The BBC has been given rare access to David Cameron’s alma mater Eton College for a television programme which it plans to broadcast to children.
“My Life – Most Famous School in the World” will be screened on the CBBC channel, will follow three 13-year-old boys as they acclimatise to Eton life during their first term at the exclusive institution.
Kez Margrie, who commissioned the project for the BBC, said the featured boys had all won their places through scholarships and that the programme makers were not endorsing the values of a private education. “I feel very happy that we are not in any way trying to push a message,” she said.
Ms Margrie said: “To put it in perspective we do a lot of filming in state schools and as far as I know this is the first time we have ever done anything like this. It’s certainly the first time we have been to such an elite school.”
The 30-minute programme – which shows the school from the perspective of the children - follows seven years of negotiations between Eton and the BBC. Sarah Murch, the executive producer, said the headmaster had agreed to filming when the opportunity arose to cover three scholarship boys. “I suppose I harangued him every year, and my patience paid off when I saw a story about a boy who had won a scholarship and whose family ran a Chinese takeaway in Leigh on Sea (Essex).”
Margrie said that all three boys were “extremely bright” and had passed a “rigorous selection process”. She predicted that parents who watched the programme – due to be shown in February – would have differing reactions. “Some will think ‘I would love my children to go there’ and others will think ‘I’m glad my child is with me and comes home every night.’”