Will My Puppies Make Me Rich: BBC condemns personal attacks on young documentary makers

Stephen Chapman's picture
by Stephen Chapman
BBC

The BBC has released a further statement today about the programme, previously known as Will My Puppies Make Me Rich.

The documentary, which won a pitching competition at the Sheffield Doc/Fest was labelled “irresponsible” by the RSPCA and the original story on Prolific North has received more than 200 comments.

The BBC has changed the working title of the programme to Britain’s Puppy Boom: Counting the Cost, which it said “makes clear the BBC’s and the programme’s intentions.”

The corporation added that there was never an intention to create a programme about how to exploit animals for profit and that the documentary would be underpinned by “sound journalism.”

“It will not be a ‘how to’ guide. It is not about encouraging people to get into breeding. Nor is it an attempt to glamorise breeding.”

It also condemned the personal attacks aimed at Sophia Slater and Helena Rochester, who won the pitching competition, which is a launchpad for new programme-making talent.

“They are not dog breeders but felt the subject was an interesting one to tackle due to the rise in demand for dogs over the past few months,” read the statement.

"The BBC is responsible for commissioning the film and its editorial direction.”

The full statement is below:

"The title of the programme is a working title. It is not uncommon for programmes to have working titles while they are developed. As the working title has allowed there to be some ambiguity around what the content might be, we have now chosen the new working title - Britain’s Puppy Boom: Counting the Cost. We think that title makes clearer the BBC’s and the programmes intentions.

To clarify further, It will be a film underpinned by sound journalism, providing a balanced exploration of why more young people have become interested in turning their passion for dogs into a profession, done responsibly, as well as understanding the wider negative impacts of the rise in demand for dogs. It will not be a ‘how to’ guide. It is not about encouraging people to get into breeding. Nor is it an attempt to glamorise breeding.

The welfare of animals is of the utmost importance and this programme will follow young individuals that are already responsibly breeding or are training to become accredited in order to highlight what constitutes best practice. The idea was commissioned during a live pitch event for new talent which is different to how we usually commission, but it will now be developed and made in accordance with the usual processes in line with BBC Editorial Guidelines and the production team will research and consult widely within the industry.

The BBC condemns the personal attacks that have been directed towards the young women who pitched the idea of the documentary. They are not dog breeders but felt the subject was an interesting one to tackle due to the rise in demand for dogs over the past few months. The BBC is responsible for commissioning the film and its editorial direction.

We hope this statement makes clear the position."

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