Russell T Davies: children’s TV is “an endangered species”

The Doctor Who writer expresses concern at the marginalisation of the genre

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Screenwriter Russell T Davies has spoken about his concerns for children’s TV programming in the UK.

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Davies, best known for his resurrection of Doctor Who in 2005, told the Observer :

“I am passionate about children’s television, but it is, as ever, an endangered species, under threat.

“The most shocking thing I have seen is that, apparently unnoticed, five years ago ITV dropped children’s programmes. There is now the complete absence of children’s programmes made by ITV on CITV. It is amazing to me, when I contrast it with all those people who were furious about cuts to BBC local radio, and they were immediately reversed.”

The Swansea-born writer and producer, who started his TV career working on ITV’s Children’s Ward in the 1990s, added:

“I am also amazed that people don’t recognise the talent, genius, of children’s writers, for example, Andrew Davenport. The creator behind Teletubbies and In the Night Garden is up there, in my opinion, with Tom Stoppard, Samuel Beckett, but no one puts him there. It’s the same with Jacqueline Wilson, whose books have led to the wonderful Tracy Beaker dramas.”

An ITV spokesman said of Davies’s views: “We are supportive of the UK children’s production industry. We have premiered seven commissions from producers in the past 12 months on the CITV channels, including Fort Boyard: Ultimate Challenge, Sooty, and the third series of Horrid Henry.”

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Russell T Davies is currently planning a return to children’s TV with action adventure drama Aliens Vs Wizards, which will be filmed for CBBC at the new BBC Wales drama studios in Cardiff Bay.