Date: 10.01.2013 Last updated: 06.10.2014 at 11.48
This BBC Audience Council Wales listening event was organised in partnership with Coleg Morgannwg, and contributed to the scoping phase of the BBC Trust’s Service Review of the CBEEBIES and CBBC Services. The students had carefully considered some questions relating to the services in the weeks ahead of the event, and came to the event with clear views, which they expressed honestly. There were around 30 participants present with one of the four discussion tables at the event conducting its conversation in Welsh.
The response of students to CBEEBIES was generally
positive with many saying that it was considered a ‘safe’ place for their
children or children under their care to be educated, entertained and informed
– “I can put CBEEBIES on and know it’s fine for them to watch”. Others
considered the target age range of CBEEBIES to be too wide and that it was
difficult if not impossible for the channel to appeal to the whole age range it
was aimed at.
Many participants considered CBEEBIES’ educational
output to be significant and very worthwhile. Several considered the channel’s
ability to combine education and entertainment one of its greatest strengths,
though other participants thought this was not as strong as it had once been,
with programmes now more obviously entertaining or educational. Programmes
such as Mr Tumble, Alphablocks, Mr Blue’s Nursery, The Lingo Show (with the
inclusion of Welsh being hugely appreciated) and Mr Maker were mentioned as
opportunities to learn while being entertained and were strongly welcomed by
many participants. Some participants felt that Mister Maker’s art projects were
rather ambitious for a CBEEBIES audience, but was useful in suggesting things children
and adults could undertake together. Several example were given of young people
who suffered from mutism or other speech impediments being helped through ‘interacting’
with on-screen CBEEBIES presenters.
Participants felt that there was a good link between
the educational provision of CBEEBIES and what children learnt at school – and
this was commended.
The channel was praised for its positive and relaxed portrayal
of diversity and it was considered that religion, race, disability and
inequality were well integrated into programmes while ethnic minorities were
also well portrayed in a positive way.
A key element of CBEEBIES content which aimed to
inform was that it engaged children and became a catalyst for further
conversations with parents or carers, which was considered hugely beneficial.
Life skills programmes, such as Lazy Town were also
welcomed in that they encouraged young viewers to establish good habits for
life in terms of activity levels and healthy eating.
The CBEEBIES website was
considered to be accessible, and strongly supported the broadcast content. It
was also popular with participants making reference to children under their
care have the site as their first choice on the internet.
CBEEBIES was considered by some contributors to be
trumped by other channels in the entertainment stakes, with several references
to the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. It was felt that both were more attractive
to children because of the lighter tone of the output. Other participants considered that the
popularity of those channels and perceptions of their quality was based on
their omnipresence rather than on the actual quality of their broadcast offering.
Participants also said that the strength of the Disney brand and the ability to
purchase merchandise reinforced the attractiveness of the channel to children.
Several participants praised the channel’s cookery programmes. Another said
“Bedtime hour is fab!”
and Gory Games were mentioned by a high number of participants as being
highly educational as well as entertaining. One typical contribution from a
participant was “My 11 year old brother loves Horrible History and Gory
Games. He didn’t like history before, but now knows all about it.”
Another participant said “Horrible History is awesome – we need more!”
Some participants said that schools tended not to use
TV for teaching purposes but that the BBC’s websites and learning games were
hugely appreciated. One matter was raised on several occasions in this context
was the disappointment felt by many that programmes only remained on the BBC
iPlayer for 7 days.
In this context programmes like Newsround and Blue
Peter were cited as excellent exemplars, with the coverage during summer
2012 of the London 2012 Olympic Games on Newsround having been
particularly appreciated. Some participants regretted the recent changes to Blue
Peter and felt that the programme no longer reached children in the way it
had in the past, especially after the move from BBC ONE.
Informative programmes such as Deadly 60 were
also appreciated by participants.
A number of participants felt that there was a lack
of portrayal of Wales on children’s programmes and that there was an overall
perception of lack of place (and a consequentially anodyne feel) to many
children’s programmes. One participant expressed the views of a number in
saying “We need people who live here to talk about what happens here, not
people from outside Wales to tell us about Wales. If you live in Wales you need
to know what is happening in Wales before you know what’s happening elsewhere.
If you don’t know what’s happening in Wales you don’t appreciate what’s
happening anywhere else either.” Another participant said “the channel
doesn’t reflect the UK’s different nations – it seems to be trying to present
everywhere as ‘one’.”
There was a feeling also
that there was not enough original Welsh content with even the programmes on Cyw
on S4C being the same only that they had been voiced over in Welsh rather
Many participants considered that CBBC provided
valuable entertainment to their children. In relation to older children, many
made reference to the Tracey Beaker strand as popular and entertaining, though
some others felt it had now become “stale and out of date”. Participants said
that older children often turned to other channels for their entertainment,
with Doctor Who given as an example that was hugely popular.
Some participants felt that both children’s channels
tried to encompass too wide an age range and there to be no obvious ‘transfer’
of viewers from CBEEBIES to CBBC, or onwards from CBBC to the BBC’s other TV
Other participants said they felt that some output “contains
too much violence – my children copy it and misbehave”.
OTHER COMMENTS ON BBC OUTPUT
News was widely considered to provide a good service
which was considered “informative, non-political and brilliant”, though
some participants considered some presenters unprofessional on occasions with
several references to a BBC Breakfast presenter who had been “rude to an
interviewee with disabilities”.
Sport, as ever, elicited widely polarised opinions
with some participants considering the sports output “not diverse enough”,
and being largely limited to soccer and rugby. Others criticised the sharing of
Formula 1 broadcasting rights with Sky which they felt had led to a
deterioration in the BBC’s coverage. There was a consensus however that the
BBC’s coverage of the London 2012 Olympic games had been “outstanding”.
The default, and widely
appreciated, TV channel of many present was BBC Three. Participants welcomed
‘special’ weeks such as the ‘Body issues week’ which the BBC had held recently.
With most participants being young women, many felt that Swedish dramas – such
as those broadcast on BBC Four - presented a more positive image of women than
UK drama and that the positives of being a young woman - or indeed a young person of either sex - was