People In The Playground Revisited

Children's Laureate Michael Rosen explores life in the playground today.

Episodes

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0120080317

Fifty years ago, Iona and Peter Opie began their ground-breaking research on the games and songs, jokes and riddles, fights and friendships which fill the break-time of children up and down the country.

Even in the 1950s, there were mounting anxieties about the lives of children and the effects of consumerism and the media.

These anxieties have now grown to become one of the greatest concerns of modern British life.

Studio guests are folklorist Georgina Boyes, children's language expert Dan Jones and child psychotherapist Biddy Youell.

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He visits St Paul's Primary in the East End of London for the first of three audio snapshots.

He asks whether children still have a common language of play, whether their diverse backgrounds are a help or a hindrance and how they integrate the media into their play.

Are these children as childlike as he remembers himself to have been back in the 1950s?

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He visits Liss Junior in Hampshire, the school where Iona Opie conducted much of her research, for the second of three audio snapshots.

He examines the influence of TV and computer games on today's playground culture.

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He visits Chillingham Road Primary in Newcastle upon Tyne for his third audio snapshot of playground life.

Iona Opie, now in her eighties, has begun to believe that the singing games and spoken lore of schoolchildren is now beginning to die out in the south but that it remains strong in the North of England and Scotland.

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Michael and a panel of experts debate whether the private culture of children at play today is in a healthy state.

Guests are folklorist Georgina Boyes, children's language expert Dan Jones and child psychotherapist Biddy Youell.