Commissioner Conversation – Cheryl Taylor

Posted on: Thursday 04 June 2020 11:03pm by Cate Zerega

BBC Children’s Head of Content in conversation with Chris Jarvis


  • Low-cost, quick-turnaround content is shining as a response to COVID-19 and Taylor would like to see the ethos of that continue at the CBBC. The immediacy, self-expression, high quality and entertainment value that’s come through this form has excited audiences.

Current situation at CBBC:

Key elements of the CBBC’s lockdown lineup includes informative programming that is entertaining while trying to offer the audience a sense of comfort and security.

The production halt in response to COVID-19 has impacted on the work of CBBC commissioning into 2021-2022. Already-commissioned productions are now seeking slots in 2021-2022, leading to a difficult scheduling scenario. It will not be possible to fit in all the impacted productions, as well as the 2021-2022 commissioned productions.

It is also possible that The BBC Children’s budget may be reduced, making it hard to plan and provide the reassurance to independent productions. The commissioners may find pockets of money freed up for quick-turnaround content around August or September as the situation evolves.

The CBBC hopes to find development funds for when business as usual can resume.

Some key points:

  • The potential for animation to fill programming gaps lies in short-form shows with reliable production methods. BBC children’s have quotas stipulating live-action genres, so significant additional animated series are not possible
  • CBBC has had great results from an initiative calling for 10-minute monologues put out for new and diverse young content makers. The storyboards that resulted contained great depth in terms of style and design detail. The altered approach to these productions in response to COVID-19 has produced an exciting deviation.
  • The most recent timeline puts the next commissioning opportunities in January 2021 at the earliest.
  • Priority for commissioning for children is the public service spine that helps distinguish CBBC content. Looking to create a lifelong relationship with the BBC through ‘lighting up little learners’.
  • It’s a commissioning priority to address the programming gap between CBBC and BBC3 and commission more for teens.

The conversation concluded with the emphasis that it has never been more important to create. The CBBC commissioners are deeply appreciative of the goodwill, creativity, and caring they’ve experienced during lockdown and will do as much as they can to preserve the great ideas that are caught in the complex COVID-19 holding pattern.

The webinar concluded with children’s creator and educator Laura Henry-Allain speaking in he second of the CMC series: the Creator’s Inner Child, about weaving warmness and love through every single episode of her Gran Gran and Jo Jo series to inspire families around the world to develop loving relationships.

CMC 2020 Webinar Blog

Cate Zerega

About the author

Cate Zerega

Freelance Production Coordinator

Cate has worked as a nanny, a talent agent, in casting & production. Cate’s resume means she no longer fears anything and has sunblock & headshots always about. She completed an MA in the screen industries in 2018 & works passionately to promoting female filmmakers. Read more