09 Sept 2021
Fan favourite Teen First Dates, revamped How and interactive game show Don’t Unleash the Beast have all been recommissioned as the BFI-managed fund continues to power brand new TV for young viewers in the UK.
The latest slate from the UK government-funded Young Audiences Content Fund (YACF) has been unveiled today, revealing two brand-new and distinctive commissions, three recommissions and nine new development awards from across the UK.
Factual series Breaking Bristol (w/t) for E4 and Cum Soil Urm, a Scottish Gaelic film shining a light on refugees for BBC ALBA make up the brand-new commissions. Meanwhile, the slate boasts three recommissions: for CITV’s revamped HOW series, which launched earlier in 2021, interactive game show Don’t Unleash the Beast also for CITV, which proved hugely popular to young viewers at home, and the critically-lauded Teen First Dates for E4. To date, seven YACF-supported programmes (17%) have been recommissioned on the strength of their performance, with the strong prospect of further recommissions as other fund-backed shows, delayed by COVID-19, start to air.
The slate is released as Jack Rooke’s previously announced YACF-financed dramedy Big Boys (Channel 4), starring Dylan Llewellyn (Derry Girls) and Jon Pointing (Plebs), starts production, eccentric cult comedy Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared (Channel 4) wraps filming and CITV’s sustainable craft show MakeAway Takeaway makes it to air.
This latest slate is testament to the vital role the YACF is playing in the UK TV landscape as it approaches the final quarter of its three-year pilot. Financed by the UK government with a clear remit to nurture and support the creation of distinct, high-quality content for children and young audiences to be broadcast on free-to-access platforms, the fund has promoted innovation, new voices, diversity and plurality whilst creating skilled work opportunities, training and professional development for UK talent within the children’s media industry.
In the first two years of operation, the YACF support has delivered 150 hours of new, UK-originated content that would not otherwise have been financed by the market. During this period, £30m has been awarded to 156 projects (42 production projects and 114 development projects). Underlining the fulfilment of its remit, to date 83% of YACF-supported production projects and 75% of development projects involve at least one type of innovation in their content (e.g. new format; novel story, setting or characters). Meanwhile, 62% of production projects and 70% of development projects involved the representation of identifiable communities in the UK, including urban, rural and coastal communities across all four home nations as well as under-represented and disadvantaged groups.
Projects backed by the fund are also being created by production companies spanning the whole of the UK, supporting representation across the country. More than half of the companies involved in production (56%) and development (51%) projects were based outside London and the South East.
To further qualify the quality of the projects backed by the fund, six programmes that were granted production funding in years 1 and 2 have been nominated for a total of eleven major industry awards so far including Rose d’Or Awards 2020, Children and Youth RTS Awards 2021 and Broadcast Awards 2021. Two of these titles won in their respective categories; Sol, in the Stanford St Martin 2021 Awards, Children’s Broadcasting, and HOW, in the RTS Southern Awards 2021, Factual Entertainment.
Additionally, the YACF’s See Yourself on Screen Challenge – a UK-wide competition for 4-18 year old TV stars of the future, launched for a second year by TV presenter Konnie Huq in June — will see original TV shorts created by young viewers at home premiere across five national channels this October.
The Young Audiences Contend Fund has awarded production funding to the following projects within this slate, listed by broadcaster:
13×23’ immersive game show Don’t Unleash the Beast recommissioned for a second series, produced by CPL Productions and Tiny House Productions
CITV’s immersive game show, Don’t Unleash the Beast is back for a second series and this time Halian is more challenging than ever! With the Beast hot on their heels, the brave Treasure Seekers must navigate their way through this ancient cave system, using strength, brains and teamwork to release the Sacred Stones, enter the Cave of Treasures and find those precious Artefacts!
The tasks are devilishly tricky, they must begin by passing the Pit of Doom, a mega-sized ball pit with tricky obstacles. A successful crossing stands them in good stead; if only the ropes were sturdier, bridges less rotten and webs less tangly! Then there’s the Halian Escape Room where clues are everywhere but only the cleverest are able to decipher them and crack the code. And finally the skill game, knocking skulls off perches and destroying a Halian version of the Terracotta Army. The Treasure Seekers feel the presence of the Beast throughout, it’s watching, waiting and ready to attack. Will they hold their nerve, think fast and get out…without becoming the Beast’s dinner?
The tension mounts as they enter The Cave of Treasures, search hard in slime and beast snot for the artefacts and try their luck at that Rancid Ramp, desperate to escape the Beast and return safely to the Professor’s camp. Don’t Unleash the Beast 2 is high drama! More immersive, more tense and even more exciting!