Winkler: Make kids’ TV a force for good

Posted on: Sunday 04 July 2010 11:59am

FROM C21: 01/07/10

Children’s producers should create “funny and emotionally true” programmes, keynote speaker Henry Winkler told delegates at the Children’s Media Conference in Sheffield.

Winkler, best known for his role as The Fonz in iconic US comedy Happy Days, used his keynote speech at the event (fka Showcomotion) to urge producers to take personal responsibility for their programmes, and make them a force for social good.

He used the example of a Happy Days scene that talked about using a library. The episode led to a huge spike in registrations at local libraries, demonstrating the power of television, he said.

Winkler told a packed conference – the theme of which is education – to “make the most out of yourselves because if you don’t, you won’t do the best you can for the children.”

His impassioned speech included passages from his book series Hank Zipzer: The Mostly True Confessions of the World’s Best Underachiever, about a schoolboy based loosely on himself who has dyslexia. The also added quips about his own career and revealed how his unhappy childhood had turned him into a children’s advocate.

After the one-hour session, one producer told C21 he felt “inspired to go away and work on shows with new vigour.”

Winkler’s recent work includes acting credits on shows such as Fox’s animated series Sit Down, Shut Up and Royal Pains.

Jesse Whittock
1 Jul 2010
© C21 Media 2010

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