November 30, 2008
Tonight, I won’t be at the Children’s BAFTA ceremony. It’s a long while since I’ve been, and I never quite managed to struggle to a nomination (harrumph). However, this year’s nomination list provides some indication of the state the industry is in.
Animation: all CBeebies/CBBC shows.
Drama: all CBBC shows.
Entertainment: all CBBC shows.
Factual: the perennial Nick News, plus three CBBC shows.
Presenter: all CBBC/CBeebies.
Writer: all CBBC/CBeebies.
Now, there are some caveats. Several of these nominations are for shows produced by indies (looks like a good night for Tiger Aspect, in particular). Also, other categories produce a stronger showing for Five, particularly, and Nick does well in the Short Film category (though… who else makes short films for kids?). Plus, one can argue that BAFTA nominations have always over-represented BBC shows, historically.
But is this still a picture of the dire state of the children’s television industry? Heck, yes. It’s entirely dependent on BBC money, and from where I’m standing there’s simply no way back from that.
I know I’ve banged on about this here before, but I keep running into people whose reaction to the story behind SciCast is disbelief. On a couple of occasions they’ve been almost belligerent about it.
They’d likely regard such a BBC-dominated nominations list as evidence that their license fee is being well-spent. But the fact is, in most of these categories, the only contest is which BBC shows are nominated. There is no competition.
Thus, there’s no longer a viable career path in this industry. That is why children’s TV is dead. It’ll take five years to really show — maybe ten, if we’re lucky — but it’s now inevitable.
[Update 1st December: Winners now posted on the BAFTA site. Ironically, a good night for the few remaining indies.]