7. Family Guy has numerous satirical moments where you can learn about Christianity. Students often forget that singing is a form of worship, New Yorker’s in Church has an opening prayer, and the Mr Booze clip shows an drinking den turn into a fake alcoholics anonymous based on a church with pews and singing.

We realised that a lot of our choices were comedies and openly mocked Christianity for laughter. It is interesting how far comedy is deemed acceptable going about some faiths but less so others. An article in the  BBC Religion and Ethics page debates how far comedy should go, and the BBC also reports on whether Islam has a sense of humour (of course it does!). Finally there New Humanist website decides that no idea should be able to escape satire and comedy.

small church

Watch some TV to help you understand about a GCSE Component 2 topic

It’s no secret that watching TV or films can be a more entertaining way to learn and revise than reading textbooks or going on to school websites. So here is a good tip for our GCSE Religious Studies students: Cold Feet, currently available on the ITV Hub, has an Episode showing the arguments for Pro-Life and Pro-Choice, and how a young teenage couple choose to have an abortion. It is Episode 3, and you’ve got 15 days left to watch it!

Cold-Feet-episode-3-MATT-AND-OLIVIA

This TV series is described as being a comedy drama which follows the lives and loves of a group of individuals. It is Series 7 of the drama and has been hugely successful over the last twenty years. In Episode 3 it shows how an unplanned pregnancy sparks a feud which puts a strain on old friendships. The show has been highly praised for how it covers this sensitive storyline: the Huffingtonpost describes how fans have lauded its sensitivity; and the Radio Times said the episode showed the series at its “unflinching best”.

Thank you to Heather in Year 11 for recommending this TV show!

This NHS page tells you all the medical facts about abortion in the UK, whereas the BBC has a great page which explains all the ethical arguments surrounding abortion.

There are 12 different videos about the history of abortion, pro-choice Vs pro-life, and religious arguments on the TrueTube channel.

Finally, if you still want to fin out more, this interesting Independent article shows how around the world women’s rights to abortion vary tremendously.

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Is Love Island harming the moral fabric of Britain?

If you haven’t stumbled upon the ITV2 TV series Love Island then I will leave it to the Independent to explain:

It’s essentially Big Brother – with contestants being slowly voted out of a house (in this case, a Mallorcan villa) by the public and the last pair standing winning £50,000 – only the road to victory is paved with Machiavellian gossiping and condom wrappers. Ostensibly, the ITV2 show is about finding love, but going far in it seems to require successfully walking the tightrope of being honourable without being boring. I should also note it’s quite meta in the sense that the rules literally don’t matter and are changed at the producers’ whim.

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This year’s Love Island has proved hugely popular. The show has become must-see viewing amongst mainly female (67.4%) viewers and under 35s (63.6%). It’s already appeared on the wordpress this year for its discussion on feminism. Last week the a contestant from the show, Chris, was praised for openly showing his emotions and breaking the stereotype that men shouldn’t cry. Chris had been involved with fellow contestant Olivia Attwood whilst in the villa, and was left in tears when she decided to cool things off. In one scene Olivia told Chris not to cry again; which led many viewers to accuse her of being “cold-hearted” and “harsh”. In fact some people went so far as saying that if it had been the other way round she would have been seen as a victim of bullying.

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On this Wednesday’s show the couples all became immediate parents with the show’s producers providing each couple with baby dolls. After just a short while Chris said,  “I think this morning he has already brought out an emotional side in me. With Olivia, we have stopped the mishaps we’ve had together and we’ve got to focus on the baby now, because ultimately he is our main responsibility.” I tell you this programme can be an interesting way to learn about life skills!

Laura Hamzic who works for Brook, a sexual health charity for young people, would agree with me, saying that shows like Love Island can provide young people with an entry point for discussion by reconciling sex with relationships.

“I think we’re still quite quick to judge young people as being sexually irresponsible and promiscuous and that’s something we would challenge,” she says. “They are starved of places to discuss sex and relationships in controlled environments like school, because sex education is very poor. Love Island isn’t exactly the best place to learn about sex and relationships, but it’s better than porn.”

Love Island’s commissioning editor Amanda Stavri agrees, pointing out that the key to the show’s success is relationships rather than sex. “Our feeling is if you’re inviting 12 singletons to live together in the sun, things are gonna get heated under the covers,” she says. “But it’s not salacious, it’s not grubby, it’s not explicit. We’re more interested in the story of the couple who have chosen to take their relationship to the next level.”

If you’re not down with the kids and their lingo then BBC Three have even provided a useful dictionary according Love Island so you can better understand the conversations.

If all this has whetted your appetite for Love Island you can catch up on episodes via the ITV Hub.