Page last updated at 10:09 GMT, Saturday, 12 April 2008 11:09 UK

Wombles warning over TV imports

The Wombles
The Wombles were hugely popular in the 1970s

The Wombles of Wimbledon Common have moved to New York and adopted American accents in a protest against imported children's TV shows.

The Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT) made the film to highlight what they warn is a threat to British programmes.

The organisation claims just 1% of all new programmes are made in the UK.

In the 90-second clip, Tomsk asks the other Wombles: "What's going down in the hood?" before being attacked.

Bernard Cribbins - who voiced the original Wombles - offered his support to the campaign.

At the end of the clip, he says: "Tell those Wombles in government we need to start making British programmes for British kids again before it's too late."

National debate

PACT said: "It serves as a reminder of the days when the high-quality kids' TV that Britain is renowned for had many more hours on our screens.

"The stark reality is that this may not be the case for future generations should the current decline continue."

In October last year, media regulator Ofcom called for a national debate on the future of children's TV in Britain, saying parents were understandably concerned about the decline in British-made programmes in favour of cartoons and US imports.

It said investment by ITV1, GMTV, Channel 4 and Five had halved in real terms since 1998.

Jana Bennett, the BBC's director of television, said she "guaranteed" the BBC would invest in "children's programmes made for British children" over the next seven years.

"Kid are not just on television these days they are also on the web, so we are going to be increasing our investment over the next five years on safe television and safe web content for children.

"We are also looking to increase some of the original productions, made in Britain, particularly on Cbeebies where we know there is such a thirst for more original output.

"While I think there is a problem in the sector as a whole, the BBC is the lynch-pin of the core of investment and we see that as being absolutely rock solid."

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