Big name author wades into kids' TV debate

Philip Pullman voices concerns at the decline of quality in children's TV following new Ofcom report.
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Following the release of Ofcom's Children's Public Service Broadcasting report, Philip Pullman - author of the His Dark Materials series - has called on the government to help avert a crisis within the kids' TV sector.

Ofcom's report stated that only 17 per cent of children's TV output is now homegrown, with parents understandably concerned about the decline in British-made programmes in favour of cartoon and US imports.

Investment by ITV1, GMTV, Channel 4 and Five had halved in real terms since 1998, it said.

Now Pullman, in his role as patron of the Save Kids' TV campaign group, has waded into the debate.

He said: "I welcome the Ofcom report, which makes very clear the dangers facing children's television. Like many other examples of decay and neglect in our common life, this is a result of a dogmatic insistence that the market always knows best, and must have the final decision about the way we live. And, as with other such things, the problem can only be cured by telling the market who's boss.

"In this case, the boss is whatever children beed from this wonderful and extraordinary medium, which could service their interests and their needs so well - including the needs they don't know they have.

"We can't go back to a primal state of televisual innocence, but we could go forward to a state of richness and delight and information and curiosity, if we had the will. I hope the government will take heed of this report and take urgent steps to safeguard the provision of imaginative, intelligent, witty and beautiful television for children. Why should they have to make do with anything less?"

SKTV is actively developing a detailed proposal to solve the problem long-term and supports the PACT call for tax breaks for producers of children's programmes to alleviate the crisis in the sector.

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