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Last Updated: Monday, 21 March, 2005, 15:20 GMT
If... TV Goes Down The Tube
The last few years have seen a magician play Russian roulette live on television, police called to quell violence on Big Brother and the first reality television sex scene.

There are more and more channels, hours of programming and ways of watching than ever before. The medium is also encroaching into other aspects of life such as shopping, gaming and even voting.

A new e-democracy, made possible by interactive television, is a realistic possibility for the future. But what might be the implications?

IF... TV GOES DOWN THE TUBE
BBC Two
Monday, 21 March, 2005
2320 GMT

Shot as a visceral thriller, IF's meticulously researched drama-documentary examines the coming digital revolution.

It lays out a vision of the future where television has become the most powerful political tool ever invented - and where even democracy seems to be open to corruption.

Drama

It is 2016.

If... TV Goes Down The Tube
In the drama, Mary comes to realise the power of the technology
Television is at the heart of an intricate web of new technologies, which govern everything we do from shopping and dating, to computer games and voting.

Far from being a technological paradise, this is a dystopian future, in which television carries thousands of channels explicit of sex and violence.

We follow the story of single mother Mary Alton, who watches with horror as her daughter kills herself on a live broadcast of a nightmarish reality show.

Mary's initial search for justice takes her to the heart of a conspiracy between government and the political world.

Far from the safe world of family entertainment, television has become like the internet - carrying thousands of channels of unregulated programming - which no one is able to monitor or control.

And the technology is able to track us as much as we are able to track it.

Television has enormous power, and digital technology is transforming democracy beyond recognition.

The same communications hubs that allow people to vote for Big Brother have been adapted to vote for government.

The programme takes the viewer to the heart of global media corporations and the government - and their ambition to control the power of the new medium.

But who will own television in 2016? And will they also own democracy?


Director: Eamon Hardy
Assistant producer: Julie Noon
Series editor: Mary Downes




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