Recently I have been watching the documentary series Reggie Yates: Extreme Russia on BBC Three. I stumbled upon it by accident but became very intrigued, catching up on the first episode on iplayer and then watching the other two episodes of the series on television.
The series was split into three locations in Russia and three topics: Far Right and nationalist groups in Moscow, homosexuality and homophobia in St Petersburg and aspiring teen models in Siberia.
I would recommend this series as it is a really interesting watch. This is partly due to how the documentaries were made and the use of Reggie as a presenter.
Reggie is a very competent presenter. This should be obvious as he has had a successful presenting career in radio and television for a decade, if not more! However, his approach in the documentaries really impressed me as I had only previously seen him as a presenter on various children’s television programmes when I was younger, the first two series of The Voice UK and some other music-focused programmes such as Top of the Pops.
His approach was to be very respectful which is important when dealing with extremely sensitive topics and in potentially dangerous situations. As expected for a BBC programme, Reggie was objective for the most part. This is not always achieved by documentaries as the material is usually angled from a certain perspective and has a determined agenda of what it wants the viewer to take away from the programme in terms of agreeing with its content. Whilst there is obviously a Western perspective to these Extreme Russia documentaries on the sensitive topics, Reggie is extremely objective and tries to avoid explicitly stating his opinion on the matter until the end of the episodes. The documentaries were more about observing life in Russia than commenting on it. This approach was beneficial for Reggie as his objectivity (and I suppose partly his status as representing the BBC) allowed him to become involved with those Russians with opposing viewpoints. This is particularly clear in the episodes ‘Far Right and Proud’ and ‘Gay and Under Attack’. He was welcomed by those supporting opposing sides in both these episodes which helped make the documentaries more rounded and developed. It allows the audience to have a full experience and understanding of the situations in Russia regarding the involved social groups.
A very (unusually) short blog post but I had to share my thoughts on this documentary series as I thought it was very well crafted and presented. It was a credit to BBC Three.