Friday, 23 October 2009

New funding for children's television

The BBC Trust has approved an additional £25.5million investment in BBC Children's programming over three years, in order to secure high quality productions such as The Sarah Jane Adventures, which may have been at risk as a result of pressures on budgets.

Jana Bennett, Director BBC Vision, has welcomed the BBC Trust's endorsement of the package of initiatives designed to strengthen the role of the BBC as the cornerstone of home-produced children's output in the UK. The package is in response to the Trust's recommendations laid out in February 2009, and aims to reinforce the creative strength of BBC Children's and help the CBBC Channel maintain its position. Bennett said: "I am incredibly proud of the creative strength of CBeebies and CBBC and the unique value to children they bring. They empower, entertain and reflect the lives of children in this country through consistently high-quality, home-grown programmes."

The package includes continued monitoring of the CBBC block of programmes on BBC One together with a development of a daytime show that could play for half an hour at 5.30pm weekdays. If one is found and is successful, over the next two years the BBC will consider reinstating programmes such as The Sarah Jane Adventures, Blue Peter and Newsround to their original times around 5pm. Series One of The Sarah Jane Adventures was shown in this later slot and achieved 50% higher ratings than the shows shown at the current time of 4.35pm.

Bennett added: "We are seeking to balance the interests of viewers in supporting a strong 6 O'Clock News and protecting children's programmes."