The BBC has announced that it is to screen an hour-long documentary called The War On Britain’s Roads that will use cameras mounted on bicycles and cars that will examine the relationship between cyclists and motorists.
The broadcaster describes the programme as “an adrenaline-filled one-off film for BBC One,” during which “viewers will be parachuted into the middle of a war that is raging between two-wheeled road users and their four-wheeled counterparts in The War On Britain’s Roads.”
If that makes it sound as though the programme’s approach is that drivers and cyclists are two separate tribes – in practice, of course, most adult cyclists do hold a driving licence, and regular cyclists are more likely than average to own a car – the impression is confirmed in the rest of the press release regarding the programme.
“As more and more people take up cycling as a way of beating the traffic or just keeping fit on their commute, the potential for conflict between cyclists and drivers has increased massively,” the BBC said.
“Now cameras installed on bikes and in vehicles will use heart-stopping footage of interactions between road users to reveal a shocking picture of life on Britain’s roads. The film will follow current cases as they go through the courts and revisit the tragic stories of some of those who have lost their lives on Britain’s roads.”
The documentary has been made by Leopard Films, whose Chief Executive Officer, Todd Austin, commented: “This timely documentary highlights a growing issue on Britain’s roads, from the viewpoint of both the motorist and the cyclist. BBC One is the perfect home for this insightful and at times shocking film.”
The War On Britain’s Roads is one of four documentaries announced yesterday that will include footage shot by the subjects themselves, the others being I Want To Change My Body and We’re Having A Baby, both of which will be aired on BBC Three, and BBC Two’s Britain In A Day.
While the BBC describes The War On Britain’s Roads as a “one-off film,” an article from Broadcast Magazine republished on Leopard Films’ own website claims that the “It is regarded within the BBC as having the greatest series potential.”
Charlotte Moore, Commissioning Editor, Documentaries at the BBC, explained the idea behind the four films: “Documentary filmmakers are always trying to get inside other people’s lives – to get as close as possible to what people are seeing and feeling.
"As far back as the Video Diaries series in the 1990s, the BBC has been pioneering in giving the Great British public the chance to help shape the documentaries it produces, giving viewers a voice to tell their own stories in the most intimate and authentic way possible.
"One of the wonderful things about the explosion in the number of filming devices over the past decade is that more and more people are filming their own lives, giving filmmakers access to a wealth of quality footage shot by people in almost any situation you can think of.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.