David Baddiel to explore impact of social media in new BBC documentary

The one hour programme will explore social media and its impact.
The one hour programme will explore social media and its impact.

Author and TV star David Baddiel will explore the impact of social media on behaviour both “on and offline” in a new BBC documentary, it has been announced.

The hour-long BBC Two programme titled David Baddiel: Social Media, Anger And Us will see the 57-year-old asking “whether something originally designed to help us talk to each other leads to everyone shouting at each other”.

He will also be scrutinising his own social media behaviour, and analysing “angry and hateful tweets he receives”, as well as undergoing an MRI scan to “interrogate his brain’s responses to these messages”, the BBC said.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie premiere – London
David Baddiel (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The comedian, who is a “self-confessed Twitter addict”, will go “cold turkey” and not use social media for a period of two weeks and will also be exploring the concept of “cancel culture” and whether it is “a new type of mass democracy or just mob rule”.

He said: “David Bowie, in 1999, said, of the internet, this will change everything. As ever, Bowie was a prophet.

“Because what seems like just a means of communication has completely changed how we communicate.

“Social media in particular, seems to have raised the temperature of every type of utterance. I’m hoping this film will add to the understanding of all this and not the anger. But I’m still expecting to be shouted at online about it, of course.”

Baddiel, who has nearly 800,000 Twitter followers and more than 110,000 Instagram followers, will meet people whose lives have been “broken” by trolls online as well as a TikTok star whose house was hit by an arson attack.

The term “cancel culture” has gained popularity in recent years and is the phenomenon of calling out, or “cancelling” people or brands for perceived offensive behaviour.

Wall to Wall’s executive producer Emily Shields said: “Wall to Wall are delighted to have had the chance to work with David on this film which explores a complicated and incredibly pertinent subject in a way that feels utterly accessible.”

The BBC’s commissioning editor of factual, Emma Loach, said: “David’s thoughtful and intelligent film is timely and urgent. It explores the positive, negative and complex sides to our online and offline selves and assesses the impact social media is having on all of our lives.”