Australian Children’s Television Foundation celebrates 30 years

Industry gathered in Fitzroy last night to celebrate 30 years of the ACTF with Janet Holmes à Court remembering the glory days.

Last night the Australian Children’s Television Foundation celebrated 30 years with an industry dinner at its headquarters in Fitzroy.

ACTF has a roll-call of titles it has supported including Round the Twist, Hollie’s Heroes, Lockie Leonard,  My Place, Spellbinder, Mortified, The Genie from Down Under, Lil’ Elvis Jones and the Truckstoppers, Kaboodle, Lift Off, Dance Academy, Crash Zone, Winners, Touch the Sun, The Girl from Tomorrow and more.

Industry partners in attendance included ABC3’s Tim Brooke-Hunt, Film Victoria’s Jenni Tosi, producer Joanna Werner, director Jeffrey Walker, actress Brooke Harman, TEN’s Head of Children’s TV Cherrie Bottger, Cordell Jigsaw’s Toni Malone, plus representatives from funding bodies, education, schools, producers, crews and media.

CEO Jenny Buckland paid tribute to chairman Janet Holmes à Court who has been with the organisation since 1983.

“Janet’s contribution to our organisation is immeasurable and impossible to sum it up. She’s shared wonderful successes and heartbreaking lows over the years. She’s inspired, supported and encouraged us to always be the best we can be,” she said.

Holmes à Court said her association with ACTF had been a highlight of her life.

“To see this organisation grow from the early days of the 1980s when the commercial broadcasters were openly antagonistic towards children’s television -they pretty much wanted the organisation to fail- it’s been an amazing journey.

“There was hardly any children’s drama at that time but now the ACTF is a hub in the middle of a thriving industry that operates around the country.

“I constantly have friends saying to me ‘I was in Zambia last week and I turned on the TV and saw your logo’ or ‘I was in Bosnia, I was in Jamaica…’ It’s just amazing to think that in 115 countries children are watching programmes that are made for Australian children but made of such quality that they are wanted all over the world.”

Holmes à Court told guests that during her three decades she had dealt with some 80 state and federal Arts ministers, including a time when she and Buckland were in Canberra in the midst of a potential leadership spill between Kim Beazley and Kevin Rudd.

“Jenny and I were about to get into a lift and Kevin Rudd got out and Jenny said, ‘Look just go for it Kevin!’

“Team up with Julia!” Buckland recalls.

Fast-forward years later and Rudd was opening kid’s channel ABC3.

5 Responses

  1. Victor, all the ITV licences in the UK were regularly auctioned every decade or so since they started. That was how the system worked no matter which party was in government.

  2. @Ronnie: Maybe because it is true? Australia struggles to come up with interesting ideas, and produce good quality series for children, when compared to overseas. Especially in terms of cartoon series, which are frequently terrible. Most of their older content, has aged rather badly too.

    There have been 5 series (Deadly, Driven Crazy, Round the Twist, Wicked, Wormwood) based on Paul Jennings stories for example, but only Round the Twist (Series 1/2) was a good series.

    I would rather see more quality content (i.e. Geronimo Stilton) from overseas, than more forced Australian content for children.

  3. Congratulations to the ACTF. But Ronnie is right. It has battled for thirty years against the commercial broadcasters who have constantly knocked at the doors of government to shirk their obligations under their broadcasting licences and come up with every possible reason not to have to broadcast children’s drama. These licences were never paid for and in fact extended as they all got digital channels without paying for them as well. They have no sense of social obligation. Perhaps all the commercial licences should be put for auction as Margaret Thatcher did in the UK. Fat chance! Keep up the good fight ACTF.

  4. Plus ca change! FTA is using the convergence review to argue they are pouring funds into kids tv series no-one wants to watch. The ACTF is fighting the same battle 30 years on. Good luck with that -you will need it.

  5. Never mind the kids….I am almost as old as dirt…and there are many shows listed above…that I have watched and enjoyed..
    Did have kiddies around at the time….but great television….glad I did catch many of them.

Leave a Reply