Deb­o­rah Pearlman fears for the fu­ture of chil­dren’s television

The Jewish Chronicle - - People -

CHIL­DREN ARE miss­ing out on cru­cial learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties as com­pa­nies make cuts in television pro­gramme pro­duc­tion, warns for­mer script ed­i­tor Deb­o­rah Pearlman, who worked on the award-win­ning Tracy Beaker se­ries.

Miss Pearlman, 35, has spe­cialised in chil­dren’s television drama for the past five years and su­per­vised scripts for the BBC’s Grange Hill, EastEn­ders and Byker Grove.

She tells Peo­ple: “Th­ese key pro­grammes are about the ev­ery­day ex­pe­ri­ences of chil­dren’s lives in this coun­try. It is re­ally im­por­tant for kids to see their own sit­u­a­tions played out. With so many cuts tak­ing place, we are los­ing the op­por­tu­nity to en­gage with chil­dren and pro­vide cul- tu­ral op­por­tu­ni­ties. It’s a real shame.” How­ever, she ac­knowl­edges that such cut­backs and a sub­se­quent in­crease in im­ported shows from the United States may prove ben­e­fi­cial for the Jewish au­di­ence. “US television ex­ports have more Jewish char­ac­ters and ref­er­ences in than those in the UK.”

She points to hit se­ries Friends, The OC and The Nanny. “Th­ese pro­grammes are re­ally high-profile and pop­u­lar. When it comes to Jewish char­ac­ters, we could af­ford to learn a thing or two from the Amer­i­cans,” she says.

But with the UK in­dus­try as it is — key de­part­ments such as Granada Kids are clos­ing — Miss Pearlman has de­cided to take on a new chal­lenge. She has launched plan­et­party.co.uk — an on­line party shop sell­ing con­tem­po­rary party sup­plies such as per­son­alised pa­per plates, food boxes and party bags. “I no­ticed that the same mass-pro­duced party sup­plies are ab­so­lutely ev­ery­where,” says Miss Pearlman, a for­mer au pair. “I wanted to de­velop some al­ter­na­tive and con­tem­po­rary prod­ucts that would re­ally stand out from the crowd.”

Home is in Crouch End, North Lon­don.

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