The year the students fought back - with a radio script
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Demonisation of students can be said to have occurred for generations across the media. We're a rather big bunch when slamming ourselves up against the windows of buildings of parliament or when being addressed by adults whose memories of university must surely consist of an array of photographs in which alcohol lines the tables in the background. The scripts which form the basis of television drama such as 'Skins' on channel E4 recieve high numbers of young viewers, whom the shows are also about, and this can be put down to their entertainment factor. I personally am not a fan of watching characters who are supposedly ourselves dancing, singing and spewing multicoloured liquid on screen, but Warwick University student and writer Ollie Charles is. However he is also ideologically against the scripts which form these shows: their portrayal of young men as violent and alcoholic; their sexualisation of young girls; and what older generations may infer from these shows that all students act in this drunken, sex-obsessed way. In response, and showing how you can be both a fan of these shows and against them, all at once, Ollie has penned a script, titled 'CONNECTED', a radio serial which he promises will combine entertainment and a political message and which bridges the divide between young adults and what I shall call 'ordinary' adults. Despite being written, aired at, and the majority of the script based at Warwick University campus, this radio serial has a message for all students: that we are like that (drunken and sex-obsessed), and yet - at the same time - we are not; essentially, that we can be - some of us - but so can you, you 'ordinary' adults. 'CONNECTED' will be 'a little more realistic', informs Ollie, than the dramas out there at the moment which he describes as 'containing hyperbolic images of drunken idiots', a statement which may well be digressed by other students given that Warwick stands at a mere 51 in the 2011 sex survey (studentbeans.com) while the University of Glamorgan and the University of Wales sit at the top of the list. However turning to more realistic matters, Ollie reassures, does not mean losing that entertainment factor prevalent and popular in television dramas such as 'Skins' and the 'OC'. 'I didn't want to produce a reality show,' says Ollie. The show 'wants to have fun while confronting and exposing', he says in reference to the issues above. While potentially bridging that divide between adults and students there is also a focus on 'problems that mean a lot to them but perhaps not to anyone outside their age group.' What makes Ollie's script unusual is that it is created for students, by students. 'If you are watching one set in America, you have 20-something year-olds playing teenagers, and the majority of the writing is done by adults,' he says.
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