The Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT) has made a short spoof filmclip: Badass Wombles of Central Park to warn of a crisis facing UK children's television. Lack of homegrown children's programmes was also one of the issues raised in Ofcom's PSB report published on 10 April 2008.
The Womble clip asks: "Ever wonder why your kids speak a different language?" The answer, according to PACT, is that children's TV is dominated by imported shows - new UK programmes account for just 1% of all children's television broadcast in the UK. Great Uncle Bulgaria adds "... and I thought I was short-sighted. Tell those Wombles in government we need to start making British programmes for British kids again before it's too late." The filmclip ends with a question - "what is a fanny pack anyway?" (it means a "bum bag" in British English)
In my blog of 24 March 2008 I quoted Jocelyn Hay, from the Voice of the Listener and Viewer, who wants children to grow up to be informed citizens of this country and not of some mid-Atlantic fantasy world.
This morning Jana Bennett, BBC Director of Vision, spoke to Breakfast TV about her reaction to the PACT campaign. She suggested that the BBC may devote more resources to homegrown content, particularly in regard to CBeebies, but her precise intentions were unclear.
In the same blog (24 March) I mentioned how programmes like Grange Hill and Byker Grove have been ruthlessly axed by CBBC. One of CBBC's new imports is the cartoon Eliot Kid, variously described as "Pour les enfants de 4 à 8 ans" (TF1) and "Target group 6 - 9" (H,L&T). Apparently not even the dubbing for Eliot Kid is done in this country - language, as with the PACT spoof filmclip, is all American English. For instance, in one episode when their teacher asks Max to work with Mimi in a class presentation about grasshoppers, Max calls Mimi a "slowpoke" (it means "slowcoach" in British English). So much for BBC homegrown content.
Wombles in Da Hood
Wombles warning over TV imports