BBC 'ghettoising children's shows'

Hillingdon Times: Teletubbies co-creator Anne Wood criticised the BBC's decision to end children's programming on BBC1 and BBC2 Teletubbies co-creator Anne Wood criticised the BBC's decision to end children's programming on BBC1 and BBC2

The co-creator of the Teletubbies has accused the BBC of "ghettoising children's programmes" by ending shows for young viewers on BBC1 and BBC2.

Children's programmes were dropped from flagship channel BBC1 after more than 60 years and moved to digital offerings CBBC and CBeebies as part of the corporation's cost-cutting measures.

Anne Wood, who also co-produces hit show In The Night Garden, told the Radio Times: "On the one hand it is inevitable. But it is dismissive of children."

She said: "There is a certain amount of overlooking of the fact that children's programmes do get a wider audience than people are aware of. Just as children's literature does. In my long career, I have frequently had letters from older people who have enjoyed my programmes as much as children do. A lot of the reason older people like to watch children's programming is because it is life-enhancing."

Wood told the magazine: "It ghettoises children's programmes. It is a completely different attitude to the one that scheduled Magic Roundabout before the 5.40pm news."

She added: "Children's shows have just become fodder, and as a practitioner, I feel very sad about that."

But Terry Deary, author of the Horrible Histories children's books, which have been adapted into TV shows, said the separation was "progress". He said: "It doesn't matter at all. The fact that children's shows have been on BBC1 since the war doesn't mean they should continue, and to hang on to them would be a very backward step."

He added: "Ghetto is a very emotive word, and implies the children's channels are inferior... Children's shows on the children's channels is perfectly logical."

Tracy Beaker author Jacqueline Wilson said the channels were a "dividing mechanism", adding: "Maybe children like the idea of having their own children's channel. But I come from an era when things like the Sunday afternoon serial was something for the whole family to sit round and enjoy.

"I suppose there's a need for different channels, since what we have now is huge variety... I think, on balance, the BBC ought to pat itself on the back."

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