Tweeting the Documentary

By Dan Biddle
Monday, 14 January 2013

Twitter and TV go hand in hand. You only have to watch the Tweets flow during shows like X Factor (@TheXFactor) or Question Time (@BBCQuestionTime) to see viewers sharing the highs and the lows of big TV moments and joining in the conversation with other fans around the country.

But in addition to being somewhere that fans can get involved in the conversation during TV shows, Twitter is also becoming a valuable tool helping producers find stories and create TV shows.

One great example of this is tonight’s Channel Four current affairs programme Dispatches, which was inspired by a conversation that presenter Tim Lovejoy, (@TimLovejoy) had on Twitter with MP Tim Loughton (@TimLoughton).

The exchange prompted the Dispatches team to create a show investigating shared parenting by separated couples, asking whether current legislation in this area is up-to-date with the way modern families operate.

The Tweets tell the story:

And so a programme was born, and the production team used Twitter to successfully source vital contributors as they put it together. 

They also used Twitter to source questions for the experts they interviewed:

Tim also used the platform to share the progress of his personal journey into the subject: 

Tim Lovejoy (@TimLovejoy) will be hosting a live Q&A on Twitter after the show (from 8.30pm Monday 14 January), to discuss the programme and the issues raised around modern parenting.

Twitter Q&As are a fantastic way to continue the debate and conversation about a TV show after the credits roll. Shows from The Only Way Is Essex to Downton Abbey regularly host Q&As with their cast during and after the shows.

Tweet your questions for Tim Lovejoy with the hashtag #sharingmumdad and of course share your thoughts throughout the programme via Twitter.

Dispatches: Sharing Mum and Dad airs at 8pm Monday 14 January on Channel Four.