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S4C original programming heads children’s autumn schedule

This post is also available in: cyCymraeg (Welsh)

A ground-breaking television series introducing mindfulness to primary school children is among the highlights of the kids’ autumn schedule on S4C.

The 26-part animation series Shwshaswyn will welcome children to the serene world of the characters Seren, Fflwff and Capten who will introduce children between three and seven years old to some of the techniques of mindfulness.

The series, produced by indie production company Cwmni Da is one of a number of new original children’s programmes in the schedule this autumn.

The launch comes at a time when some broadcasters have been criticised by Ofcom for not producing enough original children’s programmes.

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S4C, despite facing significant cuts in its budget over the last seven years, has been praised for its two children’s services, Cyw for nursery children and Stwnsh for children aged between seven and thirteen. In the BAFTA Cymru nominations announced last Thursday (6 September 2018), S4C commissioned programmes took all three shortlisted places – CIC (Boom Cymru), Deian a Loli (Cwmni Da) and Titsh (Cwmni Da).

Amanda Rees, S4C Director of Content said:

“We are extremely proud of the fact that 75% of our children’s programme budget is invested in original productions produced in Wales, the UK or in international co-productions. S4C broadcasts over 40 hours a week of children’s programmes, far more than Ofcom’s recommendations. Crucially, programmes are meeting the needs of the children and their families, their huge engagement reflected in the fact that every stage show with Cywcharacters is a sell-out. During the recent National Eisteddfod, a concert at the Wales Millennium Centre, featuring the BBC National Orchestra of Wales playing songs and theme tunes from Cywprogrammes, was sold out within 24 hours.”

Content Commissioner, Children’s Programmes, Sioned Wyn Roberts, says that programmes like Shwshaswynreflects the channel’s determination to meet a wide raft of viewers’ needs.

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“Mindfulness for children is something of a first in the UK children’s television market, and it shows we are not afraid to venture and service a wide range of interests, needs and abilities in our programmes.

“We commission programmes specifically targeting the needs of our own Welsh speaking children’s market, but the strength and originality of performance mean they can be developed and sold to markets worldwide. We have licensed our children’s programming in over 250 territories throughout the world since the channel started in 1982.

“We have commissioned original programming year on year on tight budgets. Children like them because they are different to what the other broadcast can offer.

“One such series is the live-action drama Deian a Loli, where the two main protagonists can freeze their parents and shrink themselves to resolve the plot lines. The series is hugely popular, again an original format, and currently in production with the second series.

Among the other new series set for autumn broadcast is the fun, children’s real-life series, Doniolis, produced by independent production company Captain Jac, which follows the adventures of the mischievous Donioli brothers,Luigiand Louie and their young niece, Liwsi.

Another series to be broadcast from mid-September is Amser Maith yn ôl, which is a fresh take on Welsh and British history looking at three specific periods; the Celts, the Normans and the Tudors. This has been produced specifically to enable teachers to use clips in a classroom setting for 4-8year olds.

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