Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Save Kids' TV urges BBC to invest in homegrown programming

The Save Kids' TV campaign has made representations to the BBC Trust in relation to the BBC’s Strategy Review, which envisages additional funding for children’s programmes. The campaign, which the Writers' Guild supports, feels that the proposed £10m extra from a potential budget of £600m is just not enough.

In a letter to the Trust Chair, Sir Michael Lyons, Anna Home, Chair of the Save Kids’ TV Executive Committee, says:
We write to you as a group of organisations and individuals concerned about the level of provision of home-grown, public service children’s content in the UK.

The BBC has rightly identified this as one of the five content priorities in its current strategic review.

UK-made programming reflects the diverse lives British children lead today, representing society and the world around them in a way imported shows never can. Yet home-grown programming faces a well-documented crisis. Colette Bowe, Chair of Ofcom, recently told MPs that “We are sleepwalking into a situation where we do not have UK-generated content of a high quality for our kids.”

The BBC's own research, as well as Ofcom's, shows that parents strongly support having UK children's programming on the trusted, advertising-free services of the BBC.

However, BBC management proposes an increase of only £10m a year in the budget for children’s content – less than 2% of its total £600m re-prioritisation proposals. We call on the BBC Trust to ensure the BBC genuinely prioritises UK children’s content, and provides a significant financial commitment over the long term. To fund a substantial increase, the BBC could reduce imports such as Hollywood movies, over and above management’s modest proposal of a 20% cut. This would free up to £100m a year for British content, of which children's should be a priority.
Guild Chair, Bernie Corbett, is one of the signatories of the letter.


  1. Anonymous8:35 am

    Kids shouldn't be sitting around watching telly. They should be either doing their homework or exploring.

  2. With you on the "kids should be exploring" thing, though this probably isn't the best forum to discuss it.

    However, my daughter has learned to count from watching Numberjacks and learned about desalination from watching Nina and the Neurons - and the Sarah Jane Adventures and MI High are incredibly well shot, well acted and well written. Believe me, children's television nowadays is a million miles away from the chewing gum for the mind that I grew up with.

  3. Anonymous4:55 pm

    The media is a powerful tool in educating children. Let's not forget that. It should also be a way of helping them form judgement on what is quality and what is rubbish. Let's set the trend and make our next generation more discerning and enquiring.
    And yes when they aint watching they should be exploring!

  4. Let's also remember that a child learns about their culture and identity through the shows they watch and the books they read. They need to see their own country and values reflected back to them; not just a steady stream of wisecracking American children's imports and Japanese cartoons. Harry Potter and Dr Who have made a huge impact in the way British kids see themselves.

    Children's television also Big Business for Britain too. Harry and the Doctor have brought in millions of pounds through exports and also related industries such as tourism, catering, etc. The returns are huge for a not very great investment and Britain has never needed that money more.


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