You are here

Children's Committee

The Children's Committee is not only involved in the content and presentation of the annual British Academy Children's Film and Television Awards (considering categories, chairing juries, providing key editorial advice) but is increasingly involved in developing membership events throughout the year to raise the profile of children's film and television and to highlight the Academy's commitment to the industry.

The Children's committee consists of three elected representatives of each of the three sector committees (Film, Television and Games). The rest of the committee is co-opted.


Helen Blakeman BWHelen Blakeman - Chair of the Children's Committee

Helen Blakeman is a BAFTA and International Emmy Award winning writer, both of which she received for her TV screenplay adaptation of ‘Dustbin Baby’ (BBC/Kindle Entertainment) starring Juliet Stevenson, David Haig and Dakota Blue Richards. She also wrote the much-acclaimed and controversial film ‘Pleasureland’ for Kudos/Channel 4 (BAFTA, RTS nomination) and has scripted numerous episodes of teen soap ‘Hollyoaks’ (Lime Pictures/C4).

For theatre, she has written ‘Caravan’ (Bush Theatre, London, directed by Gemma Bodinetz). For ‘Caravan’, Helen won the George Devine Award and was nominated for Lloyds Playwright of the Year Award. She has also written ‘Normal’ for the Bush (Pearson Playwright Award) and ‘The Morris’ for the Liverpool Everyman.

Helen is currently creating a long-running series for CBBC and a movie adaptation of a children’s classic. She is also currently writing a play for the Royal Court Theatre, London.

Elected Members

Alexandra Ferguson Derbyshire - Film Committee Representative
biography to follow

Beryl Richards - Television Committee representative
biography to follow

Lee SchunemanLee Schuneman - Games Committee representative
Studio Head, Microsoft – Lift London

Lift London, based in Soho, is home to a growing collective of world-class artists, designers and creative technologists and a global centre of excellence in developing the future of how people will interact with Microsoft’s services and devices including HoloLens, Surface, Web, Mobile & Cloud.

The studio is currently leading several key new initiatives for Microsoft’s future helping shape the next generation of Windows experiences. Embracing agile development techniques and the continuous delivery and improvement to their products though data, feedback and creative risk.

Lee is also a Board member at London's leading festival of creativity, Soho Create and a Committee Member at BAFTA focused on New Talent Initiatives in particular Breakthrough Brits. He's recently be named as one Creative Review's, Creative Leaders 50 a new initiative to celebrate, educate and inspire those who are leading creative businesses, organisations and teams.

With almost twenty years leadership experience, 50 Million games sold and two BAFTA's, Lee operates at the cutting edge of design, technology & innovation to deliver on his mission: to be deliberate, distinctive and daring.

Co-opted Members

Rosie Allimonos
Head of Top Creators, YouTube

Oliver HyattOliver Hyatt
Managing Director, Blue-Zoo

Oli Hyatt has been Creative Director at Blue-Zoo for 13 years, helping it thrive through difficult times for the animation industry. His most recent show Olive the Ostrich is a huge hit on Nick Jr, and has been sold right around the world. He is the Director of Alphablocks Limited; the company behind Cbeebies Phonics show Alphablocks, as well as being the chair of AnimationUK. He has been Broadcast’s ‘Young Animator of the Year’, Guardian’s ‘Young Businessman of the Year’ and has received two BAFTA nominations for Those Scurvy Rascals and Stitch Up Showdown.

Blue-Zoo also won ‘BAFTA Production Company of the year’ 2012.

David LevineAlison Bakunowich

SVP General Manager of Nickelodeon UK & Ireland

Alison Bakunowich is SVP General Manager of Nickelodeon UK & Ireland. Reporting directly to the Board of Nickelodeon, Alison is responsible for the Nickelodeon business within the UK and Ireland. Driving ratings and revenues across the Nickelodeon brands including seven television channels, the network’s multiplatform and consumer products offering, Alison oversees the linear planning, scheduling and media planning of the Nickelodeon UK network. Alison works with the International Programming team on local programme acquisitions and commissions and supervises programme commissions and acquisitions for Channel 5’s popular Milkshake strand. Alison joined Nickelodeon UK & Ireland in 2011 as Vice President, Creative, Marketing and Communications.

Previous to her tenure at Nickelodeon UK and Ireland, Bakunowich served as Marketing and Commercial Partnerships Director for Nickelodeon Australia/New Zealand. Prior to Nickelodeon, she worked at Australia’s John Fairfax Publications. During her seven years with the company she was responsible for the strategic development and brand management of The Sydney Morning Herald, Good Weekend and the(sydney)magazine. Bakunowich is a recipient of the Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers' Association, Newspaper Marketer of the Year Award and in 2007 was part of the committee that founded Earth Hour.

Sharna JacksonSharna Jackson

Sharna Jackson is a Children’s Content Creator and Curator. She's currently leading on Creative Engagement for Lost My Name - the impossibly personalised children's book company - and is curating the CMC Playground show at Site Gallery, Sheffield.
Sharna's previous roles include Director of Creative, Content and Interactive at Hopster, a TV and Learning app for 2-6 year olds and Editor: Tate Kids, which won Webbys, Lovies and Children’s BAFTAs. She is a published writer with two art activity book released in November 2014 and has written for talent including LeVar Burton of Reading Rainbow and Star Trek. Through her consultancy Seahorse, she has worked with museums, galleries, SVOD platforms and publishers across the world.
Sharna is on the board of Upswing, a contemporary circus company and sits on the Children's Media Conference Advisory Committee. She was a governor at a primary school in South East London for many years. She runs the popular Games Based Learning Twitter and Linked-In groups. Sharna has as a PgDip in Media Culture and Communication from the Institute of Education, University of London.

David LevineDavid Levine

Disney Channels UK & Ireland at The Walt Disney Company

David Levine is Vice President, Programming, Production and Strategic Development, Disney Channels EMEA, and General Manager, Disney Channels UK & Ireland. As Vice President, he is responsible for all strategic and operational aspects of Programming across Disney Channels EMEA, including the development of the linear and multi-platform programming strategy. David is responsible for the direction of original production and overseeing the development and production slates of originally produced content, acquisitions and co-productions. He has developed and commissioned Emmy-nominated Evermoor, First Class Chefs, The Evermoor Chronicles, and The Lodge.

As General Manager of Disney Channels UK & Ireland, David leads a team that utilizes these key platforms to drive familiarity and awareness for the Disney brand and content, through key partnerships with Sky Broadcasting, Virgin Media and more.

David joined Disney in March 2004, serving multiple roles in US Programming, Worldwide Programming and Channel GM. Prior to Disney, David worked for Ragdoll USA as Vice President Business Affairs and Development.

Sarah MullerSarah Muller

Sarah Muller is Head of Children’s at Channel 5 in the UK. Responsible for the commissioning and acquisition of children’s programming for Channel 5’s digital and linear platforms, Sarah oversees the channel’s popular programming strand, Milkshake!

Previously, she was Creative Director - Scripted, Animation and Co-Productions for CBBC Productions, and was, prior to that, Head of CBBC Acquisitions, Animation and Drama Development for CBBC.

Passionate about all Kids’ content, her commissioned projects include Danger Mouse, Strange Hill High, The Worst Witch, Harriet’s Army, Wolfblood, The Dumping Ground, Tracy Beaker Returns, Dr Who – Dreamland, Muddle Earth and Just William.

Prior to joining BBC Children’s, she was Managing Director/Executive Producer of UK Prod Co - Elephant Productions whose credits include the multi-award winning Grizzly Tales For Gruesome Kids (CITV), New Willo The Wisp (Disney) and the BAFTA-winning drama series The Revenge Files of Alastair Fury (BBC1).

Faraz OsmanFaraz Osman

Faraz is the MD of Lemonade Money, a collection of award winning, expert video producers and creatives, crafting films in music, fashion, art and youth culture, for broadcasters, brands and online channels in a confident, celebratory and inclusive way. Clients include Beats, Red Bull, Channel 4, Radio 1, Comedy Central and vevo.

Previous to taking the helm at Lemonade Money, Faraz was the Editor of Education at Channel 4.

Dedicated to exploring what's next in Television and online video, Faraz has over fifteen years of experience in TV, online and media production, working across International Emmy, BAFTA, BIMA and Broadcast award winning content for broadcasters and brands. His work includes commissioning for national broadcasters, development of primetime TV and online brands, delivery of innovative digital projects online and on mobile and relationship management across a range of stakeholders including corporate, state and charity sectors.

Sarah MullerSimon Spencer

Simon is currently working as a Consultant Executive Producer for Sony Music Entertainment.

Established for over 17 years as a creative producer on a wide variety of preschool programmes, Simon has produced many international preschool series including: “Zack & Quack” a CG animated series for Nickelodeon and the live action / animation hybrid “Waybuloo” first shown on Cbeebies. His work also includes the regeneration of “Thomas and Friends” in the UK that reintroduced the British favorite to PBS in America.

In the early 1980’s Simon joined the BBC as a floor assistant, working his way up the production ladder to direct on a wide variety of entertainment programmes, including “In Sickness & In Health”, “Wogan” and “Rory Bremner”. He left the BBC in 1995 and after a period of continuing to work as a freelance director on different comedy and music series – including the RTS award-winning “Gayle’s World” – he segued into children’s television, directing and producing for both “The Walt Disney Company” and “The Jim Henson Company”.

Simon is very proud that his work in pre-school television has earned him three BAFTA nominations as a director and as a producer. As he says: “Children’s television is a rich creative playground where I remain extremely happy to play along”.