In an effort to win kids back from popular online platforms like Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and Facebook, the BBC is set to spend an additional US$44 million (£34 million) over its existing budgets in British kids content—representing the corporation’s largest investment in children’s services in a generation.
Announced by director general Tony Hall as part of the BBC’s 2017/18 annual plan, the funding will be spent over the next three years and will significantly boost BBC Children’s online budget. The investment, which was made possible by recent savings across the BBC, will see BBC’s Children’s budget increase from US$143 million (£110 million) today to US$161 million (£124.4 million) by 2019/20.
BBC Children’s will continue to spend the majority of its budget on its kids TV channels CBeebies and CBBC across every genre, including drama, comedy, factual and news. However, there will be fewer new TV brands commissioned going forward to make room for online growth. In fact, by 2019/20, a quarter or US$41 million (£31.4 million) will be spent online. The funding will cover cross-platform multimedia content including video, live online program extensions and clips, as well as pictures, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, quizzes, guides, games and apps.
The move is designed to give BBC Children’s audiences more ways to create, connect and share interactive content across channel websites and apps, as well as via the popular BBC iPlayer and newly launched iPlayer Kids app.
BBC Children director Alice Webb has revealed the pubcaster’s Big Digital Plan for Children, and at the heart of it is a kid-friendly version of the popular BBC iPlayer, an online and smart device streaming service for BBC’s slate of kids content.
The working title for the new kids on-demand platform, which will only contain age-appropriate content from CBeebies, CBBC and across the BBC, is iPlay. According to Webb, who has been at the helm of BBC Children’s since January, iPlay will act as a “single, online front-door for children to the wealth of the whole BBC and trusted partners beyond—giving content to children that matures with them, from a range of platforms in a safe and trusted way.”
Speaking earlier today in Salford, England, Webb said the goal is for the service to become a trusted guide and provide the UK’s 12 million children with a personal menu of their favorite content.
The link contains some still from the On Angel Wings animation:
Dream team Michael Morpurgo and Quentin Blake have come together to tell their version of the nativity, about the boy left behind to tend the sheep as the older shepherds head for Bethlehem and it’s called On Angel Wings.
An animated version of On Angel Wings is being broadcast on the BBC on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
The link below includes a short video of Judith Kerr and Shirley Hughes in conversation about their work.
Kerr, 90, and Hughes, 86, are both still working on new material and their work is currently on display at an exhibition at The Illustration Cupboard in London.
An episdoe from BBC’s Timeshift series, featuring The Ladybird Books Story, screened on TV Sunday 22 December but viewable on iPlayer:
To millions of people, Ladybird books were as much a part of childhood as battery-powered torches and warm school milk. These now iconic pocket-sized books once informed us on such diverse subjects as how magnets work, what to look for in winter and how to make decorations out of old eggshells. But they also helped to teach many of us to read via a unique literacy scheme known as ‘key words’. Ladybird books were also a visual treat – some of the best-known contemporary illustrators were recruited to provide images which today provide a perfect snapshot of the lost world of Ladybirdland: a place that is forever the gloriously ordinary, orderly 1950s
The annual BBC National Short Story Award in partnership with Booktrust is now open for submissions for the ninth year.
Publishers, agents and published authors from the UK are invited to submit stories for the 2014 Award until the closing date: 5pm (GMT) on Friday 28 February 2014.
BBC National Short Story Award 2013 winner
Author Sarah Hall has been named the winner of the BBC National Short Story Award 2013 for her story Mrs Fox.
She picked up the £15,000 prize at a ceremony at BBC Broadcasting House in London, from this year’s judges’ chairwoman, Mariella Frostrup.
Mrs Fox tells the story of a woman who turns into a fox to her husband’s confusion and dismay.
The comedian and writer Charlie Higson has been announced as the latest author in the series of Doctor Who ebooks…
Higson will be writing the ninth story in the series, based on the Doctor played by Christopher Eccleston.
Neil Gaiman on fantasy offering refuge in times of flux
Click the link for video of Neil Gaiman’s Newsnight interview with Arts Correspondent Stephen Smith. Gaiman talks about his new book, The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, and his writing of episodes for Doctor Who.
The adventures of a twin boy and girl that have sold 21 million children’s books over the past 53 years are to be turned into a TV series.
But BBC producers have had to plump for two unrelated lookalikes to play Topsy and Tim after failing to find a suitable set of siblings.
Jocelyn Macnab and Joshua Lester, both seven, will fill the roles of the five-year-olds in the 60-part show.
It will be the first live drama to air on CBeebies.
Author Jean Adamson said she was, “tickled pink that Topsy and Tim are still relevant to today’s audiences”.