The US, Australia and Europe make some great TV, no one can deny it. And growing up in the eighties and nineties, I certainly watched plenty of imported television: the likes of Sharky and George, Around The Twist, The Fresh Prince, Keenan and Kel and Even Stevens definitely eclipsed the Grange Hills and Byker Groves as far as I was concerned. Whilst my knowledge of American TV (and thus American mores and values) heightened my appreciation of the global village, this wasn’t 100% good.
I’m not a USA/other country-basher by the way: there’s plenty we can learn from other countries, including how to produce hit shows that sell literally EVERYWHERE. These imports deserve their success, because it shows how good they are at reading the market. This does not form any part of my point, just so we’re clear.
My point is, as another season of Dr. Who starts, whether you like this show or not, we need MORE UK-made kids’ TV like this! Big event stuff that gets the family together to watch, reflecting the ideas and values of our own society, not someone else’s. Philosophically, I believe this is very important.
When I was a kid, I might have preferred the writing and characters in The Fresh Prince to Byker Grove, but I actually watched both. And growing up in the 80s and 90s, we had access to both UK-made and imports. Maybe not as much as we should have had, but I’m betting it was a hell of a lot more than my kids have got now. Just 1% of kids’ TV is UK-made now. 1%!!!!
This is terrible.
We are not American, Australian, French or any other nationality. We live in the UK, we are British. Our kids’ programmes then should reflect the society they live in, it’s as simple as that. If it doesn’t, then is it any wonder our country lacks a sense of national identity?
This is not an overreaction by the way. Media Imperialism (ie. showing the media products of other countries too much to one that does not have its own) has been shown to make a massive impact on culture: this is why media products can be considered propaganda materials in times of war!
So support the campaign for saving UK Kids’ TV. Our kids need their own voice and they need to see their own society. Just because we speak English like the Americans and Australians does NOT mean we live the same lives or experience the same things as them; we are all different to one another.
And thank f*** for that, variety is the spice of life, but I think the British need to realise this. When I was still teaching, my students used so many Americanisms it broke through into their spelling, as standard. In creative writing lessons, stories would come back set in San Francisco, New York and Texas; when I suggested they might want to try London, Manchester or another UK connurbation, they’d shrug and say “I dunno what it looks like.” A similar thing has bled into the specs I read – if I have to read one more “sidewalk” when the piece is set in Hackney, I’ll go mad I swear.
So next time you’re telling your kids to stop bickering as they tell each other to “talk to the hand” or you ask them what they want in their sandwiches and they say “peanut butter and jello”, this is why:
It makes a difference: support the campaign by signing an official online petition to save kids’ TV here – AND you can tell your local MP too by the mere press of a button. I have! Will you?
Please press the buttons at the bottom to share the page on your social media profiles and/or check out my books. Thanks!