See Yourself on Screen Challenge calls on 4-18 year olds to make their own mini-TV show in lockdown

The challenge is backed by doctor and TV personality Dr Ranj, with a chance for young people to have their creations shown on national TV.

BFI See Yourself On Screen Challenge

The BFI today launches the See Yourself on Screen Challenge, calling on young people aged 4-18 from across the UK to create their own idea for a mini-TV show they can film at home while on lockdown. Backed by doctor, TV personality and See Yourself on Screen Challenge Ambassador Dr Ranj, the Challenge will see winning entrants receive expert tuition before their mini-TV show is aired on national TV across the public service broadcasters.

The See Yourself on Screen Challenge is a pan-industry initiative, led by the BFI through its Young Audiences Content Fund (YACF), and supported by a collective of industry partners; Channel 5 Milkshake, CITV, E4, S4C, FYI News and TG4 are supporting as broadcaster partners, each airing a number of the mini-TV shows, while Animation UK, BAFTA Kids, Children’s Media Conference, Into Film and PACT are also backing the challenge.

Submissions will be judged by a panel of industry experts from each of the partner organisations, who will shortlist entries in three different age categories; age 4-7; age 8-13 and age 14-18. Judges from the broadcaster partners will then each pick three winning entries (one per age category), and these entrants will be offered digital masterclasses with an experienced figure from the television industry, who will help each finalist turn their idea into reality. The resulting two-minute mini-TV show will then be aired by one of the partner public service broadcasters later this year.

Dr Ranj said:

I’m so excited to host this challenge and I cannot wait to see what ideas are sent in. There are fantastic judges and channels on board, and it’s such a brilliant opportunity for the winning entrants to see the idea they created at home aired on national television! We’ve seen how important TV is in all our lives over the last couple of months, and we have to ensure we give a voice to, and reflect the lives of, children and young people all across the UK. The BFI’s See Yourself on Screen Challenge is a really fun and engaging way to find out what their lives have been like over the last two months, through the medium of TV.

Jackie Edwards, Head of the BFI Young Audiences Content Fund said:

The pandemic has exquisitely highlighted the importance of Public Service Broadcasting in all of our lives. This is particularly true for children and young people for whom culturally relevant programming, and seeing people like them on screen, can provide a much-needed touchstone which isn’t always readily available. We’re inviting all young audiences in the UK to come up with programme ideas for lockdown life, not just as a creative challenge to entertain, but to help describe and document these very unusual times. We are delighted to have so many partners involved who are creators, supporters and broadcasters of great quality television for the young of this country. It’s brilliant to get everyone together — while we’re all apart — for the See Yourself on Screen Challenge!

In line with the aims of the YACF, the See Yourself on Screen Challenge seeks to encourage children and young people to engage with television, offering them an opportunity to share their ideas and experiences of life amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. The Fund supports high quality television which reflects the lives of children and young people in the UK, and screens on free-to-air, public service broadcasting channels.

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced schools, businesses and other parts of society to shut down. As such, there are millions of children and young people at home in the UK, and free-to-access, regulated and safe television content is one of the most important tools at their disposal, be that to entertain, inform — or both.

Meanwhile, recent research shows that only half of children in the UK aged 8-15 feel that there were enough TV programmes showing people who looked like them, and children in the nations were especially likely to feel that there were not enough people like them on television . Increasingly, young people are turning to unregulated content, such as online influencers, who share similar interests and experiences but often provide less of a safe space for audiences .

The See Yourself on Screen Challenge is addressing this gap by encouraging young people to submit original and creative ideas for UK television content, putting the power in their hands to present ideas for TV shows that truly represent their own voices and stories. Entrants are asked to submit an initial 30-second video, summarising their idea for a two-minute long mini-TV show that reflects their own personal experience of the global health emergency and life ‘staying at home’ amid the lockdown.

The See Yourself on Screen Challenge judges include:

Ages 4-7:

  • On behalf of PACT: Billy Macqueen, of Darrall Macqueen who makes children’s TV programmes such as Waffle the Wonder Dog and Topsy and Tim
  • On behalf of The Children’s Media Conference: Debbie MacDonald, Independent Children’s Media Consultant and former Programme Director at Nickelodeon
  • Broadcast judge: Louise Burgess. Acquisitions and Programme Manager, Channel 5’s Milkshake!

Ages 8-13:

  • On behalf of Animation UK: Sarah Cox, Executive Producer, Aardman
  • On behalf of Into Film: Ben Woodiwiss, Into Film judge
  • Broadcast judge: Matt Bowen, Head of Scheduling, CITV

Ages 14-18:

  • On behalf of BAFTA: Krishnendu Majumdar, Emmy Award winning producer, director and co-founder of Me+You Productions, current Deputy Chair of BAFTA
  • On behalf of the BFI: Jackie Edwards, Head of the Young Audiences Content Fund
  • Broadcast judge: Navi Lamba, Digital Commissioning Exec, E4

Submit your entry for the See Yourself on Screen Challenge. The closing date for entries is 12 noon on 25 May 2020 and successful shortlisted entrants will be notified by Friday 12 June 2020.