Scene: Access To Television

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started20th Nov 1975
ended13th May 1982
last rpt6th Jul 1984
9 school years
duration20 mins
subject ⚖️Citizenship
age rangeAge 13-16
languageenIn English
SceneHierarchyPrevious.gifPrevious unit: A Sober and Industrious Life Next unit: It's Not Like This Where I Come From HierarchyNext.gif
Scene documentariesHierarchyPrevious.gifPrevious documentary: A Sober and Industrious Life Next documentary: It's Not Like This Where I Come From HierarchyNext.gif

Access To Television is a unit of the BBC schools TV series Scene from the 1970s and 1980s, covering citizenship for secondary school pupils.

A series of documentary films made by school pupils, with help from a professional BBC production crew, on topics which they feel strongly about. Three Access to Television Scene programmes were made, in 1975, 1978 and 1982 (detailed below), and the idea was continued in an episode titled Teenagers Make Their Own Films in 1985.

Access to Television (1975)

Viewing schools were invited to submit ideas for the first Access to Television programme in spring 1975, and it was transmitted during the autumn term. It was also repeated in autumn 1977.

We're Not Blind, But...

A group of partially-sighted students at a boarding school in Preston explain some of the difficulties that they have to overcome, and show that they are not as handicapped as many people think they are.

Young, Black and British

A group of 15-year-old black girls from West London talk about being brought up in Britain, but how they ideas and values are different from their parents who were brought up in the West Indies.

Access to Television (1978)

Ideas for the second Access to Television programme were solicited during autumn 1977 during a repeat of the first episode, and the programme was transmitted in summer 1978.

How Old is a Teenager?

Pupils at Redruth Comprehensive School in Cornwall question the inconsistent rights and responsibilities of teenagers.

Give the Cyclists a Chance

A group from Weymouth Grammar School in Dorset plead for cycling to be made safer, and for cyclists to be included in road planning.

There was a third film in this episode, made by pupils from Swanscombe School in Kent, but I'm not sure of the subject.

Three of the individual films from the first two programmes, Give the Cyclists a Chance, How Old is a Teenager? and We're Not Blind, were repeated in a re-edited Access to Television episode in summer 1980.

Access to Television (1982)

The final programme included a film made by Wakefield in Care group about the attitudes of pupils and teachers towards children in care, and another made by pupils from Twyford High School looking at graffiti.

This programme was repeated in summer 1984, in part to gives schools inspiration for the type of ideas to be submitted for the new Teenagers Make Their Own Films programme, which followed in 1985.

From the teacher's notes

The teacher's notes accompanying the original 1975 episode explain in detail how the scheme came about, in response to the BBC's 'Open Door' programmes which allowed groups and organisations to put their point-of-view across on television.

"'Scene' decided that young people should have a similar chance to have 'access' to the media, in order to communicate directly to other young people. In January 1975, a letter was sent out to those schools which, as far as we knew, were using 'Scene'. There was also an announcement at the beginning of one of the Spring Term 1975 'Scene' programmes. We received 70 replies. They included ideas for full-scale, expensive dramas and cartoon animations. Sometimes it was the teachers who wanted to make the programme! Often, the proposals missed the main point of 'Access' television: instead of wanting to have their say about something that concerned them, many pupils were more interested in making a documentary where all sides of the issue would be presented, and where their own point of view - if they had one - would be left out. (...)

"The producer visited ten school groups, from which these contributors were selected. We suggested that our relationship to the group might be like that of the architect's to the person who wants a house built. Knowing what our groups wanted to say, we offered a few ideas about how the programme might be made within the limitations of time, facilities and budget. The groups then selected, adapted and changed things until the final programme structure emerged.

"Each group were allowed to do their own preparation ready for the filming, for which they were allowed 4 days each with a film crew. During the editing they were to be consulted at each stage, but difficulties about the number of people in the cutting room would mean that in the case of a large group, certain members would be delegated to take decisions." - Scene teacher's notes autumn 1975 p.17.


  • Autumn 1975
  • Autumn 1977
  • Summer 1978
  • Summer 1980
  • Summer 1982
  • Summer 1984

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