Saturday, May 13, 2006

Richard Deverell, head of CBBC interviewed by Ellie on 12 May 2006

Newsround's entry for the Prix Jeunesse 2006 may have failed to garner any support for prizes this week, but yesterday Newsround demonstrated just how relevant a programme it can be. Richard Deverell, head of CBBC was brought in to explain the decision to axe Byker Grove.

Ellie, who usually presents the programme, put viewers' questions to Richard. But as we've seen previously, most of the feedback Newsround receives is from secondary school aged people.

CBBC head defends Byker decision

I'll have more to say about the interview later.

Report and interview in full

Ellie: Why is it over for Byker Grove? We put your questions to the boss at CBBC.

Yesterday on Newsround we told you how after 17 years the Geordie drama is coming to a close. The next series is going to be the last one ever. One reason for the decision is that CBBC wants to focus more on shows aimed at younger children of primary school age.

Well since yesterday so many of you have emailed us to say how upset and angry you are about Byker going that we've brought in the head of CBBC, Richard Deverell to answer some of your points.

Richard, thanks for coming in. We've had so many emails about this - people saying how important Byker Grove was to them.

Nicola says Byker Grove is useful for younger children. She says it deals with issues like bullying and relationships so it's educational. And Max says surely the BBC needs more shows that relate how hard teenage life is, not less. What do you say to them?

Richard: Well I agree with Nicola and Max. I think it's very important that we cover those subjects, and we will continue to cover those subjects both in our existing shows such as Tracy Beaker and Grange Hill, but also of course we've got a number of exciting new projects in the pipeline.

Several people have also picked up on this idea of CBBC going for a more primary school audience. Mark says "so now there'll be CBeebies for toddlers, CBBC for primary school children, BBC for adults. Where does that leave us teens?"

Well, he's right. I think there is a gap there for teenagers, particularly for the 12-16 year olds and actually the BBC has recognised this and they've announced that they're going to launch some new services aimed at exactly that age group. So hopefully in the near future you'll see some services and programmes aimed exactly at the people that he describes.

And what about other shows? Things like Grange Hill, a similar kind of age to Byker Grove. Is that going to go as well?

No. I think, you know, it's important to keep the programmes fresh, we can't keep programmes forever. Having said that, there are no plans to change Grange Hill.

Are you sad that Byker Grove's going?

I am. It's been around a very long time. It's launched some great careers, some fantastically talented people and some great stories. But we felt it was the right time to end it. We wanted to make sure that all the shows on CBBC were right for that 6-12 year old audience. And of course we needed to end some shows in order to be able to launch new ones.

And also Luke has emailed us from Newcastle saying "I'm gutted Byker Grove is finishing. Not only is it a great teen drama, but also a pillar of Newcastle's culture. Is there going to be anything else coming from the North East to replace it?"

There will be. We are determined to maintain our commitment to the North East. I hope that, maybe not next year but the year after, we will absolutely be doing a drama or some other major production based in the North East.

Lovely, thanks for joining us today Richard.

And we'll keep you posted of course with news about what's going to replace Byker Grove as soon as we get it.


Anonymous said...

Byker Grove has been going on for so long and over the years it has been attracting more and more people... so why get rid of it now?

Anonymous said...

The TV production company 'Gallowgate Productions TV' owned by Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly have bought the rights to Byker Grove.