WORKSHOP: CASE STUDY - Heart body turns to the small screen

CLAIRE SAMES

tabular

Background: The British Heart Foundation wants to warn people about the UK's single-biggest killer, coronary heart disease. The charity is informing the British public that around one in five of all deaths are caused by the condition and highlight how it affects an estimated 2.5 million people in the UK. It also wanted to raise awareness of how modern lifestyles could potentially place millions more people at risk of developing the disease.

Aims: The foundation devised the idea of producing a series of programmes focused on coronary heart disease in a magazine-style format. These would address questions such as who is at risk from heart disease? Are you eating the right food? And do you have a heart problem, but would like to know more about coping with it?

The aim is to make the topic of heart disease more accessible to viewers of all ages through the TV health and lifestyle network Channel Health.

How it worked: As part of a three-way partnership, the British Heart Foundation commissioned TV producers TwoFour Productions to make 12 half-hour programmes about the disease in an accessible and informative way. In turn, TwoFour acted as a broker with Channel Health in airing the series.

The series, called Heartland, features a range of real-life stories related to heart disease, told by studio guests from all walks of life, from patients, doctors and nutritionists to nurses, families and children who have grown up with heart problems.

Each episode is repeated six times during the course of a week and the studio guests dispense practical medical advice and tips on cookery, fitness and relaxation for a healthier lifestyle.

The charity called on former Tomorrow's World presenter Maggie Philbin to front the series.

Regular slots include Heart disease - Are you at risk? Under pressure - Why blood pressure matters, and Keeping well - Exercise and eating right.

The first show kicked off on 3 September and is being aired on Sky Digital channel 193 and NTL channel 803 or NTL channel 147 in the Republic of Ireland.

Results: Heartland has cost around £200,000 to produce, which has been paid for out of the charity's education budget.

Since the series began, the British Heart Foundation has noticed a slight rise in the number of people calling its helplines. But the web site accompanying the TV series (www.bhf.org.uk/heartland), details of which are flagged up at the end of each show, has seen a significant increase in visitors.

Nicki Cooper, head of education at the charity, says: "We will be evaluating the series and comparing the spend with books and videos but it's very reasonable in terms of costs. We also own the series copyright, which means we can choose to use other networks, run clips on the web or produce a double video.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus