Paul Kearney on supporting those starting a career in children's TV

Paul Kearney started his TV career at Sky TV just as digital television was born. He held various posts there before freelancing and making shows for BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5. Paul moved into the Channel 5 kids and family team in 2018 and is now a production executive for C5’s pre-school block milkshake!.

Profile image of Channel 5's Paul Kearney

Here he talks about serving on the ScreenSkills Children's TV Council, the challenges facing children’s TV and offers advice to freelancers who want to start a career in the industry.

What made you join the Children’s TV Skills Council?

I was interested in joining to see what impact we can have to help people starting out in their career. 

What are the main objectives of the Council?

To work as a team of professionals to identify industry training requirements and support amongst the freelance community, helping new people to come into the industry.

How do you decide what to prioritise?

By looking at what’s popular and demanding in terms of free courses, where budget is spent and where skills cross over with high-end TV.

What successes would you like to highlight?

Milkshake!’s Mixmups series is one that I am particularly proud of. It has diversity at its heart, produced by people with lived experiences.

What are the challenges you see ahead?

Budgets, the cost-of-living crisis and the lack of funding from the government for children’s TV and animation. 

What is the most exciting thing about working in children’s TV?

People! We’re all big kids and it’s great to see people’s ideas come to life for a generation who will fondly remember their favourite show.

What is the key area of training you would recommend for freelancers to help them build and sustain a successful career?

Be open to opportunities. Ask questions! Look at what your skill set is and what you enjoy and find courses that may match.

What’s the best piece of advice you can give to somebody wanting to start a career in children’s TV

If you can get work experience or look at apprenticeship schemes they can be a great foot in the door. 

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