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Television needs broad voices and different opinions, says Reggie Yates

Published 25/08/2016

Reggie Yates joined a discussion at the Edinburgh International Television Festival
Reggie Yates joined a discussion at the Edinburgh International Television Festival

Broadcaster Reggie Yates has spoken of the importance of having "original voices" in TV.

Appearing at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, he sa id "interesting things can happen" when new stories and perspectives are brought to the small screen.

"I think the only way you can truly understand the world through television is if there are broad voices and different opinions," he told an audience.

Yates - who is also an actor, writer and director - formed part of a panel discussion on what men want from the small screen in 2016.

He told panel chair Sue Perkins: "I think that the gap between what men and women want (from TV) is shrinking, particularly with younger audiences.

"The example of Game Of Thrones is a great one. I think there's a lot of young men out there who are just as big a fan of that show as there are young women because it's good and there are interesting characters, regardless of whether they are men or women.

"I think when it comes to factual (programming) in particular, I've learnt the hard way.

"You have to be open to putting yourself in the show, putting your own belief system on screen and allowing the story to change on camera, as opposed to going out there knowing what you're going to get."

Yates, who has examined British masculinity in his BBC Three series Men At War, told the audience at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre: "I think what people are excited by is... the idea of different voices and different stories, because it's so boring to hear the same perspective and point of view on television continuously.

"The minute that you've got original stories and fresh voices, interesting things can happen."

He continued: "I think the most important thing is original voices, because we've had the same voice for so long. It's only really in the last five to 10 years we've started to hear some original ones."

Yates, 33, also reflected on the changing way in which young people engage with television and digital content.

"I'm part of that generation that's grown up with the internet, we've grown up with content being something that we're drawn to, as opposed to television," he said.

"We don't see TV as being TV, we just see content as being the thing that we consume. That might be entertainment from YouTube, it might be drama from Netflix.

"For me it's all about story and it's all about quality, as opposed to where it's come from.

"If it's a factual programme, as long as there's a decent story at the core of it, that's what's interesting to me.

"I think there's a whole generation of people who don't subscribe to the idea that 'this channel's for me' or 'this programme's for me'.

"I think there is a generation of people who are drawn to what's good. The question is, 'is it good or not', not 'where is it coming from'."

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