The UK's Kids TV debacle - er, debate - took a
new turn yesterday when
the regulator blocked
ITV's moves to further reduce its committment to
childrens television broadcasting on ITV1.
As many will know, ITV have
been seeking to reduce the amount of kids
tv they tramsit, in the run up
to the UK's digital switchover - and indeed,
have slashed their committment
to the genre dramatically already. But their
rush for change is undermining
a forty year heritage that's the envy of the
world, and left many an
independent producer biting their nails in fear
of the future.
ITV didn't reveal the contents of their most
recent proposal, but given
that ITV1currently only broadcasts one hour
of childrens tv a day,
including ad breaks and sponsor messages,
it seemed likely that they
wanted to do away with the slot altogether.
So Ofcom's intervention
is welcome news indeed. But the victory is
presumably only temporary.
With ad revenues plunging and digital tv channels
growing like knotweed
around their analogue forefathers, there is
still much to discuss
You can't keep a good dog down, they say, especially
when that dog is
Dougal, the sugarlumping, droll, dry star
of The Magic Roundabout.
Recently he and Florence and his Magic Garden
pals returned to our
screens in that much-trumpeted
CGI movie, of course. But the film's
fair-to-middling success left some folks suggesting
this dog had had
...But they're about to be proved wrong, because
Graham Ralph and
the gang at Silver
Fox Films are currently working with Action Synthese
of France to bring us 52 brand new tv episodes,
based upon the new-look
characters from the film, and including Soldier
Sam and Train who came
to the fore in that production. The writing
and story boarding are being done
in the UK and the CGI is being produced in Marseilles
primarily by M6 TV France and Nickleodeon
UK in 2007/2008.
So our favourite teatime star returns once
more, like some blue cat with
nine lives. Presumably, the new show will stick
to the softer formula
of the recent film, rather than the acidic
delights of its earlier incarnation.
But there you go, Dougal's back -again!
It's no secret anymore. "The Secret Show"
is all set to premier this
Saturday on BBC2 and CBBC.
As many folks will
know, "The Secret Show" is a Collingwood O'Hare
production starring Victor Volt and Anita
Knight - super agents at large
on a series of impossible missions. The duo
work for U.Z.Z protecting
the world against the evil forces of T.H.E.M. Guided
by their mentor
whose name really is Changed Daily and abetted
by a host of wild
technogagdets, these two karate-kicking, crime-fighting
on a range of super villains, ne'erdowells and
There's Mr. Atom (played by Eastender Mike
Reid), the world’s smallest
man with a big appetite for revenge. Robert
Baron (Tom Baker) is billed
a wildly overprotective father with a secret room
and a secret plan.
Nana-Poo-Poo (Penelope Keith) is the nanny
leader of a crack squad of
commando babies hellbent on taking over the world.
(Felicity Kendall) is a dazzling former secret
agent held prisoner by
a chap known as Hamster Man. And let's not forget Lucky
(Stephen Fry) who starred in the series pilot...
If the production has turned out anything
like that pilot then
will be a super series to savour!
So pay attention, "The Secret Show"
begins this Saturday 16th September
within the new BBC2 show TMi, which runs from 9am
till 11:45am on BBC2.
It'll also be on CBBC....
Kingdom" is a big new series from Astley Baker Davies.
The 52 x 10mins production has just been snapped
up by Nick Jnr.
who plan to air the show from September 2008.
The series stars Ben the Elf and a Fairy Princess
who live in the titular kingdom. It's a miniature
realm with huge
flowers and grasses taller than the tallest
trees - well, it looks
that way to tiny faeryfolk, at least.
Young Holly is still learning how to fly properly,
and how to wield
her fairy magic. But Ben's skills lie elsewhere.
He's very good at
making things - especially toys.
like Peppa Pig, Ben and Holly's
voices will be provided by real
children, as opposed to adults pretending to
be children. That's a tricky
thing to pull off, but Peppa's turned out oinkingly-well,
And again, just like Peppa, the advance buzz
on "Little Kingdom"
is very positive. Back in April, the pilot was
nominated for the
Best Pilot Pulcinella award at Cartoons On the
Bay - which
is prestigious praise indeed.
2008 is still an age away, of course. But
never fear. Whilst
we're waiting we can catch up with the new
second series of
"Peppa Pig" which launches on Five
and Nick Jnr this
Autumn - *snort*....
Okay, so The Hound has been rambling on about
the state of children's
television in the UK, and the dramatic changes
that are being implemented
by ITV, and to a lesser extent by the BBC.
But is it all just playground prattle,
or should we be genuinely concerned?
Well now you can have your say on the
matter. BAFTA are hosting an
open debate next Wednesday, 13th September,
at the Princess Anne
Theatre in Piccadilly, London.
Here's the lowdown:
Children's Television - Thrown Out of the
A debate on the future of children's media,
chaired by Nigel Pickard
2006 is a pivotal year for the future of children's
OFCOM are on the verge of making recommendations
government that will affect advertising revenue
children's programmes, with potentially devastating results
to our industry. This, at a time when ITV are already
the number of hours dedicated to children's television,
the advent of new media is fracturing our audience across
many new platforms.
Is television simply reaching the end of its natural
as the number one provider of entertainment for our kids?
Or is there a battle to fight to protect a rich cultural
that is the envy of the world?
The debate aims to analyse the present predicament and
to the future, hopefully discovering a happy ending before
Panellists currently confirmed:
John Whittingdale MP (Chairman of the Committee of
Culture, Media and Sport), Anne Brogan (Granada Kids),
Adam Minns (PACT), Lloyd Salmon (Outside Line)
Also speaking from the floor:
Tim Suter (OFCOM), Richard Deverel (CBBC),
Steven Andrew (ITV), Finn Arnesen (Cartoon Network),
Michael Carrington (Cbeebies), Greg Childs (Action for
UK Children’s Media), Howard Litton (Nickelodeon),
Ashley Cooksley (AOL), Jocelyn Hay (Viewers and
Booking:To reserve a place in advance, please
or call 020 7292 5806
Academy Members: Free Non
So there you go. If you've got something to
say, for or against the
situation, go to the meeting. It might cost
you a tenner, but that's
surely a small price to pay to get yourself
heard at this
hello. Someone's been reading
this site. Reading and digesting,
indeed. Why else would we have this week's
exciting announcement from
FremantleMedia? - Apparently,
they've just signed several licensing deals
for "DangerMouse". There's a women's
clothing line forthcoming, but
far bigger and brighter is the announcement
that Concept 2 Creation
are going to bring us a range of collectable
The range is set to include Baron Greenback
plotting behind his desk,
DangerMouse and Penfold in their iconic yellow
car, and the dynamic duo
fleeing from an exploding bomb. The deals
have been struck in run-up to
DM's 25th anniversary. As you probably know
now, the series has been
sprung on us, in its entierty on DVD at last.
But what you might not
know is that the BBC are going to transmit
the series on tv again, in the
run up to that special jubilee.
So at last we're getting some figures - How
long have we waited? - 25 years!
Let's keep our fingers crossed for these goodies.
We have waves of DM
licensing before, of course. Most recently,
Golden Bear produced some
super talking toys for the new millenium,
and Blueprint put out a fab
range of stationery. But collectable figures
are what we've alwatys wanted.
Let's just hope and pray they meet our ridiculously-high
and are not just kiddy toys. We want figures
of the quality of McFarlane's
new Hanna-Barbera range, or those extraordinary
Muppets figures from
the late-lamented Pallisades Toys. Make 'em
for True Blue collectors,
folks. And do us proud.
And then... Why, then, Fremantle might offer
up the rights to Chorlton and the
Wheelies and The Hound can finally get his hands on a glorious
Happiness Dragon of his very own - *sigh*
Oh, we can all dream. But recently, it seems
so many dreams really
have come true!
The latest poster for "Flushed Away"
has escaped over the weekend,
and it's a very colourful piece. Certainly
a vast improvement on the teaser
image. And it's also good to see that Aardman
are finally getting
equal billing with the DreamWorks brigade - just
as they should have
done from the start...
Isn't it funny how a single image can change
your view on a film?
This is an inventive poster, with Roddy and
friends riding their blenders
through the sewers, and more importantly,
it makes you want to
see the film - which is more than can be said
for the teaser poster.
That first image was so predictably bland...
The Hound always has
a problem with those lazy, white background
You know the ones. They usually feature a
gooning for the camera, with a big chunky sequel
logo. If the
distributors can't be bothered with the movie,
why should we?
So fair play to this latest one-sheet. It's
done its job admirably!...
Shame on you, Ofcom.
Shame on you, Boomerang.
Shame on you for allowing one viewer's complaint
to reshape history.
As you are
probably aware, Ofcom have recently upheld a complaint
against the Boomerang channel in which a viewer
objected to having
Tom and Jerry smoking in two of their classic cartoons.
And thus, after
debate with the Turner and Boomerang the following
decision was reached:
"The licensee has subsequently proposed
scenes or references in the series where
to be condoned, acceptable, glamorised or
where it might
The report in the recent
Ofcom bulletin states that Boomerang rightly
argued about the historical context of the cartoons
and how any editing
might adversely affect the value of the animation.
Even so, they have
agreed to scour and edit any toon in their library
that glamourises or
condones smoking for children - That's not just
Tom and Jerry, folks,
but all the toons in the Hanna-Barbera back
In The Hound's book, even one cut is a cut
too far. Smoking
is not be condoned - we can all agree on that
nowadays. But hacking
into our animation history to satisfy
an overprotective modern audience
is wholly unacceptable. And poor Tom and Jerry
have suffered for
their sins in an earlier round of censorship
Remember folks, this decision was made on
the basis of just one complaint,
with no external debate or discussion. One
complaint and history gets
rewritten. It's outrageous. Doctoring historical
footage because it upsets
current thinking is totally unjustifiable.
And whilst many may think this
is just about cartoons, it's just the tip
of a ridiculous iceberg that's
surfaced in recent years. After 9/11 movies
and film posters were
doctored to "protect us" from images
of New York's Twin Towers.
Heck, even DangerMouse
was affected by the debacle.
So where do we draw the line?
In America, debate continues about the merits
of "Song of the South",
a film that Disney still keep under the counter,
fearful of a backlash.
Not showing the film is one thing. But what
if they edited it. Can you
imagine if they released a version that excised
the offensive content?
It's unthinkable. And yet in the same gasping
breathe, that very same
company is happy to edit the classic tale
of "Pecos Bill", so that we're
not encouraged by the scenes of cowboy
Double-standards abound, it seems, whilst
the debate rages on,
on both sides of the Pond. How long will it
be before someone takes
offence at product placement in Button
Moon, or Fenella's
Well, there is no debate here. The choice
is a plain as black and white.
Either show the cartoon or film as it
is, as history remembers it.
Or don't show it at all.