BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 have joined forces for the first time to broadcast a short film simultaneously across their major channels.
On Wednesday evening, 21 services will broadcast the film, titled Our Stories, in a celebration of the role broadcasters have played in bringing people together before and during the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is the first time UK public service broadcasters (PSBs) have worked together in this manner, and the launch aims to reach 50% of the country’s adult population.
The two-minute film features the message that “our stories are your stories”, and was created by Uncommon Creative Studio and directed by Sam Walker through Pulse Films.
Viewers are taken on a road trip around the UK, through fields, Cornish coastlines, factory floors and London estates to the Angel Of The North and the Royal Academy gallery.
Screens such as televisions, tablets and mobile phones feature in these locations showing programmes from recent years.
Among these are the BBC’s Blue Planet II, Fleabag and Strictly Come Dancing, ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent, This Morning and Quiz, and Channel 4’s Great British Bake Off, Gogglebox and Derry Girls.
Channel 5 also features with The Yorkshire Vet, Cruising With Jane McDonald and New Lives In The Wild With Ben Fogle.
The film finishes with the message: “This is the story of everything we’ve done. And everything we could be. This is us. This is who we are. Our stories are your stories.”
BBC director-general Tony Hall said: “British free to air television – commissioned from the UK and produced in the UK – is here for everyone.
“We bring people together for the big moments – from a royal wedding to the World Cup. We are there at times of crisis and to provide comfort, laughter, education and entertainment.
“We do something special for the UK and provide authentic British programmes that our rivals simply don’t offer.”
ITV’s chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall said: “From the excitement of our big entertainment shows, to the power and creativity of dramas and soaps to the depth and breadth of our documentaries and national and regional news and sport, our focus is reflecting a full range of experiences, bringing people’s lives centre stage and providing insight into how we see ourselves as well as how we look out into the wider world.”
Channel 4’s chief executive Alex Mahon said: “Channel 4 has a unique role to play in public service broadcasting – we were created to challenge the status quo and in doing so tell the stories that otherwise may not be told.
“This mission and with it our commitment to super-serve the young audiences who place their trust in us and authentically represent and reflect the diverse experiences of people across the UK, has never felt more urgent and important.
“This film is an incredible celebration of British storytelling and the beautiful, harrowing, funny and necessary stories we collectively share with the audiences we serve.”
Channel 5’s director of programmes Ben Frow said: “We are proud to be part of this united campaign celebrating the role the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 all play for the nation.”
STV chief executive Simon Pitts said: “The variety and quality of the content of PSBs represents all aspects of people’s lives, from our news and current affairs, to drama to our leading entertainment, we make a unique contribution to British life.”
The film will air on Wednesday night ahead of each channel’s 9pm slot and play across all participating channels throughout the month.