Applications are coming in for a new £57m fund for children’s television, according to head of fund Jackie Edwards, who said production companies may look to make more book-to-screen adaptations.
The UK Government’s Young Audiences Content Fund (YACF) launched in April to help production companies finance new programmes for children and young people, up to the age of 18, that are broadcast on free-to-access TV and online platforms.
Edwards told The Bookseller that she has received a “pleasing” amount of adaptations, with more and more coming in every week.
“The point of the fund is to increase the amount of programmes going into production - we want broadcasters to commission more,” she said. “We want all types of children’s programmes, including live-action, and if this could happen there would be more opportunities for book-to-screen adaptations.”
Over the last 10-15 years a “series of unfortunate” events have meant that children’s TV in the UK has declined, she added. Children’s TV lost tax breaks, there was a clampdown on advertising and commercial public broadcasters lost funding. This meant the BBC dominated and there was a lot of important funding, meaning the current offering doesn’t represent young people’s lives.
The fund is open for applications from across the UK and 5% of the programmes that will be granted funding will be in indigenous languages such as Welsh.
There are two types of funding available: ‘production funding’, where producers will receive 50% of the production budget for projects which have a broadcaster already attached; and ‘development funding’, which is primarily for new and diverse voices.
“My personal ambition for the fund is to help create more bold, captivating TV for our audiences,” said Edwards. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
The Young Audiences Content Fund will run for three years and is administered by the BFI. More information is available on the BFI website.
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