BBC are signing the death sentence for traditional children's TV

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


We all have a children’s TV show we look back on fondly, and CBBC probably created your favourite programme. We watched them together at the same time in the afternoon as these TV series helped shape us into who we are today, and they aimed to help us make better sense of the world.

I tried (and failed) to create Blue Peter's tinsel hanger advent calendar. I learnt about the dangers of drug abuse via Zammo McGuire’s storyline on Grange Hill and was entertained by the chaos of live Saturday morning TV’s Going Live.

These are some of the CBBC series that helped me as a child keep informed, educated and entertained from my home in Merseyside. These TV series are why I now work in television and live in Scotland today – jumping at the chance to travel up the M6 to work for CBBC Scotland as a fresh-faced researcher producing four hours of live Saturday morning telly each week.

But I'm not looking back at the favourite children’s TV shows with rose-tinted glasses. The ever-changing multiplatform media landscape has resulted in seismic changes in the way children consume their media. OFCOM, the TV, radio and internet regulator, recently released a study that suggested only 4% of children aged three to 17 do nothing else whilst watching TV.

Multi-screening/multi-tasking when the TV is on is something children have instinctively done for years, whether it’s playing with toy figures and watching TV, or TV viewing alongside consuming content on a mobile or tablet device. Indeed, YouTube is the most-watched platform for children, with one in four watching no scheduled live TV.

Hence last week’s decision by the BBC to make CBBC, a 20-year-old linear channel dedicated to quality children’s TV programmes, into a “digital-only” online and BBC iPlayer service. On paper, this looks like a wise move. But there has to be an air of caution at the BBC when delving into all those statistics around children’s viewing habits.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Herald
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'BBC are signing the death sentence for traditional children's TV'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this