Monday, 8 March 2010

A cavity to fill

There was some memorable children's drama when I was a kid:

  • The Battle of St. George Without (1969/70, BBC, black & white. Kids got together to save a disused church.)

  • Timeslip (1970, ABC) – brilliant adventure series.

  • Follyfoot (1970, Yorkshire Television) – okay, I realise this one was probably aimed more at the girls, but I fancied the heroine, Dora, so there. The producer sent me one of the scripts when, as a child, I asked if they were looking for new writers. He advised me to go out into the world, find new experiences and find out "what makes people tick". I think that, almost 40 years later, I might have done just that.

  • The Queen Street Gang (1968). This came with the brand new Thames Television and I have the theme music going through my head at this very moment.

  • Tom Grattan's War (1968). This was Yorkshire Television's adventure series, set on the farmlands of Yorkshire during the First World War. Amazing, and it could easily put to shame many recent offerings to children's entertainment.

Nowadays, the BBC seems to be producing the bulk of output for children, whilst ITV seems to have drastically reduced its content for the junior market. Why is this? Might it have something to do with restrictions on advertising crappy high-sugar food during the breaks of TV programmes aimed at kids?

So let me get this straight: ITV doesn't make many children's programmes, now, because advertisers aren't interested in the slots watched by children...

Perhaps, in a perfect world, ITV should see the production of quality drama for children as a moral obligation. And talking of which, the manufacturers of junk food aimed at kids should also consider their responsibilities.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Graham,

    Neat blog title.

    You've gotten me thinking about the children's drama that was on the BBC when I was growing up. As far as I've seen there isn't anything for youngsters thesedays that's on par with programmes such as The Owl Service, Chocky or Round the Twist, even Maid Marrian; it seems that such quality dramas and comedies have been replaced with programmes that lean heavily toward the scatological (case in point, compare the original Basil Brush to the latest incarnation) and are fuelled to the point of overdosing on crappy high-sugar food; it's like a 60's psycedelia revival party - and to think that MTV was once considered fast-paced! Maybe I'm just getting sentimental, or can no longer see through a 21st century child's eyes, but maybe I'm right.