'Teletubbies' Producer Says BBC 'Ghettoizes Children's Programs'
LONDON – The co-creator of pre-school TV sensation The Teletubbies is accusing the BBC of "ghettoizing children's programs."
Children's TV producer Anne Wood, whose resume boasts the toddler show and also pre-school sensation In the Night Garden, voiced by stage and screen legend Derek Jacobi, told The Radio Times, one of the U.K.'s biggest selling magazines, her misgivings.
Wood said by ending shows for young viewers on the public broadcaster's flagship channels BBC1 and BBC 2 and moving them to digital channels CBBC and CBeebies, the corporation was "ghettoizing children's programs," describing the decision as cynical.
Children's TV shows have moved to the digital channels CBBC and CBeebies as part of the corporation's cost-cutting measures.
"It ghettoizes children's programs. It is a completely different attitude to the one that scheduled Magic Roundabout before the 5.40pm news," said Wood in the Radio Times.
"On the one hand it is inevitable, but it is dismissive of children. There is a certain amount of overlooking of the fact that children's programs do get a wider audience than people are aware of … I have frequently had letters from older people who have enjoyed my programs as much as children do. A lot of the reason older people like to watch children's programming is because it is life-enhancing."
But Terry Deary, author of the Horrible Histories children's books, which have been adapted for TV, described the separation as progress.
"It doesn't matter at all," he said. "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."
BBC Children's chief Joe Godwin stepped into the fray adding: "Our young viewers are our priority and the vast majority of children in the U.K. already tune in to CBeebies and CBBC to find their favorite BBC children's programs. Far from being a 'cynical' move, we're just following where our audience has already gone.
"It's simply not true that we're 'ghettoizing' children's programs – CBBC and CBeebies are the nation's most popular children's television channels and we also know that lots of 'former children' enjoy sitting down with their own kids to watch our programs."