• Jake Humphrey is to host a new fully interactive, live debate show, Free Speech, on BBC THREE, it was announced today (THURS).

    Produced by Mentorn Media the 12 x 60' series is the evolved format which was formerly Young Voters' Question Time, and will run monthly throughout 2012, with first transmission on March 7, live at 10pm from Bethnal Green, East London.

    Free Speech will involve viewers from beginning to end: proposing stories they want on the agenda and showing whether they like or dislike the panellists and their opinions. Responses and updates from the viewers will be displayed throughout the show using innovative technology.

    Aiming to be the most interactive, live debate show on TV, each programme features four different panellists and travels to locations across the UK: sports halls, shopping malls or festival marquees.

    Jake Humphrey said: "I'm really chuffed to be hosting a show that I feel will bring viewers closer to the decision makers and opinion formers of our country than ever before. And the viewers at home really are going to be integral to the show; it will be down to them to let us know what the hot debate issues should be, we'll use social networking sites throughout the transmission of the show, using cutting edge technology as you've never seen it integrated into a live show before.

    "I studied politics at A-Level and I've always taken a keen interest in how our society runs, who runs it, and what can we 'normal folk' do to have more of a say or get our opinions heard. This show isn't afraid to ask the big questions and tackle the vital issues that are directly affecting your lives now, and just as importantly, your future."

    BBC Three Controller, Zai Bennett, said: "Jake is the perfect presenter for Free Speech and we're delighted that he'll be bringing his wealth of experience in live presenting to engage with so many people watching and contributing online."

    Mentorn Media will partner with Social TV production company, Telegraph Hill, who will deliver a ground-breaking, cross-platform strategy including exclusive online video, social media management and an ambitious new live messaging platform.

    Mentorn Media's Creative Director, Steve Anderson, said: "This is a really exciting series. It's current affairs with a difference: building the programme from the bottom up, with viewers having their say about what they want to see and comment on.

    "All of the reliable research shows that most of the people classed as the target group for BBC Three watch TV while using a second screen, and most comment on a show they are viewing.

    "Free Speech will capitalise on these changing patterns of viewing. It'll be fully interactive and multi-platform and Mentorn is delighted to be making the series. It continues our strong relationship with BBC News, BBC Learning and BBC Three."

    One pioneering feature of the show is The Control Panel. For the first time, viewers can use hashtags to show their like or dislike of panellists as they speak in real time. Their interactions control a big screen studio graphic that Jake can use to influence the live debate.

    The series is commissioned for BBC Three by Fiona Campbell. The Series Producer is Susan Crook and the Executive Producer is Steve Anderson.


    Notes to Editors


    Mentorn Media produced Young Voters' Question Time for BBC Three, the Riots edition of which was the channel's highest rating pre-watershed programme ever. Commissioned and transmitted in the space of just three days it was watched by a combined total of 1.7 million viewers.

    Mentorn Media made Dermot Meets... for BBC three which saw Dermot O'Leary take on the party leaders during the 2010 election campaign.  They also made two editions of First Time Voters' Question Time, presented by O'Leary. This was succeeded by Young Voters Question Time, hosted by Richard Bacon.

    Mentorn produced the award-winning Tulisa: My Mum and Me for BBC Three and is currently finishing production on a hard-hitting series on teenage gangs with Reggie Yates.

    Mentorn Media is also the producer of Question Time and The Big Questions for BBC One.


    For further information please contact Louise Plank lou@plankpr.com on

    0208 995 3936 or Matt Hall matthew.hall@bbc.co.uk at the BBC on 0208 576 8928.

  • In aid of the charity The Stephen Lawrence Trust, BAFTA members and non-members are invited to a special screening on 10 March at 18:30 in the Princess Anne Theatre, Bafta Piccadilly W1 of the recent Panorama special, Stephen Lawrence: A Time For Justice.

    The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Doreen Lawrence, Stuart Lawrence (brother), Imran Khan (family solicitor) and BBC reporter Mark Daly.

    The discussion following the screening will cover the struggle of the Lawrence family, institutionalized racism and the power of investigative TV to affect change. It will be chaired by TV correspondent, Rageh Omaar. Tickets are priced at £10, with the opportunity to make additional donations.

    Rageh Omaar said: "This is a very special screening and I'm proud to be chairing an event that can continue to support the important work of the Stephen Lawrence Trust, to help make a difference to young people in communities all over the UK."

    Please book by visiting www.stephenlawrence.eventbrite.co.uk

    For further information please contact Louise Plank on 020 8995 3936 or lou@plankpr.com

  • On Question Time tonight Steve Coogan shared his opinion on the future of press regulation and said he could even see a justification for phone hacking in some cases where public interest was justified.

    "The whole point about all of these stories, it's about: is the story justified? Is the story in the public interest?

    "If the story is in the public interest I'm in favour of good journalism that investigates in terms of the public interest. That's important. It should be protected.

    "In fact I even go as far as to say if you were doing a story in the public interest exposing great corruption of a company you'd even be justified in hacking if that story was in the public interest. But time again it's not. It's about who is sleeping with who and this is used as a smokescreen by much of the press to justify what their true interest is which is satisfying their shareholders by selling newspapers.

    "I think that they (the press) should be allowed to put their house in order but I think there has to back up system of some form of statutory regulation."

    To apply for a seat in future audiences you can register your question at www.bbc.co.uk /questiontime or call the audience line on 01299 829 299.

    For further information please contact Louise Plank on 020 8995 3936 or lou@plankpr.com

  • BBC One's political debate programme, Question Time, is being hosted from London tomorrow night.

    David Dimbleby chairs the programme as Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond MP; Baroness Shirley Williams; Alastair Campbell, Labour, former Director of Communications at 10 Downing St; Steve Coogan, Actor and Comedian and Dame Ann Leslie, Daily Mail writer, face questions from the audience.

    The programme transmits at 10.35pm on BBC One and is available after transmission in BBC iPlayer.

    For further information please contact Louise Plank on 020 8995 3936 or lou@plankpr.com

  • Channel 4 has commissioned a one-hour documentary from Mentorn Media following Katie Piper as she explores the possibilities of regaining her sight.

    Katie has spent the past three-and-half-years living with the impacts of an acid attack which included leaving her blind in her left eye. In Katie: The Science of Seeing Again which transmits on February 7th at 9pm on Channel 4, Katie discovers the existence of pioneering surgery that could potentially restore her sight using the extraordinary power of stem cells.

    She tracks down the doctor responsible and puts herself forward to be among some of the first people to undergo the treatment - which entails transplanting stem cells directly into her eye.

    In this authored film, Katie discovers the science behind stem cell technology, investigating the long-term effects, the chance of success and moral considerations as she prepares to undergo this ground-breaking optical surgery.

    Commissioned by David Glover this is the first documentary as part of Katie's exclusive deal with Channel 4. He said: "This film was Katie's idea and she approached me asking to make it. What's amazing about it is that we explore a cutting-edge science story from the point of view of the person undergoing the operation. Katie is an extraordinary natural communicator and puts it all in human terms, it's been a huge pleasure working with her."

    Mentorn Media Executive Producer, Hannah Wyatt, said: "Katie is an incredible young woman and in this film we see her bravery, positivity and humour take her down a different path to previous programmes. She intelligently explores the science behind such pioneering surgery, considering carefully the moral and ethical questions of such a life-changing decision."

    Katie Piper said: "This has been an extraordinary exploration for me and one that has resulted in the decision to make my 110th operation one to help restore my sight. It has been at times emotional but fascinating - as I continue my medical journey I am constantly in awe of the human body and the skills of the amazing surgeons I come into contact with."

    For further information please contact Louise Plank on 020 8995 3936 or lou@plankpr.com

  • BBC One's political debate programme, Question Time, is being hosted from Southport on Thursday, February 2nd.

    David Dimbleby chairs the programme from the Merseyside town which sees International Development Minister and Conservative MP for Rutland and Melton, Alan Duncan MP; Labour's Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan MP;  former head of the CBI Lord Digby Jones; creator of Grange Hill & Brookside Phil Redmond, and Emma Boon from the Taxpayers Alliance, face questions from the audience

    To apply for a seat in the audience you can register your question at www.bbc.co.uk/questiontime or call the audience line on 01299 829 299

    For further information please contact Louise Plank on 020 8995 3936 or lou@plankpr.com