Fellowes: 'TV execs obsessed with youth'

Saturday, March 13 2010, 16:27 GMT

By Catriona Wightman,

Julian Fellowes has claimed that television executives are obsessed with catering for young people.

The screenwriter, who penned The Young Victoria, explained that television is more suitable for older people.

According to the Daily Mail, he said: "One of the agreeable things about TV is that it is for an older, more adult audience. You often hear talk about trying to get a young audience but television is not really for a young audience.

"They have a different way of spending their time. Very few in their teens and twenties will watch TV in the traditional way. I can't tell you the number of discussions I've had about this mythical youth audience. It fascinates me that very few TV executives seem to feel empowered to embrace the older audience."

Fellowes added: "The age thing should not be seen as a problem for television. We should not lose sight of the older audience. The age of TV is 30 until death."

ITV's director of drama Laura Mackie said: "ITV aims to make drama that appeals to a young audience and Julian is right in saying that drama viewers tend to skew older. That said, a number of our series including Wild At Heart and Married, Single, Other do have appeal to the young and we always aim for as diverse an audience as possible."

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the BBC insisted that the corporation does not focus on the target age group when commissioning programmes.

The representative explained: "The average age of our drama audience is 55 and while it is vital that we continue to cater for them - and equally our younger viewers - the defining quality is always how good a script is."