The Rudd Government and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) must assure Australians that popular children’s television characters B1 and B2 are not about to become cheap cartoon imports, Senator Simon Birmingham said today.
It follows reports the ABC is considering retiring all episodes of Bananas in Pyjamas for a one-off payment to enable a European owned production company to produce an animated version of the program.
“Reports that the ABC might allow Southern Star Endemol to produce an animated version of Bananas in Pyjamas in Singapore should be of great concern to all Australians with an interest in raising our children with Australian characters,” Senator Birmingham said today.
Since its creation in 1992, based on a song shown for many years on the similarly iconic Play School, Bananas in Pyjamas has itself been exported around the world, netting the ABC approximately $22 million.
“This program and its stars, B1 and B2, have become iconic among young Australians and it is simply unthinkable that the ABC could even consider replacing them with an imported cartoon,” Senator Birmingham said.
“Such a move would send a terrible message about the merits of Australian production, and hopefully is not a signal of the ABC’s intentions for its planned government-funded dedicated children’s channel.
“We’ve already had to come to terms with the sad demise of Humphrey B. Bear after the winding up of his production company earlier this year.
“It would be bananas to allow B1 and B2 to split to Singapore, and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and ABC management should immediately put this story to bedtime.”