Wednesday, July 28, 2010

From this morning's Newsround :

Ricky: School's out for the summer but some kids will be working really hard over the holidays, like the actors in the new CBBC series Just William. Filming starts this week, but Newsround got a peek behind the scenes as they got ready for the cameras.

(Video) Daniel Roche: I'm Daniel and I'm playing the main character. I love my hair but I have to get it cut because Just William is set in the 1950's and schoolboys at that time didn't have hair like mine........

Checking out the BBC's Press Office shows that Just William was actually commissioned over a year ago by the then Controller of CBBC, Anne Gilchrist. If you recall hearing the name before it could be because Anne Gilchrist is the very same person who axed Grange Hill on the pretext that "The lives of children have changed a great deal since Grange Hill began and we owe it to our audience to reflect this."

So an iconic kids programme was axed on the basis that it doesn't reflect "contemporary Britain," and now we have a series set in the 1950's.

Maybe the present Controller of CBBC, Damian Kavanagh, might like to explain.

When Stonewall published Tuned Out in 2006, the BBC appeared to go to some lengths to minimise the news. Unfortunately for the BBC however, Newsround Blog was onto the case. So when Unseen on Screen was published last week, the BBC was more open and honest with its reporting. Also see their review How TV's gay characters shape up

Unseen on Screen confirms Newsround Blog's own finding - that the BBC hasn't been treating LGB people fairly. Twenty of the programmes most watched by young people on terrestrial TV were examined. As before, the BBC came off worst in LGB representation.

Earlier this month the BBC Trust made clear that the BBC should not ignore or underserve particular audience groups. Making kids' programmes set in the 1950's is hardly going to do much to help turn things around. And axing Grange Hill, especially at a time when its creator, Phil Redmond, was hoping to make it even more relevant to today's generation, was reprehensible.

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