Sunday, November 22, 2015

The so-called "Family Channel" is a Canadian broadcaster responsible for several children's programmes including The Next Step - a mainstay of current CBBC schedules.

Family has been celebrating its 13th Annual Bullying Awareness Week, which coincided with Anti-Bullying week in Britain. Their website (not normally viewable outside Canada) tells people to "tune in all week starting November 16 for bullying-themed episodes and clips of Family stars talking about their experiences with bullying." And amongst the resources on the Family Channel website is a fact sheet to help parents and teachers reduce bullying against LGBTQ kids. The fact sheet is part of what the channel calls its StandUP! campaign.

The interesting thing about this Family Channel anti-bullying campaign resource is that it stresses the importance of 'inclusion' as a main factor in tackling homophobic bullying.

However, as Newsround Blog discovered some time ago, it appears that no shows made by the Family Channel actually portray gay or LGBT characters - Hypocrisy much? I've asked them about LGBT inclusion on Twitter several times, but have yet to receive a reply.

The Next Step is laced with racism and homophobia. And recent episodes (s3 eps25 & 26) have, once again, brought its xenophobic credentials to the fore. In an early episode we saw the characters making fun of British accents, but now we get to see more of the real contempt they have for British people ....

British exchange student Ella had become the best friend of Riley from The Next Step dance studio. Nevertheless Ella is shown in an extremely bad light when she totally betrays her friend in an attempt to win the Internationals trophy for Britain. Riley responds to the betrayal by telling Ella: "Not only is my team going to win, but we're going to do it without stooping to your level."

Notice, above, that Riley's team do not have a national flag on their outfits - they only have the TNS logo. Whereas British dancer Ella sports a large Union Jack on her outfit.

As if the racism, homophobia, xenophobia and other bigotry is not enough reason for CBBC to cancel this appalling children's show, at the end of a dance routine in series 3 episode 4 "Let the Games Begin" we see Eldon make an obscene gesture towards opponents in the 'Elite' dance team.

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