OU/BBC
26 Jul 2012

BBC TWO announces new business programmes in partnership with The Open University

Evan Davis examines Britain’s infrastructure on a journey deep into the nation’s tracks, tunnels, pipes, cables and networks; Stephanie Flanders explores the revolutionary ideas of economic geniuses John Maynard Keynes, Karl Marx and Friedrich Hayek; and Hilary Devey looks at women at work in three new business and social science programmes for BBC TWO.

Dominic Crossley Holland, BBC Head of History and Business said: “These co-productions from the BBC/OU partnership illustrate the continuing commitment by both institutions to produce quality programming that educates and inspires learning. These new programmes will provide thought-provoking insights and challenging perspectives on some of the most topical issues affecting Britain today.”

Caroline Ogilvie, Head of Broadcasting Commissioning at The Open University commented “We were very keen to co-produce these distinct series as each one of them links closely to our teaching and learning in Business and Social Sciences. Our academic consultants on these programmes have also helped create rich content online to encourage viewers to engage in these topical issues. The OU/BBC partnership excels at creating and extending opportunities for people to take their interest in a subject further and to find out more about informal learning.”

As the west tackles the greatest economic downturn in eighty years, Masters of Money 3x60, presented by Stephanie Flanders explores the ideas of John Maynard Keynes, Karl Marx and Friedrich Hayek. All three were giants whose ideas live on today. They all recognised the doubled edged power of money. How markets could transform lives, but also plunge them into chaos. Keynes and Hayek argued about whether governments should try to tame capitalism. Karl Marx had the most radical advice of all: get rid of it altogether.

The series looks at how these theories have moulded the modern world. Stephanie explains these men were not mere theorists and shows how their ideas were adopted and adapted by prime ministers, presidents and dictators - shaping world events and the societies we live in. She argues that these explosive ideas helped create our troubled modern world. Can they now help us fix it?

Britain Under the Bonnet (Working Title) (2x60), presented by Evan Davis examines Britain’s infrastructure to find out what needs to be done to make it world-beating again. On the way, Davis meets the country’s unsung heroes who face the enormous engineering challenge of fixing the network that keeps the nation ticking over.

Having built her own business empire in the male dominated world of haulage, entrepreneur Hilary Devey has little time for women who complain about the glass ceiling. Armed with evidence of the benefits that female leadership can bring to business, Hilary’s challenge in Hilary Devey’s Women at the Top (2x60) is to find solutions that will increase gender diversity at work. Starting with her own company, Hilary is determined to get to the root of the problem: is it women’s responsibility, or do company bosses like Hilary herself need to change too?

Hilary Devey’s Women at the Top and Masters of Money were commissioned for the BBC by Martin Davidson, Commissioning Editor, History and Business and will be Executive Produced by Dominic Crossley-Holland. Britain under the Bonnet was commissioned by Clive Edwards, Commissioning Editor, Current Affairs and will be Executive Produced by Darren Kemp, Commissioner for The Open University, Caroline Ogilvie.

The BBC/ OU partnership aims to encourage people to actively participate in informal learning by exploring these highly topical and sometimes controversial subjects. The Open University has created a wide range of resources on its OpenLearn platform where the public can interact with the timeline of developments in Britain’s infrastructure, engage with six one minute animated guides to economics or play our “Boardroom Lottery” game.


Notes to Editors

The OU now has the opportunity to expand its public engagement, delivering a range of programmes and public education with the BBC and other broadcasters.

The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 1.7 million students and has more than 264,000 current students, including 18,000 overseas.

The OU has been one of the top three UK universities for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey every year since the survey began in 2005. In 2010/11 it had a 93 per cent satisfaction rating. Over 70% of students are in full-time or part-time employment, and four out of five FTSE 100 companies have sponsored staff to take OU courses.
In the UK’s latest Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008) the Open University was ranked in the top third of UK higher education institutions. More than 50% of OU research was assessed in the RAE as internationally excellent, with 14% as world leading.

Regarded as Britain’s major e-learning institution, the OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. Its vast ‘open content portfolio’ includes free study units on OpenLearn, which has had more than 21 million visits, and materials on iTunes U, which has recorded over 50 million downloads. The OU has a 41 year partnership with the BBC which has moved from late-night lectures in the 1970s to prime-time programmes such as Frozen Planet, Bang Goes the Theory and The Market.

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