LONDON – It may not challenge the new Indiana Jones or "Sex and the City" movies, but Britain's House of Lords is debuting five new YouTube videos Friday in hopes of updating its image as a sleepy haven for elderly, affluent gentlemen.
The short, informal videos will air on YouTube's Parliament channel, which has been offering virtual tours of the Parliament building. The new videos try to soften the upper house by making it more accessible to youthful viewers, said Baroness Hayman, the Lord Speaker.
"The videos we have placed on the YouTube channel reflect the diversity and expertise in the House of Lords and its relevance to young people, and we hope that they will help to combat some of the outdated stereotypes of members of the upper house," she said.
Made by Agile Films for about $10,000, the videos focus on the diversity of the House of Lords, stressing the presence of women and minorities that has made the body much more inclusive over the last 50 years.
Avoiding any emphasis on tradition and the Lords' place in British history, the videos use contemporary music and short, quick interviews. Many teenagers appear, often expressing negative views about politicians or admitting they are confused about what legislators do.
"We're trying to engage with younger people and people who may not be interested in politics," said spokesman Owen Williams. "We looked at YouTube because it appeals to people outside the political elite."
The House of Lords already set up a "Lords of the Blog" Web site that allows members to share their thoughts with the public. On Thursday, Lord Norton blogged about how quickly rumors spread throughout Parliament's two houses — the Commons and the Lords.