Saturday, 1 October 2011


Yesterday the playground hopped with excitement. The youngest children in school - all 120 of them - were off on double decker coaches to help film an episode of a new childrens' TV show with Justin, the Bafta winning CBeebies presenter. There was nonetheless some grumbling from my daughter and her friends: 
"It's not fair, we never got to do that in year 1." 
Some parts of the BBC have just moved to Salford Quays, down the road from here. Cue much gleeful reporting from the London-based media about BBC employees reluctant to make the move, and misinformation about the grimness of Salford. (As if White City were some kind of earthly paradise.)

But I can only see the BBC move as hugely positive. I had to remind my daughter that she'd already been to the BBC at Media City. During the summer we'd been to Music Boxes, a free Manchester International Festival event at Salford Quays: shipping containers outside the BBC building were transformed into live performance spaces, aimed at the very young. My children were thrilled to spend time there with Mister Maker, another CBeebies star.

OK, perhaps they're easily pleased, but the BBC is already giving a sense of opportunity to a generation in and around Manchester. Those kids at my daughter's school will grow up knowing that they really can become sound engineers, or producers, or reporters, or presenters, or whatever, because they have met people like that. So hats off to the BBC for starting to engage with local schools and families, and long may those relationships flourish and grow.

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