British Animation
Paperback Original

British Animation

The Channel 4 Factor
Clare Kitson
Foreword by Peter Lord
Distribution: North America
Format: paper 248 pages, 100 color illus., 100 b&w illus.
8.5 x 9
ISBN: 978-0-253-22096-7
Bookmark and Share
 $29.95  $17.97 

 Add to Wish List 
Buy from Amazon


Clare Kitson celebrates one of the most creative sources of broadcast animation—Britain's pioneering Channel 4, winner of three Academy Awards for animation. In the 1980s and 1990s, Channel 4 flourished as a world champion of televised animation. The channel regularly showcased both British and international works, set up the Animate initiative with the Arts Council of England, and backed the animator-in-residence program hosted by the British Film Institute's Museum of the Moving Image. It commissioned innovative, challenging, left-of-center short films by artists such as the Brothers Quay and Ruth Lingford. Kitson, who served as Channel 4's commissioning editor from 1989 until 1999, helped foster the channel's growing reputation as a broadcasting powerhouse. In British Animation she takes a fond look back at this exceptional era.

Author Bio

Clare Kitson is a former programmer for the National Film Theatre and for Channel 4 in London. She is author of Yuri Norstein and Tale of Tales: An Animator's Journey (2005; distributed by IUP). She lives in London, England.


"The book . . . offer[s] plenty of insider details because it's written by Clare Kitson, who was the commissioning editor at Channel 4 from 1989 until 1999. Channel 4 is one of the bright spots in TV animation history . . ." —Amid Amidi, Cartoon Brew

"A highly readable and informative insider account . . . This book could only have been written by this writer." —Ruth Lingford, Harvard University

"Clare Kitson has written a characteristically engaging,pertinently-detailed and wrily-amusing study of the heydays of animated film in Britain, in the 1980s and 1990s as championed by the ground-breaking new national, commercial television Channel 4 . . . .

The book should appeal to anyone at all drawn to animation, as a casual spectator, serious student,or professional practitioner." —Phillip Bergson's blog,
Fest , 1/16/09

"Kitson . . . has written a humane and intimate history of the ups and downs of animation at the Channel, leavening it with just the right amount of dry wit, personal insight and anecdote." — , June 25, 2009

"Clare Kitson, a former programmer for the National Film Theater and for Channel 4 in London, is our brilliant guide in this must-read look at some of the influential projects that have been produced in the [UK]." —Ramin Zahed ,

"Beautifully produced . . . intelligent . . . captivating." —
Sight & Sound , August 2009

"For fans of animation, certainly students, and for an account of the conflict between commercial and artistic concerns, this book is definitely worth a look. . ." —

"The present book lists most of C4's animated commissions, heavily buttressed with snippets of information and anecdotage and more lightly gilded with critical commentary, in roughly chronological order. Since the author was commissioning editor at the station for a decade, a certain celebratory note in respect of that perod is to be expected—and a certain dying fall as we come up to date unsurprising." —, July 31, 2009

Customer Reviews

There are currently no reviews
Write a review on this title.

Table of Contents


1. Animation and TV
2. Before C4
3. The new channel
4. Uncharted territory
5. Animation gains a foothold
6. Four-Mations
7. Missionary zeal…
8. … And pragmatism

Some key works 1982 to 2006:
The Snowman
The Victor
When the Wind Blows
Street of Crocodiles
The Black Dog
Girls Night Out
Feet of Song
Lip Synch: War Story
Lip Synch:Creature Comforts
Deadtime Stories for Big Folk: Deadsy and Door
Secret Joy of Falling Angels
A Is for Autism
Screen Play
The Mill
Bob's Birthday
The Sound of Music
The Village
Crapston Villas
Many Happy Returns
Pond Life
Death and the Mother
The Man with the Beautiful Eyes
Home Road Movies
City Paradise
Peter and the Wolf

9. Changing contexts
10. Animation on the slide
11. Young blood
12. A future?