Flicking through the TV channels on a Saturday morning, I never fail to be surprised by the absence of children’s programming. There is an attempt to amuse the nippers on BBC2 and about half an hour’s worth of kid’s TV on ITV – but nothing compared to the lengthy magazine shows of my youth. Where once I could snuggle up in my pyjamas and watch Pip Schofield talk to a hand puppet on Going Live, now there are more and more cookery shows (Saturday Kitchen, Rachel’s Favourite Food for Living, Saturday Cooks!) Who is looking to learn recipes first thing on a weekend morning and why have children been relegated to marginal programming?
Taking a closer look at the children’s TV offered up on a Saturday morning, over 80% of the shows screened on CBBC are repeats, while the percentage is nearer 90% on Five. I know that kids might not rally against such details – but if this statistic were true of adult programming there would be a public outcry. Why should children be fed recycled shows and their entertainment treated so flippantly?
TMI, the only magazine show airing is one and a half hours long compared to the 3 hours and 15 minutes of Going Live, Live & Kicking or the 2 hours plus of SMTV Live. It was the BBC’s unsuccessful Saturday Show that saw the viewing time down-sized and the morning magazine show hasn’t recovered since.
Many TV personalities got their big break through children’s TV, but it has become fashionable to turn their back on the tots in favour of more adult content. The likes of Ant and Dec have always maintained a jovial and innocent silliness appropriate for all age ranges, but the likes of Fearne Cotton have been keen to distance themselves from their roots in pursuit of a trendier, edgier image. This industry snobbery can’t have helped matters.
And so I wonder, have the likes of Nickelodeon and Boomerang made terrestrial children’s programming obsolete? Are kids not interested in ‘swinging their pants’ with Trevor and Simon and generally indulging in some silliness first thing or are they busy on their computer games consoles?
Maybe there is no mystery after all and they have all become cooking enthusiasts and prefer Saturday Kitchen.Join TVScoop on Facebook for exclusive competitions and gossip