CHILDREN'S TV

  • CHILD PERFORMERS GET A NEW DEAL

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Children's Media Campaign, Children's Theatre, Children's TV, Education, Politics, The Children's Media Foundation, Uncategorized

    The New Year brought success for the All Party Parliamentary Group for Children’s Media and the Arts after six months of behind the scenes activity.Jayne Kirkham, CMF’s Clerk to the Group reports…
    At the 2013 APPG AGM in June, John McVay from PACT, and representatives from the major broadcasters and children’s charities discussed the inadequacies of child performance licensing regulations, as set out in the Children and Young Persons Act 1963.  Things looked pretty grim. Along with childcare professionals, Ofcom and others, the broadcasters and charities had worked hard to draw up recommendations to improve the regulations, only to have their hopes dashed, as the Government decided not to legislate on the issue. The reason given was a lack of consensus in the response to the Government’s formal consultation.
    The APPG event proved that there was consensus in the fundamental areas, and the Group’s Chair Baroness Floella Benjamin has been highlighting these since then:
    -The need for equal opportunities and equal safeguarding for children in all types of performance on all types of platform.
    -Effectively rationalising the differences between screen, stage, ‘theatrical’ performance (acting, singing, dancing), and performing as oneself (documentary, interview, reality).
    -Removing the ‘postcode lottery’ of different Local Education Authorities having their own regulations.
    The Department of Education may have abandoned the idea of new legislation but that didn’t mean it wasn’t still needed.
    But what to do?  The parliamentary calendar offered few options, but the Children and Families Bill was coursing through the legislative process and the changes to performance regulations were essentially concerned with child welfare.But you can’t just slip in an extra sentence or two to a parliamentary bill…  can you?Baroness Benjamin started digging around and unearthed procedures and people with whom she could firmly plant the idea of an amendment to the Children and Families Bill.  After passing through the Report Stage, the Bill has emerged with significant changes to child performance regulations.

    Tabled by Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools, Lord Nash, in brief, these amendments will:

    -Replace the complex restrictions on the hours children can perform at different ages, which were different for theatre and broadcast, with a simpler, single set of limits subject to age group (0-4, 5-10, 11-16).
    -Repeal the limit on the nature of the daily performances that a child can be licensed to take part in.
    -Remove the requirement for medical certificates.  These could still be requested by the local authority if, for example, there was cause for concern about a child’s health, but would not be a requirement.

    These changes, although seemingly small, will bring clarity and consistency to all Local Education Authorities: allowing them to monitor children performing abroad as well as at home, give children better protection and opportunity based on their individual needs and ensure that their welfare is paramount.The government amendments were discussed in the Lords on 29th January and the Bill’s third and final reading is today (Feb 5th).  Six months of carefully nurturing something the Department of Education threw out, and we’re seeing the Bill – and the all-important amendments – heading for Royal Assent.  The result should be safe, happy and healthy child performances in the future.For more information on The Children and Families Bill go to:
    http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2013-14/childrenandfamilies.html.

  • LET’S STOP CROWING ABOUT OUR BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Children's Media Campaign, Education, Politics, Prix Jeunesse, The Children's Media Foundation, Uncategorized

    And celebrate their other qualities instead.  Like their kindness, courage, tenacity, empathy, sense of justice, compassion, generosity, ability to love and be loved.

    They may in fact be damn ugly physically and what’s wrong with that?  Who’s to say what is beautiful?  We are doing our children a grave disservice when our affirmations focus on their external appearance.  Of course they’re beautiful to us, because we love them. But we don’t love them because they’re beautiful.  But do they know that?

    What do they hear, what do they learn,  when with the best intentions we crow and brag about our ‘beautiful’ daughters, on Facebook, on Twitter and to our friends?

    I recently heard Dr Dafna Lemish talk about Girl Power, and I have to agree that Girl Power has empowered our daughters in two ways only:  sexual power and consumer power.   So after all this time, after all that the women’s movement has tried to do, daughters and mothers alike still unwittingly define and value themselves and each other according to whether they’re attractive, can pull, and stick their tits out.   And as consumers, we’ve grown demanding – ‘make it in pink and we’ll buy it’. ‘Born to Shop’?  Oh please.  No wonder women are  still not taken seriously.

    The Children’s Media Foundation has an event this coming Wednesday to discuss role models, representation and gender skew.  If you can go to it, do.   And let’s celebrate and affirm our daughters and our sons as wonderful human beings who can change the world because of who they are, not what they look like.

     

  • ON BEING AN “ESTEEMED EXPERT”

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Business Trips, Children's Media Campaign, Children's TV, Education, Politics, The Children's Media Foundation, travel, Uncategorized

    I liked it.

    I liked having all my travel arrangements made for me.

    He could have tried to look pleased to see me.

    He could have tried to look pleased to see me.

     

     

     

     

    I liked getting caught up in a motorcade with blue lights flashing and outriders.  An excellent way to get through Istanbul traffic as long as the the driver pulls back when the outriders start getting twitchy.

    I hope I'm never so important that I need to be reached at any moment.  But useful I suppose if you run out of paper.

    Useful I suppose if you run out of paper.

     

     

    I liked five star  accommodation.

     

    I liked my Turkish Bath.

     

    But who takes calls on the loo?  I hope I’m never that esteemed.

    And if you’ll forgive the unfortunate juxtaposition here, I liked delivering my paper.  If I wasn’t already full enough of my own self importance, they gave me two TWO interpreters: one into Turkish and the other Sign Language.

    My auditorium before everyone arrived.  If only I could flik-flak down this aisle.

    My auditorium before everyone arrived. If only I could flik-flak down this aisle.

     

     

    And published my speech in a REAL BOOK OF CLEVER THINGS BY CLEVER PEOPLE.

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    AND I very much liked getting caught up in the Deputy Prime Minister’s procession when we all went to dinner.  Top Tip: secret service people are not very secret and they don’t make good dinner conversation.

    Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc with Esteemed Experts.

    Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc with Esteemed Experts.

    Another top tip: if you mention politics to a politician, be prepared for facial expressions that can only be described as ‘inscrutable’.  Try as I might, I couldn’t scrute the Deputy Prime Minister.  I later learned I’d been mentioned in despatches and in a good way, but you’d never have scruted that at the time.

     

     

  • 1ST CHILDREN AND MEDIA CONGRESS IN TURKEY

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Children's Media Campaign, Children's stories, Children's TV, Education, Politics, Prix Jeunesse

    I’ve just returned from the 1.Turkiye Cocuk ve Medya Kongresi in Istanbul-not Contantinople.

    Oh look, I tried then to take myself seriously but couldn’t even manage a sentence.

    I did however take the Kongresi seriously.  On behalf of the Children’s Media Foundation, I was invited to speak at this new conference and share some of the lessons we’ve learned in the last few years.

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

    Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc opens the Congress.

     

    The Kongresi was set up by the Turkish deputy prime minister to develop a strategy for children and media.

     

    The two day event brought together representatives from across Turkey, adults, children and young people as well as “esteemed overseas experts” (about twenty professors and me) in child development, media studies (and me) and was, from my perspective brilliant.  It was superb having lots of young people involved and at the heart of things.

    And despite the language barriers (some interesting translations – “Our children are so intelligent, so beautiful and so clean” ), there was a fantastic spirit of collaboration and fun.

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    2400 people of all ages attempting to get on stage for a ‘family photo’

    It was disappointing not to see a stronger presence from the Turkish kids’ media industry.  I think they were invited and there were a number of trade stands but the talks, other than mine, Sabrina Unterstell from Prix Jeunesse, and kiwi programme makers Robyn Scott Vincent and Tanya Black were more from the media studies and media literacy POV, with titles such as “Cultural functions of the Cartoons”, and lots of words like pedagogy’, ‘positioning’.  My title was also rather dry – “Children’s Media and Systems Related to Policy Issues”, but never fear, I spiced it up with some jokes and, I have to say quite a lot of triumphalism.  But nobody left my session or fell asleep…

    In essence I explained how the Children’s Media Foundation came to be and what it had achieved.  The jokes and triumphalism weren’t strained or shoehorned in – since 2006, we have done a lot: I was going to list it all but you can read all that stuff over at www.thechildrensmediafoundation.org

    It all went down rather well – there were genuinely interested questions, the moderator Prof. Dr Davut Dursun – head of the Turkish Radio and Television Supreme Council – said it was “A critical presentation for the congress” and that “Congress should study this [our] model.”  And that the Children’s Media Foundation “served as an example.”   Go us.

     CMF logo cropped smaller2

    I had been in two minds about attending – of all the members of the Children’s Media Foundation executive, I have the least experience and the fewest letters after my name.  But I can tell the story of all that we have done and all that we want to do and who can argue with an airhead when she states that ‘children deserve the best media’?  So go me.

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    Volume 2 of Bildriler Kitabi – essays from the Kongressi ISBN-978-975-552-093-3

     Ooh and don’t you love that they made all the adult speakers submit photos of when they were children?

  • JAYNE’S OLDS

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Animation, Children's Media Campaign, Children's stories, Children's TV, Paddlesport, Politics

    Well I can’t call it ‘News’ when it happened so long ago.  It’s not that nothing happens in Jayne World, it’s just that I’m having too much fun doing whatever it is to write about it.  And then something else comes along and well, I don’t like to brag.

    Really?

    OK yes I LOVE TO BRAG.  I want to shout a lot about all the brilliant things I’m up to but I wasn’t brought up to do that and so a massive knob of guilt sticks like an uncooked crumble clags in my throat and I politely slip away to a quiet corner to cough it up and somehow, amid all the spluttering and gagging, whatever it was I wanted to SHOUT about suddenly doesn’t seem so important.

    August is a great excuse not to blog – everyone’s away doing family holiday stuff and-or writing their great tome.  I did neither.  I spent August (and September come to that)  jamming with bees.  Well they were honeying but it all ended up on fresh bread and butter.  AND I WON ROSETTES.  Ooh, that was almost a brag.

    There was loads of other stuff that I should have classed as News but is now Olds. But it’s all covered by NDAs and will have to wait until the TV SHOWS are broadcast.  There will be BRAGGING then. Maybe.  Depends how the TV SHOWS turn out I guess.  All I can say is that it was Preschool mainly this summer.

    And I did the annual party conferences again.

    Preschool and Politics.

    You can see how well joined up my life is.  When I say, ‘did’ the conferences – I watched a lot of stuff on Telly, read lots of press releases, sat on the beach at Brighton and decided I probably wouldn’t do it next year.  The Libdems were too far away in Glasgow (couldn’t afford the fare) so I relied on their press releases and live debates and twitter feeds, the Tories wouldn’t give me a press pass so I didn’t go anywhere near Manchester.  I did however go to Brighton for the Labour bunfight (cheap ticket and a friend put me up).

    I must must must write about all that seperately and I will.  If not here, then on the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain website.  Because I’m a MEMBER OF THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL and have been for some time.  Ooh another brag.  Go me.

    But the best thing that happened all summer; the really very bestest best thing happened on the river.  Thames.  Pangbourne.  90 brand new year sevens all coming to Adventure Dolphin for a ‘getting to know you’- ‘teambuilding’-‘secondary school teachers are great’ sort of day.  The weather and river conditions were perfect for… BLACKBERRIES.  Scoffing our faces with berries only accessible to those in small canoes, free from dog piddle and traffic fumes – it’s surprising how quickly you get to know each other standing in a boat close to thorn bushes, how well you work as a team to get the best berries and how great the teachers really are when they’re soaking wet.  Not sure how to BRAG about that – it’s not really news; just a complete joy to be a part of. Of course I WAS EXCELLENT spotting the blackberries and their potential in the first place….

    Other Olds in brief:

    • Was involved a tiny bit in some amendments to the Children and Families’ Bill currently making its way through Parliament. Tiny BRAG
    • Was “2nd Best in Show” –  Would have BRAGGED about it before but it was a Dog Show and thought, as I don’t have a dog,  ‘second best in show’ didn’t sound like something to brag about.  But I do make good jam.
    • Briefed a shadow secretary of state.  Oh I wish I could say more and BRAG but the Guilt Crumble is clagging again – must add some blackberries.
    • And I took up bell ringing.  Not really a BRAG yet.  BUT I’VE ONLY SKINNED MY FINGER ONCE.  Brag.

    So once more I’m up to date on My News.  That is something to BRAG about.

  • 1ST WEEK OF JULY MEANS HENLEY FOR SOME BUT SHEFFIELD’S THE PLACE TO BE

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Animation, Children's Media Campaign, Children's TV, Screenwriting

    My bags are packed ready for another brilliant Children’s Media Conference in Sheffield.  This year is the tenth anniversary which is something to celebrate.   If you have anything to do with children’s media (telly, games, online, publishing…) it is definitely the place to be and not just for those of us working in the UK.  Each year the international opportunities grow.  But it doesn’t lose it’s goodnatured, small industry feel.   This year I am once more  on the blogging team.   All of the sessions are blogged so nobody has to miss out.  You’ll be able to find the blogs, including mine, at www.thechildrensmediaconference.org

    I’ve posted two blogs already.  One involved a large onion for reasons that, well it was one of those ‘you had to be there’ moments and the other goes something like:

    Jayne’s Guide to Sheffield

    Sheffield Sheffield, it’s a wonderful town
    The Hubs are up and the Crucible’s down,
    Cinema 2 is in the hole in the ground,
    Sheffield, Sheffield, it’s wonderful town!

    Which I think goes to show that once  again ‘you have to be there’.

     

  • IF YOU’RE A SHREW LIVING UNDER THE COOKER AT MY HOUSE, LIFE HAS JUST BECOME MORE… CHALLENGING

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Animation, Books, Children's Poetry, Children's Theatre, Children's TV, Uncategorized

    A Warning to Little Shrews

    Winston the cat
    Is big, black and fat.
    But his mew is so cute,
    You’d never guess he’s a brute
    Who likes to kill rats
    And other tom cats.

    He curls on the chair
    With a warm sleepy stare.
    But when you think he’s at rest,
    He’s at his cruel, vicious best.
    So little shrew beware:
    Winston knows that you’re there.

    He’s watching you peep
    And feel safe and then creep
    To the fridg- Bam! goes his paw
    As he strikes with his claw
    And sinks his teeth deep
    And eats even your squeap!

    Please note: ‘Squeap’ is the sound a shrew makes as it disappears in one big gollop into a big black fat cat.  There’s no time for squealing and or squeaking – the k gets swallowed.  Trust me.

     

  • AJANI’S GREAT APE ADVENTURES

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Children's TV, Screenwriting, Uncategorized

    great_ape_adventures DVD_

    Very pleased to see the artwork and my blurb for the DVD for Ajani’s Great Ape Adventures.  This was such a great project to work on.

    Supported by a whole host of international conservation charities, the three films that make up Ajani’s Great Ape Adventures are designed to teach young people  across Africa about our close relatives the apes and how important it is to keep them and their habitat safe: not just for the apes but for the young people and their real families too.  With poverty so often the consequence as well as the cause of habitat loss and species extinction, it is vital that solutions that benefit people as well as animals are found.

    That all sounds far too heavy to put on a young one’s shoulders.  But these stories, like any good educational tool, are fun and exciting with a feel good factor that will encourage rather than condemn.  And they offer simple, practical and doable solutions that will help, not hinder local people to thrive.

    I was brought in  to work on the narration.  Originating with Dutch filmmakers, the English version needed colloquializing so that it felt more in keeping with the characters.  It was great fun and because I was working off of the rough cuts rather than the script, it was perhaps more akin to editing than writing.  I loved watching the children’s performances and the footage of the chimps and gorillas is wonderful.  And there is a poop fight.  Of which I wholeheartedly approve.

    I wish the Dutch makers of the films, Nature for Kids, every success with this project and hope I can work with them again in the future.

  • CHRISTMAS CHEER AND CHALLENGES

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Animation, Children's Media Campaign, Children's Theatre, Children's TV, Uncategorized

    For the first time in several years, the world of children’s media have things to celebrate this Christmas.

    – The Animation and Games tax relief which will help our production sector compete with the rest of the world and ensure more home grown content for our children.

    – Ofcom and the ASA’s swift implementation of the Bailey review’s recommendations,  which will help put the brakes on the sexualisation and commercialisation of our children

    www.parentport.org.uk, which offers parents one-stop access to all the UK’s media regulators.
    However, there are still many challenges in 2013, especially for Children’s theatre, fine arts, music and dance which have been endangered by changes in Education and cuts to public arts funding.

    So whether you and your family settle down to watch the BBC’s Christmas Doctor Who, or C4’s The Snowman and The Snowdog, or watch a performance of The Nutcracker, or your local pantomime, please remember that Children’s Arts and Media are not just for Christmas….

    With all good wishes for a peaceful and prosperous New Year,
    Me.

  • GRANDPA IN MY POCKET: THE STAGE SHOW

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Children's Theatre, Children's TV

    We went to the theatre yesterday, my auntie Jayne and me.  I was a bit scared because Mummy had said it’s like the pictures but they’re alive and that sounded weird.  So we took Oma because she knows what to do.

    We had to wait while Auntie Jayne got the tickets and that was boring but then this boy came up to me with his mum and she said she liked my school hoodie and that the boy was starting at my school in September.  So I’ll be in the next class up and she said that would be nice for him and Oma said so too and so did Auntie Jayne so I suppose it will but I just thought I’ll be bigger than him.  And that will be  nice.

    And then we went in through these big doors and there were two girls with books all about Grandpa In My Pocket because that’s what we had come to see and Oma bought two and the room was dark and I had to find the letter E on the seats and some numbers.  It was very big and dark except for the front which was all bright and looked like a seaside with beach huts and Oma said it was The Stage.

    Then all the lights went out and some people came onto The Stage and they danced and looked very happy.  They didn’t look like Jason Mason or Grandpa much but they said they were going to pretend and I like pretending and they had a great big dressing up box and then they did look like Jason Mason and the man looked like Grandpa and then he did the shrinking thing!

    I could see the other man moving Grandpa’s legs but then he just disappeared and all I saw was Grandpa running across The Stage and hiding and it was fun and then the Bank Manager got to be a pirate afterall and they all sang songs.

    We had ice creams in tubs at half time.  Mine was chocolate and Auntie Jayne had blueberry and Oma had mini chedders.  That is not an ice cream.  And Oma bought me some planes to build but I didn’t have time to build them because then they were all on the island and there were some big birds and Grandpa had to go back to get help with a message that Mr Liker Biker found so he rowed in his boat all the way round our seats to get to the island and rescued everyone and they found all the things that had been lost.

    My best bits were the pirate and when they all ran round the seats and I liked Grandpa flying in his plane.  It was very funny and we all sang along and clapped when everyone danced.  Even Oma.  But Auntie Jayne sings too loudly.

    When we got home, Auntie Jayne said it was very well written and a great show for children and their grown ups.  Mummy said I had to say thank you to Auntie Jayne and give her a kiss but I didn’t want to because her chin is spiky.  But I was glad she took me because I loved it.  I told Oma that even before we had our ice creams.  I did say thank you because I did like the theatre and I like Grandpa In My Pocket.  I like it on telly but I loved it on The Stage because it wasn’t just on The Stage but all around me and it made me laugh a lot and Grandpa was really clever.

    Grandpa In My Pocket is  at Nottingham Playhouse until 11 August 2012.  Auntie Jayne says take some children and have some fun.  She thinks it would be a great trip for Beavers or Rainbows and much more fun than sitting in the rain.