Kavanagh: CBBC needs ‘brave’ factual
Damian Kavanagh, the new commissioner of BBC children’s diginet CBBC, has called for more “brave” factual programming, having ordered a season about the effect of war on kids.
“We’ve got to be really brave in what we commission,” he told delegates at the BBC Meeting the Broadcasters session at the Children’s Media Conference in Sheffield yesterday. To that end, he has commissioned Pad Rats (working title), a season examining how wars damage children, as reported by C21.
BBC Children’s new director Joe Godwin joined Kavanagh on the panel, alongside the new controller of preschool diginet Cbeebies, Kay Benbow. The department will receive an extra £10m (US$15.1m) in funding, as recommended by the pubcaster’s Putting Quality First strategy report, some of which should go towards “serious” factual, he told C21 earlier this year.
Kavanagh cited Lion Television’s live-action historical sketch show Horrible Histories as the kind of programme he wants to include in the CBBC schedule. “We want to create content kids want to engage in and talk to their friends about,” he said. “I don’t want to formally educate the audience but if children can learn something while watching a programme and engaging with it, enjoying it and laughing, that’s fantastic.”
Drama and serious factual content will be on the CBBC shopping list once problem slots have been identified, though Kavanagh said he already wanted to update the 08.00 slot.
BBC Children’s commissioning slates consists of 50% in-house programming, 25% independent split and 25% produced through the Window of Creative Competition, a mechanism set up to ensure quality shows are made, regardless of who produces them. Seventy percent of all BBC Children’s shows have to be originally produced.
Benbow, who is seven weeks into her new job, added she would make revamping CBeebies’ repeats cycle a priority.