Gill Biddle on public service content for young audiences

Gill Biddle has extensive experience of the children’s broadcasting landscape. She has worked across various productions in project and production management, including for BBC and ITV titles, and is currently Project Manager for the BFI Young Audiences Content Fund.

Profile image of BFI Young Audiences Content Fund Project Manager Gill Biddle

Gill describes her strengths as a keen eye for detail, dedication to tidiness and a love all things spreadsheet, with a compassionate understanding of how programmes come to be and what quality programmes for a young audience looks like.

Here she talks about her pride in helping to support the parts of the children’s TV industry that are ‘underserved and under-skilled’.

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

Being able to have a say in how the levy that has been contributed by productions supported by the YACF (BFI’s Young Audiences Content Fund) is spent feels full circle in terms of being able to witness the good of public funds being used for public benefit.

What are the main objectives of the Council?

To financially and developmentally support areas of the children’s industry that are underserved and under-skilled.

How do you decide what to prioritise?

Group discussion and evidence of need. Personally I always find that there is a lack of interest/desire (compared to creative counterparts) to work in the logistical side of production, though it is essential to a production wrapping on time and on budget. Championing these roles and the skills involved will always be at the forefront of my mind.

What successes would you like to highlight?

Being able to support productions through YACF that have ultimately contributed to the levy has been a great privilege.

What are the challenges you see ahead?

The main challenge ahead, I would say, is public service commissioning for young audiences. It is not seen as a priority due to the comparable lack of financial incentive compared with programming for grown-ups. And yet the audience in question is arguably the most in need in terms of good quality, free-to-access public service content. Priority should be based on the good of the audience rather than financial gain, but sadly this rarely seems to be the case.

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

The opportunity to work across a wide range of genres!

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

Whether sitting on the creative or production side of things, always build in time contingency. It is rare that a plan goes as originally envisaged so having breathing space is always a must, not only for deadlines sake but also for your stress levels!

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

Keep the audience in mind always – they should be at the heart of the content you are producing.

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