Letter: Positive support for children's TV

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The Independent Online
Sir: I attended the BBC governors' seminar on children and television and I wondered whether Marianne Macdonald and I had been at the same event . Forty years after it was first transmitted, your reporter has at last caught up with Andy Pandy; unfortunately she seems to have failed to grasp that Andy Pandy was a 1950s pre-school programme and so cannot be "taken over" by the X-Files, which is a 1990s adult programme, watched by some school-age children.

Preschool children don't understand the X-Files; they like Playdays and Rosie and Jim. Older children like - and always have liked - adult science fiction, as well as children's programmes such as Blue Peter. They did in the 1950s when they watched Doctor Who, and they did in the 1960s and 1970s when they watched Star Trek and Blake's Seven. School-aged children like more than one kind of programme, just as adults do.

But many children under 10, and nearly all under fives, cannot understand or relate to adult material. This is why they need a specialist children's service. This is why the largest concentrations of child viewers are still found between the hours of 3.30pm and 6pm - the hours of children's programmes, followed by Neighbours.

This was the message received, and by my observation, welcomed, by the BBC governors at the seminar.


London E4