Deborah Pearlman fears for the future of children’s television

By Candice Krieger, May 2, 2008

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 cultural 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 — 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.

Last updated: 11:59am, May 7 2008