The ex-Play School star, appointed a life peer in 2010, voiced her fears a string of leading TV programmes could be harmed by Britain’s departure from the EU.
Speaking in a House of Lords debate on the impact of Brexit on the UK’s creative industries, Baroness Benjamin hit back at the Government’s vow to end Brussels' free movement rules and impose restrictions on EU immigration.
She described EU free movement as “vitally important” to the production of children’s and animated TV shows.
Urging the Prime Minister to put children’s entertainment “at the heart of this Government's negotiation and post-Brexit planning”, the former actress hailed the “major contribution” of UK-produced programmes to Britain’s economy.
She said the sector had been “selling the UK brand with global successes such as Peppa Pig, Art Attack, Horrible Histories and many more”.
Warning of the impact of curtailing EU immigration, Baroness Benjamin added: “Childrens' and animation producers have long been used to working both in Europe and with European partners and beyond. And both are also important export markets for the UK.
“A fundamentally important aspect that needs to be considered is the issue of freedom of movement.
“This is vitally important for the sector in the long-term as it allows short-term opportunities for creators to work on productions around Europe.
“Around six per cent of jobs in the creative industries are filled by European migrants. Many in the animation sector where skill gaps are often identified and filled with European workers.”
PARLIAMENT.TV • YOUTUBE
Floella Benjamin warned about the risk of Brexit to children's TV shows such as Peppa Pig
Our children didn't have a vote in the referendum, nor did they have a voice in any of the Brexit negotiations
Baroness Benjamin insisted “additional burdens” on the industry could “harm the sector and content for the consumer and also increase costs for businesses”.
She said: “The production sector in the UK has developed into a world-class sector precisely because it has been open to talent from both Europe and around the world.
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“Importantly this allows UK staff to learn and develop their skills with the best of global talent.”
The peer demanded the Government continue to help fund the European Commission’s ‘Creative Europe’ scheme, which Baroness Benjamin said had injected £40million worth of “invaluable funding” into UK productions within two years.
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She warned anything putting at risk the UK’s creative sector could be “incredibly detrimental to our country's soft power”.
Baroness Benjamin added: “Our children didn't have a vote in the referendum, nor did they have a voice in any of the Brexit negotiations but creative content likely to be produced for them to influence their imagination, thinking, their emotional and inspirational well-being are all at stake here.
“This is why we must not let them down when we decide on plans for their future viewing as we move forward.
“Remember childhood lasts a lifetime and children deserve high-quality content that will stay with them for ever and ever.”
Award-winning animation Peppa Pig has been aired in 180 countries across the world since its first broadcast in 2006.
The programme’s success has generated a string of books, huge-grossing film and even a theme park.