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On the ground at Prix Jeunesse – BBC Children’s Adrian Mills

I think of Prix Jeunesse with great fondness - a place to meet new people and screen inspiring content from around the world that's often overshadowed by our obsession with global brands and commercial success. Prix Jeunesse is the heart and soul of children's programming and it's great to be back.
June 1, 2010

I think of Prix Jeunesse with great fondness – a place to meet new people and screen inspiring content from around the world that’s often overshadowed by our obsession with global brands and commercial success. Prix Jeunesse is the heart and soul of children’s programming and it’s great to be back.

This year’s theme is diversity and I’m struck by the number of programmes in which children talk not just about their culture and tradition, but about their personal faith in God. From my liberal secular tradition, this makes for surprisingly uncomfortable viewing, but I’m impressed by the strength these children draw from their faith, and how articulate they are about it. Is this a new diversity for children’s media?

I’m very aware of others around me, so confident, so definitive about what is and is not appropriate for children. The talk of Prix Jeunesse this year is Missiepoo – a fresh, funny and innovative programme, with an edgy storyline disguised by a slick format that blurs reality and fiction. This fundamentally challenges our notions of children’s broadcasting and I hear colleagues argue passionately why this ‘dangerous’ and ‘irresponsible’ programme should never be seen. I’ve heard such arguments before – in the 1980′s, when outraged colleagues made similar arguments against an edgy new children’s drama from Canada. But The Kids Of Degrassi Street went on to become a huge success and an icon of quality children’s programming. Perhaps we should remember that as we pass sentence on Missiepoo later in the week…

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