Sunday, 29 January 2012

Russell T Davies: Children’s TV is “Endangered”

Russell T Davies, the man behind five of Doctor Who most popular years, has given an interview in today’s Observer, in which he explains how he believes today’s children’s television is in danger of disappearing and why he feels he must support it.

Davies explains how the failure of society to recognise the talent of children's writers "allows us to diminish and marginalise their work" and gives further details about Aliens VS Wizards, the upcoming new children's science-fantasy drama created and written by himself and Phil Ford (The Sarah Jane Adventures, Torchwood).

Davies's heart lies with children's television. His latest project, Aliens Vs Wizards, is being talked about as one of the biggest new dramas for children to come out of Britain. It combines medieval wizardry with alien-fantasy – think Harry Potter meets Doctor Who – and will be screened by the BBC this autumn.

Davies arranged to meet his close collaborator on Doctor Who, the writer Phil Ford, for dinner in a Los Angeles restaurant to talk about new ventures. "When you try like that, usually you never have an idea," he said. But by the time the two men had finished their main course they both knew they had come up with a "really geeky idea, the cleverest of the lot", which taps into the latest film and TV craze, mashing up different genres – as seen in the film Cowboys & Aliens, starring Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, released last year.

They decided to focus the new drama on two 16-year-olds, Tom and Benny, one secretly in possession of magical powers, the other a super-bright scientific brain, who does not believe in magic. They combine their skills to battle a tribe of aliens, called the Nekross, to save the world. From the dark side of the moon, the Nekross set up a base to scan the earth, looking for magical skills to buttress their power and, naturally, destroying anything that stands in their way.The idea was quickly turned into a first script, then an order for 26 episodes.

Davies said: "Magic and science fiction are never combined. For example, the only thing that could make Harry Potter better, in my view, would be if a big spaceship arrives at the door of Hogwarts, but it never does. It does in ours, in episode one." The wizard teenager is descended from a family of wizards, but he keeps this a secret and attends a comprehensive school. Aliens Vs Wizards will also feature lots of prosthetic monsters, as in Doctor Who, and not just computer generated imagery.

The lavish multimillion-pound series, which starts filming in the Cardiff drama studios of BBC Wales in March, is being financially backed by Fremantle Media Enterprises (FME), to supplement CBBC budgets. In return for the investment, Fremantle, not the BBC, has global sales rights, as well as rights to DVDs, merchandising and book publishing.

> Read the FULL article - The Observer 

Aliens VS Wizards will begin filming around Spring to Summer this year and is due to broadcast on CBBC this Autumn.

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