Monday, May 28, 2007

Children's TV on Trial - Part 1

Gethin Jones, speaking on Blue Peter (23 May 2007): "We've invited four 21st-century children to journey back in time."

The four children were taking part to find out what they thought of children's television over each of the five earlier decades starting with the 1990's and working backwards to the 1950's.

The four were:

Jonti, 12 year old boy living in Cheshire
Amira, 11 year old girl from North West London
Ieuan, 10 year old boy from South West Wales
Emily, 11 year old girl from Somerset

The kids recognised Shane Ritchie in Run the Risk, but when David Walliams appeared in a sketch on The Ant & Dec Show they wrongly identified him as Matt Lucas.

After they had watched a 1994 episode of Byker Grove, the only comment we heard was from Jonti who said: "There wasn't really a strong storyline at all. It was very boring."

Actually the kids had quite a lot more to say about that particular episode of Byker Grove, as was clear from a programme later in the week on BBC4. What Blue Peter had failed to make clear was that the Byker Grove episode was ground-breaking: the first time a gay kiss had been shown on children's television.

It seems that CBBC has become more prejudiced than it was in the 1990's. These days they aren't even prepared to show children a screenshot of one boy kissing another.

How does all this square with the BBC diversity policy and its commitment to be inclusive in the latest Statements of Programme Policy?

In Part 2 of this blog we report what the children had to say about the Byker Grove episode.

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