FT3CTV-Children’s Television

Module Provider: Film, Theatre and TV
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites: FT1ITV Introduction to Television or FT2PTG Popular Television Genres
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Prof Jonathan Bignell

Email: j.bignell@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

Find out how television has addressed child audiences throughout the history of broadcasting in Britain, from the 1950s to the contemporary period. Analyse how different kinds of programme such as animation, dramatic fiction, puppetry and non-fiction have imagined what children want and need from television.  Consider how adults’ views of childhood have shaped what children’s television is like, and how theories of television and childhood have approached this genre.  Examples studied will include classic programmes from the 1950s to the 2000s such as Bagpuss, Blue Peter, My Little Pony, Teletubbies and Thunderbirds.  The module will focus on British programmes but will also include some imported programmes shown in the UK.


•    To develop students’ understanding of the historical and cultural contexts in which children’s television has emerged;

•    To extend students’ skills of close reading and contextual analysis;

•    To encourage students’ critical engagement with works of television criticism and theory;

•    To encourage students in the confident expression of their ideas, and to extend their ability to construct evidence-based arguments. 


Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module, it is expected that students will be able to:

• Demonstrate an understanding of the key critical debates around the functions and forms of television for children;

• Demonstrate an understanding of the cultural, institutional and creative drivers of selected historical and stylistic developments in children’s television; 

• Make detailed analyses of individual television texts, informed by appropriate critical and theoretical perspectives;

• Relate their understanding of the examples of children’s television explored on the module to their developing understanding of wider critical and theoretical frameworks, including debates around genre, audience address, legal regulations, and cultural production and representation.


Additional outcomes:

The module plays a significant role in the continuing development of other skills and competencies which are central to the course. It is expected that the level of skills and competencies achieved in the following will be appropriate to the level of study: oral communication and argument in group situations; deployment of research using printed and electronic resources; critical analysis and coherent argument; undertaking self-directed, independent work; presentation of written work using IT; identifying and addressing problems in the analysis of television programmes and broadcasting.

Outline content:

The module will comprise a series of case studies which each focus on a specific programme form, format or cultural-historical moment in television for children. Students will bring together their contextual reading and screenings of pertinent materials with seminar discussion.

Global context:

Children’s television will be situated in relation to the national and trans-national contexts of programme import and export.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Within the two-hour class, a range of teaching styles will be used and may vary from week to week. Where appropriate, lectures will be used to establish contexts and introduce issues for discussion and debate. The dominant teaching form will be the seminar, which will concentrate primarily on close analysis of television programmes and discussion of critical approaches. Seminars will require preparation in the form of weekly screenings and specified critical reading. Individuals or small groups will prepare short presentation papers as a basis for group discussion.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 18
Supervised time in studio/workshop 32
Guided independent study 150
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:

    An overall mark of 40%

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Resubmission of failed coursework

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

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