SuperTed and Fireman Sam would never have been made without the government’s cash help, said the driving force behind the popular cartoons.
It comes when UK ministers consider whether they will continue to subsidize children’s TV programs for Channel 5, E4 and the Welsh language channel S4C.
SuperTed and Fireman Sam started on S4C before being broadcast in English.
“They wouldn’t have been made without subsidies,” said Fireman Sam producer and SuperTed creator Mike Young.
Leading presenters, including former Play School host Baroness Floella Benjamin, now equal to the House of Lords, and former Blue star Peter Konnie Huq have expressed their concern about the future of children’s programming if the UK government cut theirs Fund for young audience content.
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It was established in 2018 and helps cover the cost of producing children’s shows for public service broadcasters and has allocated over £ 44m over a three-year trial period to support the production of shows on public broadcasting channels. .
But there are fears that future funding could be affected by the UK government’s ongoing spending review, although the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said no decision has been made.
Mike Young, now an Emmy and Bafta-winning animator based in Hollywood, said he was “stunned” that the money for children’s content could be cut because, while animation “is there to be fun, it is. at the same time incredibly educational “.
“It would be a very short-sighted decision and a smaller investment than some of the money governments tend to waste in other areas.”
Mr. Young, who still makes animations and runs a Los Angeles-based production company, said children’s shows were attractive to TV channels and streaming services because “kids watch content more than adults.”
“A child will watch the same program over and over as part of their learning process,” she said.
“While the adults watch, say The Crown once and they’ll never watch it again.”
“So children’s TV shows have a new generation every three years or so, especially among the younger ones.
“Plus they are long-lasting and they make money from merchandising. Now I can go down the street in Los Angeles and buy a Fireman Sam toy.
“If they [UK government] taking away these subsidies and subsidies will put the UK at a huge disadvantage compared to the rest of the world. If that happens, it will really shrink an industry. “
My Young began his career by creating SuperTed, which aired as S4C’s first program when the channel launched in November 1982.
“In the case of S4C, it’s not just about making shows for children, but it actually retains a language and culture, it goes beyond children’s TV shows,” he added.
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Mr Young also played a pivotal role in making Fireman Sam – Sam Tan in Welsh – a hit on S4C before both animations were translated into English.
Despite both being televised landmarks for millions of children in the 1980s, long before the creation of the Young Audience Content Fund, he claimed that both were partly funded by government subsidies at the time.
The body representing independent television companies in Wales said it was “very doubtful” without the government fund that young dramas and new animated series would be commissioned.
“It’s really short-sighted now when we’re seeing some really good evidence from dozens of programs that have been commissioned through this fund and now looking to stop it doesn’t make sense to me,” said Gareth Williams, president of Teledwyr Annibynnol Cymru.
One of the beneficiaries of the government fund is producer Nia Ceidiog, original screenwriter of Fireman Sam, who is making a children’s drama focused on mental health.
“It would have been impossible to produce this in Welsh if it weren’t for a YAC fund award,” he said.
“Drama is expensive and S4C would not have been able to produce children’s drama of that level, so having this award – 50% of the budget – is crucial.”
S4C said the fund helped the Welsh-language channel “invest in productions that otherwise wouldn’t have seen the light of day,” including Welsh cult hit Sali Mali.
“Although S4C has performed well from the YAC fund and although S4C would not want to see the end of this important source of money for original content from Wales, its demise would not have a negative impact on S4C’s broader children’s offering.” he has declared. .
“Even without the contribution of the YAC fund, S4C is the second largest commissioner of children’s TV programs.”
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