I was one of the heat judges for the BBC2 Off By Heart programme, part of the BBC’s Poetry Season.
I thought it was very disappointing. Sure, it was a very interesting look at the winners and their families but…
1 - despite the fact that 1000s of kids entered it and hundreds of schools supported it there was very little mention of either. How about showing some of the schools preparing for it and some of the other children who entered?
2 It was all about children entering a competition - but not made FOR children at all. It was on late (9 o'clock until 10.30)) and made for adults. It should have been FOR children. Or at least for families to watch.
3 Why are the BBC so scared of actually having someone recite a WHOLE POEM on screen. Why, in all these BBC Poetry Season films, has there been so very little actual poetry - so few poems read from beginning to end?
(And one of the very best bits of the season, I think, is the trailer when Phil Jupitus does recite a whole poem. In fact it's a very imaginative piece. I'd like to see more like that. I'd like to see lots of poets reading their poems.)
And finally - 4 - I'm fed up that everyone you ever hear talking on the BBC seems continually surprised that children enjoy poetry. They love it.
What do you think?