Friday, November 13, 2015

Anti-Bullying Week starts on Monday.

One way the BBC can help reduce bullying is to make programmes which represent all viewers, and, to some extent children's TV has succeeded in that aim. Last year, for example, CBBC tackled homophobia and homophobic bullying on Newsround for the first time. And CBBC's 'Our School' documentary series, included a deputy headteacher from London, Shaun Dellenty, giving a school assembly about the harm caused by homophobic bullying.

However, the Corporation still seems to have an issue with allowing young people to self-identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual, though the same is not true of those who identify as transgender. The 'My Life' documentary I Am Leo, about trans boy Leo Waddell is due to be repeated this Sunday.

Regrettably, no new children's drama portraying LGB young people was broadcast on CBBC in 2015. Rarely a day goes by without children's dramas portraying 'straight' romantic relationships.

A question about the lack of representation of children with disabilities was asked at this year's Children's Media Conference. The questioner, Camilla Arnold, explained that while growing up she saw little, if any, representation of deaf people on television, unless they were elderly - and only a handful of characters had any other form of disability. Camilla asked if more should be done to ensure children's programmes reflect real life.

Anna Home, who worked on BBC children's TV many years ago, agreed, and said there was a need to avoid ghettoisation but that drama is a very good way of bringing in new characters.

Alice Webb, said she was very proud of what BBC Children's is doing in terms of diversity - 26% of representation on CBBC and CBeebies. Alice couldn't remember the individual diversity figures, but said she'd be happy to get them out. However, the BBC has not since responded favourably to requests for the information.

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