Monday, 14 September 2015

Why CBeebies Should Be Saved

The last few days, the rumour mill has been in overtime because of the BBC. Last week, the Director General of the BBC, Tony Hall, announced that the BBC "faces a very tough financial challenge. We will inevitably have to close or reduce some services". Because of this, people fear that the one of the closures will be the CBeebies channel, aimed for preschoolers, could be axed and moved to an online service.
Because of this (and me trying to understand more about what could mean), I did an open call on Twitter about this. 

Rhys from ThirstforFiction answered the call and sent me this tiny piece, which I wanted to show with you guys. I hope you guys really like reading this and, hopefully, we can have an open discussion over the BBC - the good and the bad!
Before I hand it over to Rhys, please check his blog out at and his Twitter, @rhyswolfgang. Rhys also wanted me to point out the website so if you want to add your name to the petition, you are more than welcome.
I must thank Rhys for this as well. Thank you for taking time out to write this and allowing me to put this on my blog. Thanks! 


I’m a first year university student, and I love the BBC. It’s a love I’ve held for a long time: from my first discovery of Attenborough’s wildlife documentaries The Life of Mammals and Blue Planet aged 7 to Sherlock, Louis Theroux, Doctor Who, Michael Mosely, Top Gear (RIP…), Have I Got News For You, QI and more. These shows are something I’ve taken for granted, really. Until I went travelling.

It was awful.

In Australia, I regularly watched the “news” every evening, if you can even call it that. It was shallow, vapid, and interrupted by more adverts than content. News broadcasters seem to shy away from actual news and prefer to have awful, chat-show.

Another morning in Australia I spent with a family with young children. They watched Peppa Pig and a few more BBC productions with their 5 year old daughter. I asked them if there were any good Australian children’s shows for younger kids. They said no. This struck me as tragic. Whist I was there, none of their kids watched TV that was voiced with native accents: everything was either American or British. There may be a time and a place for globalisation, but kids and toddler’s TV is not one of them.

So news that the BBC is potentially axing CBeebies, its channel for toddlers and young children, is somewhat distressing. I believe children have the right to access content that is voiced by their native accent and advertisement free. Chopping CBeebies will make it distinctly harder to make this possible. 

Think back on your childhood, or your kids’ or grandkids’ childhood. What were the characters they loved best at that young age? Invariably, most of them are from the BBC: Postman Pat, Teletubbies, Pippin, Peppa Pig, In the Night Garden and more I’ve never even heard of…because I’m not a toddler or parent!

I can’t blame the BBC – they’re facing significant budget cuts AND they’ve just been asked to foot the bill for the licence fee of every pensioner, who get the BBC “for free” (something I profoundly disagree with) AND they’re trying to fight a political battle against the Conservative government, who apparently want to drive the BBC to a size so small they effectively become meaningless.

Sure – the BBC might be bloated in areas. Every organisation should be as efficient as possible. But when imposed budget restrictions mean that a service ends up having to cut significant services like CBeebies, as well as BBC News and BBC4, you know you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel. The BBC has become a political battle when it’s ideal is to be as objective to current politics as possible. But that’s hard to maintain when one of Britain’s greatest assets is being slowly throttled to death.

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