Friday, June 22, 2012

With all the romance on CBBC in mind - you know programmes like Wingin' It - Newsround Blog readers might be interested in an email I wrote to the Director of Children's, Joe Godwin, at the start of last year (10th January 2011) -

Hi Joe,

Many thanks for your email at the weekend.

I'm pleased you asked about my Alan Turing drama idea. And yes, I was thinking of a dramatisation of Turing's life for children's TV. I watched the remake of Just William over the holiday period, and noticed that romance and relationships were quite prominent. We see William's brother and sister dating, and William's teacher saying that "our society is founded on a man and a woman wanting to be together." By the fourth episode William's antipathy towards girls has gone, and he wants to be friends with Dorinda.

Of course kids have crushes at the age of 11, or sometimes at an earlier age. CBBC recognised that fact with programmes like Eliot Kid and Little Howard's Big Question, but I doubt that those stories turned any gay children straight. Using the same reasoning, a children's drama about an LGB person is not going to alter the sexual orientation of straight kids. However making children's TV inclusive is likely to encourage tolerance, as was recognised in past storylines in CBBC programmes such as Byker Grove and Grange Hill.

Alan Turing is an apposite subject for a British children's drama for 2012, which is the centenary of his birth and the year of the London Olympics. Alan was a top class runner as well as mathematician, codebreaker, gay rights pioneer and a senior figure in the development of the computer. He succumbed to the prejudices of a bygone age.

Turing's teenage crush on Christopher Morcom was no different to, say, six-year-old Eliot Kid's crush on Loretta or Little Howard's feelings towards Little Susan. And if the BBC is to represent everyone, with no group underserved, it needs to deliver for LGBT children and teenagers. What better luminary could there be for the CBBC to celebrate in 2012?

I've had a few (sketchy) ideas for a dramatisation, and I suspect that Andrew Hodges would be happy to act as a consultant if you want to take the project further as I hope you will.

If you've been keeping up with my blog, you'll know that I also had an idea for MOTD Kickabout next month.

Best wishes,
Joe wrote back on 24th January 2011, mentioning the move to Manchester, the Sadie J controversy on Digital Spy forums and Ballet Boys episode from the My Life documentary series. There was no mention of my idea re: Alan Turing.

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