Why use expensive staff? Why pay high copyright fees?


If you come from a non-broadcast business, you may be shocked at the costs of making broadcast TV and the cost of hiring professional crew members. You may be frequently thinking;  “I can find you someone who will work for less than that.”  or “I know someone who can make that cheaper”.

You shouldn’t doubt that there is always someone cheaper, but it’s usually preferable to be interested in having someone more talented, someone with a track record in HD production for broadcast and someone with insurance and a proven ability to deliver on time and on budget safely. If someone is injured or fails to deliver, your production may have to bear the cost.

Handmade, home grown solutions often seem attractive and they are suitable for domestic use but often not for the specific requirements of high quality broadcasters.

You may hear comments like ‘why is the music so expensive – there’s tons of cheaper stuff on the internet?’. Well, it’s true, there is, but unfortunately it’s rarely cleared for broadcast. And even when it is, it’s never going to match up to a piece that’s specially composed to fit your beautifully, precisely edited show. Anyone can plaster a bit of music over a sequence but not everyone can see how much more effective it is to have bespoke music, underscoring the mood and drawing attention where the director wants it, The apparently cheap solution can become staggeringly expensive if copyright is infringed. A professional composer will be on their guard against accidental breaches of copyright. It’s much safer, as well as more creative, to compose specific programme music you know is clear of copyright issues.

The same is true of many other works of art required by programme makers, such as illustrations, book covers, posters, photographs, film inserts, scripts – all of these are much less trouble if specially created for the programme. Then and only then, can you feel safe that there are no copyright encumbrances coming back to bite you at a later, and much more expensive, date.

Another issue you may encounter is zealous,  but untrained enthusiastic volunteers ‘researching’ costs for you and then coming up with domestic/educational rates which look attractively cheap. Many copyright holders will allow schools, charities and home users to have a very cheap licence eg for a font, an image, a piece of music, a piece of film. But if you proceed to broadcast any copyright item of this nature you MUST be very clear that it is for broadcast so that the copyright holder can reflect that usage in the price. A font that costs £25 for a home user can become a £5,000 font if you want to use it for commercial purposes. Check before you use it, not after. You can’t take back a broadcast.

Guardian Teacher Network


Guardian Teacher Network.

Useful resources for the whiteboard

Talkie Time on CBeebies


Our new Talkie Time series for 3-5 year olds is here on the CBeebies website. This series is for home use between children and parents, carers, older siblings, grandparents.

CBeebies picks up new animated series | News | Broadcast


CBeebies picks up new animated series | News | Broadcast.

This is based on the same principles as the Bobath/Cerebral Palsy ‘playful exercise’ programme type of programme which has been so successful in mitigating brain injury in premature babies. Also iterated in Norman Doidge’s work amongst others. It’s also the foundation of the literacy work we do in Talkie Time.

Talkie Time new Learning sketches on the BBC Website


Rodd’s new sketches for the classroom are  here on the BBC’s class clips site – 17 curriculum sketches available. Search for ‘Talkie Time’.

The new sketches are:

Three sketches on PSHE (Faces and Feelings, Rodd’s Bad Day and Rodd’s First Day

Three sketches on Numeracy (Counting to 20, Counting in Pairs, Counting Back)

Three sketches on Literacy (words ending in -at,   Magic Thumbs b and d   and Sticky Letters, a, e, i)

Help Rodd when he's counting to 20

Help Rodd sort out his vowels

Ten Cbeebies sketches also coming soon to the CBeebies website.

Our programmes on BBC iplayer and CBeebies this week


Faces and Feelings

Literacy and Numeracy

Series 1


Talkie Time review



Many thanks for pointing me to this resource! It is a great example of the sort of interactive content that can bridge the gap between learning at school and learning at home. I can imagine this being particularly empowering for parents as a way to support their children’s learning and providing them with the confidence to develop their own understanding and skills in child development.

Simon Shaw
Senior manager – Parental engagement and online reporting

Talkie Time on Cbeebies for grown ups and children – innovative family learning for all ages


Parents and children can play the new series of Talkie Time which will be appearing on both CBeebies and BBC Learning very soon.

Sometimes you have to find the buzzer button to play a game with Rodd – I know I sent you one – There it is – on the end of your nose! Press it when I get something wrong. What sound will it make?

Sometimes you might need an odd sock so you can help Susie Odd-Sock make friends

Rodd's very happy when you help his shy friend Susie

You can find the pilot series here

Classroom Research Talkie Time


This is our third classroom trial and we took Talkie Time to Ashmount Primary Reception Class. Despite being June it was a very wet day and the classroom had flooded the day before but the Ashmount school and staff took it in their stride.
Ruth Chalmers and I arrived at 8.30. We played one sketch, Super Sorting from the DVD, which the teacher was seeing for the first time, and set up the classroom. The teacher has to stand at the right-hand side of the whiteboard (as you are looking at it).
Ruth’s camera was low at the front left hand side to get the children’s reactions, mine higher at the back left to get shots of the whiteboard and the teacher.
It’s a large class. They filed in and sat on the carpet. Quite lively and curious. Most of the children had parental permission to be filmed but a couple couldn’t be on screen.
Ms Cussell told the class she’d made a new friend and was going to introduce him on the whiteboard.
We hit play and we couldn’t get our DVD to play, despite it having played 30 minutes ago. Memories of the classroom VCR disasters of the 1980s came back vividly. The delay went on and on and on. The children were kept completely absorbed though by the Teaching Assistants who, with no fuss, got them playing singing games on the mat. Wish I’d had those in the 1980s. The pressure could have been increased by the fact Saul Nasse, the BBC’s new Head of Learning, was sitting at the back of the class observing but he was very calm and said it happened all the time when he was Editor of Tomorrow’s World.
Amazingly, randomly, at some point after eventually deciding to open it in VLC instead, we hit the right button and the “Super Sorting” sketch started with no notice. Ms Cussell coolly made the class sit. Fortunately this sketch has about 18 seconds of Rodd talking to a plastic dinosaur with a feather boa so by the time Rodd came forwards from the back of the set and said “Hi, how are you doing?” many of the children said hello back, immediately and instinctively. Despite having lost a few seconds of sense, the show rolled on. The children responded with increasing confidence and Ms Cussell, following the words on the screen for the first time, gave a very assured performance.
At the end the first words I heard after ‘Bye..bye” were “I want to do that again.”
During the sketch some children gave the ‘wrong’ answer twice as a couple of our items are potentially ambiguous. But 95% were so clear that it was a done deal. And Ms Cussell was instinctively improvising, correcting gently and swiftly, keeping it all positive and purposeful.
The pace was very good, no longuers and the children keeping up.
We then played “Letters in the Air” which went down very well. This requires the adult to single out two children to do a special job and the children picked to come out drew the letter on Rodd’s back on the whiteboard. In this sketch Rodd demonstrate making the letter once by himself but I think the children’s instinct was always to do the drawing with him and if we do more we should look at this.
The children were still very eager to have more. We asked Ms Cussell if the children could count up to 12 so we could do the Time Quiz. Telling the Time isn’t in the EYFS, it’s only in KS1 of the National Curriculum so we were prepared for it not to work but this Reception class had no problem with it.
They went out for a break and we got some vox pops and an interview with Ms Cussell.
The children said they loved Rodd and wanted to do more. The teacher confirmed this and said she found the sketches very easy to use, having only had one insecure moment when she didn’t know the ‘pick a hand’ rules for choosing who started the game. And she improvised well enough for it not to matter in context.
After break they were still up for more and we played Drum Count as a finale to get rid of a bit of energy as it has a lot of clapping to time.
The video of this classroom trial will be edited and posted shortly.


phonological awareness through big body movements

phonological awareness through big body movements

Now the iplayer feed is finished the programmes are permanently available for free to UK users here

A free guide and support resources are also on the site