Feeds

Lara Croft, Ally McBeal or Missus Beaton?

A lesson in social engineering

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Do-gooding social engineers have bungled an attempt to get more women into sci/tech industries with a TV soap that depicts them making a success of careers traditionally pursued by men.

Lobbyists trying to break the masculine mould in sci/tech jobs came up with the idea that in order to get more women into nerdy jobs, they needed female role models for girls aspiring to be the next Marie Curie or... Carol Vorderman?... er, Wendy Padbury?

So, The Public Awareness of Science and Engineering (PAWS) Drama Fund commissioned a soap opera. Sort of like vanity broadcasting for a charitable cause. But it has failed to find a buyer.

Tony McHale, the award-winning television writer commissioned to pen the pilot, says he supported the cause, but was sceptical of its chances of success.

"People say, why don't you do a science soap? My reply is that no one will commission it, because it's boring," he says.

Campaigners regularly cite the examples of television heroines whose appearances have presaged a flood of applications from hopeful, skirted school-leavers.

Kylie Minogue is supposed to have encouraged girls to take up tools with her portrayal of a bubbly tomboy mechanic in the Australian soap Neighbours. It is said Ally McBeal has single-handedly brought equality to all but the top levels of the law profession.

But it looks like PAWS' attempt to do the same for sci/tech - a series about a science campus called "Happy Valley" - has come a cropper because it tried to fly too high. In fact, it failed to even get off the ground.

McHale knows a thing or two about strong female leads. He was sought out because of his work on Silent Witness, a police drama that starred Amanda Burton as a forensic scientist. Burton is attributed with attracting scores of women into scientific sleuthing.

McHale says he predicted the soap would not get commissioned because British television is already saturated with soaps. He also had to deal with the naive expectations moral champions often have of the media.

"They were keen to show science in a positive light," he says. "But I argued that if it were to be a soap there would have to be some villains...the whole essence of drama is conflict. It's hard to do a happy-go-lucky drama."

The next step in data security

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.