4 Thought is a Channel 4 programme exploring religious, moral and ethical opinions. There is a 2 minute long episode, every day of the year, straight after the news. The episodes have a different theme each week, and each episode showcases a different persons view or perspective, to stimulate a discussion. People from all backgrounds contribute ranging from religious leaders, atheists, politicians and celebrities, to people who lead very untraditional or controversial lifestyles. Anyone can apply, which is what gives the programme such a broad range of opinions.
Online, there is also a website, where people can engage in discussions about the issues raised in the programme.
I like the fact that this programme is on everyday – as it maintains the process of discussion. The fact that it is so widely viewed (being on straight after the news) means it is a great platform for people to express their views on situations, and for these views to be heard. These days I think it is important for people to contribute their perspective, and share their opinions as well as understand other people’s point of view. This process of discussion is key to understanding different religions, cultures, and walks of life, which to some extent, could help people live together in better harmony.
I think it is a really good example of a documentary programme, that succeeds in communicating the views and opinions of others, in an incredibly simple but effective format. It is filmed through ‘talking head’ style shots, with cut away shots of aspects relating to the discussion and relevant filler shots. Some episodes are filmed in a blank white studio, whereas some are filmed in a relevant setting.
Throughout the programme there is the hashtag #4thought, which encourages viewers to contribute to the discussion online, via social networking sights such as twitter. The show has a large base of people who engage in online discussions about what they see on the show, so it is clearly a successful way of creating a dialogue between viewers.
The programme is a big influence for me, as it is the type of documentary I would really like to produce.
Below are two episodes from the same topic: Ten years on from 9/11, what are the lessons?