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BBC to launch ‘timely’ season to bridge political differences in divided world

BBC director general Tony Hall (Ben Stansall/PA)
BBC director general Tony Hall (Ben Stansall/PA)

The BBC is launching a “timely” series of programmes encouraging people to cross political divides in a polarised world.

Programmes in the Crossing Divides schedule will aim to explore and narrow the gaps of religion, geography, age and ethnicity which separate factions in a fragmented modern era.

The broadcaster is seeking to push different world views in to dialogue, and director general Tony Hall has welcomed the year of conciliatory programmes.

Shows will see Stacey Dooley face-to-face with a suicide bomber, mothers disguised as 21-year-olds to bridge the age gap, far right and far left activists in conversation, and commuters thrown into debate on public transport.

Lord Hall said: “Crossing Divides couldn’t be more timely – it is an ambitious season that will bring fascinating stories to audiences across the UK and the world, and help us understand a little more of each other’s worlds.”

In Stacey Dooley: Face To Face With A Suicide Bomber, the Strictly Come Dancing winner will talk to female Boko Haram survivors who had failed to detonate their suicide devices. She will travel to the war-torn east of Nigeria to see how communities have been affected by terror.

Stacey Dooley
Stacey Dooley will travel to Nigeria (PA)

Also on BBC Three, 21 Again will see youthful-looking mothers infiltrate the world of the younger generation.

On BBC Radio 5 Live thousands of political opposites will be paired off in a series of chats to try and reach common ground. On BBC World News representatives of the far left and far right will be filmed in conversation, as will citizens of Russia and Ukraine.

Emily Kasriel, BBC editor for the special season, said: “Crossing Divides draws on the BBC’s public purpose to contribute to social cohesion and our solutions-focused journalism initiative to explore themes of collaboration and relationships across divides, whilst also asking searching questions and stimulating new thinking.”

BBC Two Pilgrimage: The Road To Rome will see people from different faiths travel to the centre of the Catholic world.

Educational programmes exploring global differences and how to negotiate a diverse world will also run on BBC services for children and young people.

Crossing Divides will run across the year on TV, news, radio and online starting from March 4.

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