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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 August 2006, 12:46 GMT 13:46 UK
ITV stars attack programme cuts
Scene from My Parents Are Aliens (ITV plc)
The show is under threat as ITV stops making kids' programmes
The stars of ITV children's programme My Parents Are Aliens have hit out at the network's decision to scale back its commitment to children's TV.

"Broadcasters don't care about children," said Carla Mendonca, who plays Sophie Johnson in the series.

"Parents need to know what's going on," said co-star Tony Gardner.

ITV recently announced it would stop making children's shows and is seeking permission to reduce the number of children's programmes shown on ITV1.

My Parents Are Aliens is under threat because of the cuts, as no buyers have come forward to take over ITV Productions' children's unit.

'Great shame'

Mendonca told the BBC it was a "great shame" that the programme, which has won three Royal Television Society awards for best children's drama, may have to end.

"If we're not making programmes in this country for the children who live in this country, they'll only be brought up on American imports and Japanese cartoons."

"My Parents Are Aliens is an educational programme. Every episode has a message about how families work," she said.

"The only conclusion I can draw is that people don't care about children."

In an interview with trade magazine Broadcast, Gardner said: "Children's TV is finishing now if ITV is allowed to get away with what it is trying to do."

"When I have told people they are shocked and horrified."

ITV currently shows about eight hours of children's programmes each week on its flagship channel, ITV1.

The broadcaster wrote to Ofcom last week seeking permission to reduce that figure, although full details of the proposal have not been revealed.

It continues to show children's programmes on a dedicated digital channel, CITV, launched in March.

The channel's controller, Estelle Hughes, resigned earlier this month.

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