CBBC (short for Children's BBC or initialed for Children's British Broadcasting Corporation) is a British children's television brand owned by the BBC and primarily aimed for children aged between 6 and 12. BBC programming aimed at under six-year-old children is broadcast on the CBeebies channel. CBBC broadcasts from 7 am to 9 pm on CBBC Channel.
|Launched||9 September 1985|
|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
|Broadcast area||United Kingdom|
|Headquarters||BBC Television Centre|
Studio HQ5, dock10, MediaCityUK
|Formerly called||Children's Television|
Pre-Children's BBC (1970–1979) (pre launch names)
|Website||www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc (UK only)|
|Now TV (on demand only)||Watch On Demand (UK only)|
|TVPlayer||Watch live (UK only)|
The CBBC brand was used for the broadcast of children's programmes on BBC One on weekday afternoons and on BBC Two mornings until these strands were phased out in 2012 and 2013 respectively, as part of the BBC's "Delivering Quality First" cost-cutting initiative. CBBC programmes were also broadcast in high definition alongside other BBC content on BBC HD, generally at afternoons on weekends, unless the channel was covering other events. This ended when BBC HD closed on 26 March 2013, but CBBC HD launched on 10 December 2013. CBBC programming returned to BBC Two on Saturday mornings in September 2017 when Saturday Mash-Up! launched, however this strand continues to use the regular BBC continuity announcers and not the CBBC presenters. BBC-produced children's programming, in native languages of Scotland and Wales, also airs on BBC Alba and S4C respectively.
The BBC has produced and broadcast television programmes for children since the 1930s. The first children-specific strand on BBC television was For the Children, first broadcast on what was then the single 'BBC Television Service' on Saturday 24 April 1937; it was only ten minutes long. It lasted for two years before being taken off air when the service closed due to the Second World War in September 1939.
Following the war, For the Children recommenced on Sunday 7 July 1946, with a twenty-minute slot every Sunday afternoon and the addition of programmes for pre-school children under the banner For The Very Young, and over the years they became an established feature of the early afternoons on the BBC's main channel BBC One.
In 1952, the "For the Children" / "For the Very Young" branding was dropped; older children's programmes (such as Blue Peter, which debuted in 1958) would now be introduced by regular announcers whilst younger children's programming was broadcast under the Watch with Mother banner. The 1964 launch of BBC Two allowed additional room for children's programming with an edition of Play School technically being the first official programme. On 1 October 1980, Watch with Mother was replaced by See-Saw, which was moved to BBC2 in June 1987, before ending in 1990.
Meanwhile, weekday afternoon children's programmes on BBC One were introduced by the usually off-screen continuity announcer, though often specially-designed menus and captions would be used.
On 9 September 1985, this long-standing block of children's programming was rebranded as Children's BBC, and for the first time the children's block had dedicated idents and an in-vision presenter. Previously the BBC had broadcast children's programming using BBC1's team of regular duty announcers. The launch presenter for this block, and thus the first Children's BBC presenter of the current format, was Phillip Schofield.
During the 1990s, Children's BBC began to be referred to informally on-air as 'CBBC' (this occurred at around the same time that ITV's rival service Children's ITV began to be referred to as CITV in a similar manner). The official billing name of Children's BBC remained in place, however, until the BBC's network-wide branding refresh of October 1997, when the official on-air branding changed to CBBC. (CITV officially adopted their short name in their own branding refresh the following year).
Further changes to the schedule were rolled out during the 1990s and 2000s, including the introduction in the late 1980s of Sunday morning programmes on BBC Two, initially only during the Open University's winter break and then subsequently year-round; the introduction of a regular weekday morning 'breakfast show' format, also on BBC Two; the relocation of the daytime pre-school slot to BBC Two, later returning to BBC One at the start of the afternoon block.
In the 1990s, BBC Scotland introduced Children's BBC Scotland with a mixture of repeats and local programming such as Megamag and Up for It! which was broadcast in the school holidays on BBC One Scotland and then subsequently on BBC Two Scotland. During this time, BBC Scotland opt out of the national presenters to broadcast their local version of the weekday morning breakfast show presented by Grant Stott and Gail Porter.
From 1996 to 1999, CBBC programmes were shown on the channel Nickelodeon, as part of the CBBC on Nick programming block.
The launch of digital channel BBC Choice in 1998 saw the channel broadcasting children's programming in a Saturday afternoon slot which was subsequently replaced by the daily 6 am to 7 pm service CBBC on Choice, which aired archive pre-school programming and was itself the precursor of the current CBBC Channel and CBeebies services.
In 2005, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Tessa Jowell, was questioned in the House of Commons as to whether a public service broadcaster should really be broadcasting "lavatorial" humour. Ms Jowell responded that it was the government's job to develop a charter for the BBC; and then the BBC's job to determine standards of taste, decency and appropriateness.
In 2009, a report published by the BBC Trust found that scheduling changes which took place in February 2008, where programming ended at 17:15, had led to a decrease in viewers. This was especially noticeable for Blue Peter and Newsround, two of CBBC's flagship programmes; Blue Peter is now recording its lowest viewing numbers since it started in 1958, and Newsround now receives fewer than 100,000 viewers compared to 225,000 in 2007. The changes were made following the BBC's loss of the rights to soap opera Neighbours, which had for many years been broadcast between the end of CBBC and the start of the 6 pm news; when the decision was made to move daytime editions of The Weakest Link from BBC Two to One to fill the gap, CBBC had to move to an earlier slot as Weakest Link was longer than Neighbours was.
As part of the Delivering Quality First proposals submitted by the BBC in October 2011 and approved by the BBC Trust in May 2012, all children's programming on BBC One and Two would be moved permanently to the CBBC and CBeebies channels following the digital switchover. It was found that the majority of child viewers watched the programmes on these channels already and that only 7% of these children watched CBBC programmes on BBC One and Two only. Children's programming on BBC One ended on 21 December 2012 with the CBeebies' morning strand on BBC Two ending on 4 January 2013.
In November 2015, as a further aspect of the Delivering Quality First plan that resulted in the replacement of BBC Three with a branded digital presence, the BBC Trust approved a proposal for CBBC to extend its broadcast day by two hours, using bandwidth previously reserved for BBC Three. The two new hours are aimed towards an older youth audience.
On 14 March 2016, CBBC unveiled a new logo and on-air presentation, featuring an abstract, multicoloured wordmark enclosed in a box. CBBC controller Cheryl Taylor stated that the new brand was designed to be "fun and unpredictable" and would "appeal to both ends of our broad age spectrum". The logo was also meant to be suitable for use across digital platforms. On 11 April 2016, CBBC officially extended its broadcast day to be from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
On 4 July 2017, the BBC announced as part of its inaugural Annual Plan for 2017–18, that it would invest an additional £34 million into children's content for digital platforms over the next three years, in an effort to counter changes in viewing habits.
CBBC is operated by the BBC Children's division, part of BBC North. The division relocated to BBC Bridge House, MediaCityUK in Salford Quays in May 2011, after being based in the East Tower of Television Centre in London since 1964. Management of the division, and broadcast and production of presentation links for CBBC and CBeebies is now based there. In September 2011 the flagship magazine show Blue Peter began live broadcasts from its new home, with daily news programme Newsround joining it in November 2011.
The BBC Children's division also operates CBeebies. Overall strategic responsibility for all of the BBC's services for children rests with the Director of Children's, Joe Godwin (since late 2009), with commissioning decisions for the two channels being made by a Controller of each channel; Cheryl Taylor (since 2012) is Controller of CBBC, and Kay Benbow (since 2010) is Controller of CBeebies.
The original scheduling from the introduction of BBC1's daytime schedule in October 1986 consisted of a routine whereby BBC1 would broadcast a 30-minute block at 10:25am usually including the 'main' pre-school show (Play School, then from 1988 Playbus/Playdays) and children's birthday cards, with BBC2 showing a 15-minute programme or programmes at 13:20, before BBC1 ran the main afternoon block aimed at older children. Weekend programmes consisted chiefly of Saturday morning programmes on BBC1, such as Going Live! and from 1987, BBC2 broadcast children's programming when the Open University was not being shown. This block, which ran between October and January, was initially called Now on Two and was later rebranded to But First This on 2. Children's BBC would also broadcast on weekday mornings during school holidays on either BBC1 or 2, and for a few years from 1987 was also branded But First This. In 1995, children's programmes started to be shown on BBC Two at weekday breakfast. The block was called The Children's BBC Breakfast Show.
By September 2001, for the final phase as 'Children's BBC' ahead of the CBBC/CBeebies relaunch, the arrangement was that the CBBC Breakfast Show would air older children's shows from 07:00 to 08:10, followed by a block of younger kids' programmes from 08:10 to 10:50, often linked by one of the Breakfast Show presenters; a single preschooler show would air around 1:00pm, also on BBC Two, then the afternoon block on BBC One would begin at 3:25pm with 25 minutes of shows for the under-sevens, presented mostly in voiceover, followed from 3:50pm by the older kids' shows, linked in-vision. Following the move of The Weakest Link from BBC Two to BBC One, CBBC on BBC One was shifted to run 3:15–5:15 rather than 3:25–5:35 as before.
From February 2002, the morning block consisted of 60 minutes of CBeebies-branded content from 06:00, followed by ninety minutes of CBBC from 07:00, then further CBeebies content from 08:30; in the afternoon on BBC One there was a block of CBeebies content from 3:15pm followed by CBBC content for the remainder of the afternoon slot. Following the removal of BBC Schools' content from daytime BBC Two (into the BBC Learning Zone), the time allocated to CBeebies on BBC Two was extended.
CBBC produces a wide range of programme types, including drama, pre-school (CBeebies), news, entertainment, and factual programming. CBBC therefore is often seen as offering a similar mix of formats to the wider BBC, albeit tailored to suit a young audience. Byker Grove was one of the very few shows that was not aimed at young children, rather a more teenage/young adult audience as it dealt with some controversial themes.
The longest-running CBBC programme is the magazine show Blue Peter. Other current programmes include 4 O'Clock Club, Almost Never, The Dumping Ground, Got What It Takes?, Horrible Histories, Junior Bake Off, The Next Step, Odd Squad, Shaun the Sheep, Danger Mouse, So Awkward and more.
From its launch in 1985 until 1994, Children's BBC was presented from the regular continuity announcer's booth in the BBC1 network control area, which had a fixed camera so that the presenter could appear in vision; as it remained an operational continuity booth, the presenter would partly direct their own links by way of vision and sound mixers built into the studio desk.
The booth became known as 'the Broom Cupboard' due to its small size (the term was first used to refer to a smaller temporary booth, but was later retroactively applied to the main booth). The plain booth wall behind the presenter would be livened up with elements of set dressing, VT monitors and pictures sent in by viewers. Occasionally, when Children's BBC was going out on BBC2 rather than BBC1 due to events coverage, the presenter would be located in the BBC2 continuity booth, which was not set dressed for Children's BBC, for transmission purposes.
There were two presentation studios – larger than the Broom Cupboards but smaller than full programme studios – known as Pres A and Pres B. It was not initially thought economically viable to use these for daily Children's BBC links, hence the use of the Broom Cupboard. However, by 1987 these studios were being used for the mid-morning 'birthday card' slots and weekend and holiday morning strands such as But First This. The main afternoon strand remained in the Broom Cupboard.
In 1994, Pres A was refurbished and became the regular home for all Children's BBC presentation including the weekday afternoon block; the presenters no longer had to operate the broadcast equipment, although a broom cupboard-style area in the corner of Pres A containing its own mixer was used for the birthday slot and weekend mornings to save on crew, and the larger set allowed for more dynamic presentation, with more presenters, characters, features, games and guests. A new 3D version of the then logo of Children's BBC was commissioned to mark the move.
In 1997, Children's BBC moved again when 'Pres A' was decommissioned and CBBC moved to the purpose-built Studio TC9, adjacent to the Blue Peter garden at BBC Television Centre. The first broadcasts from Studio 9 were in June 1997; this was followed in October by the launch of the new-look CBBC branding. TC9 continued to be the regular home of CBBC broadcasts on BBC One and Two until 2005 and was also used to record CBBC on Choice links between 2000 and 2002.
In Autumn 2004, the studio arrangements for CBBC were changed again. The CBBC Channel moved from TC2 to TC9, with BBC One / Two links and the UK Top 40 show moving to TC10 located on the sixth floor of TV Centre. BBC One and Two links then moved back into TC9 alongside CBBC Channel in March 2006 as the number of studios available to CBBC was reduced.
In December 2006, there was a further reduction in CBBC facilities. A chroma key set was assembled in TC12, becoming the home of all CBBC links on BBC One, BBC Two and CBBC Channel until September 2007. There was also a reduction in the team of on air presenters. The last live CBBC links from TC9 were broadcast on Friday 1 December 2006; the studio was then mothballed but has since been brought back into use for individual programmes including TMi and SMart.
On 3 September 2007, the CSO studio was dropped in a relaunch which saw a small studio set built in TC12. As part of the relaunch, new logos, presenters and idents were introduced. The design of the new 'office' set has been compared to the original 'broom cupboard', though unlike the 'broom cupboard' the 'office' is not a functioning continuity suite. CBBC presentation originated from Studio HQ5 at Dock10, MediaCityUK in Salford Quays for the first time on Monday 5 September 2011 as part of the relocation of the BBC's Children's department (incorporating both CBBC and CBeebies).
In 2015, the CBBC Office set received a new futuristic look and this time receiving much darker colours and tones, they scrapped the light and dark greens colours and now it replaces them with purple and dark grey colours. Also a new 'up next' screen is placed behind the presenter so viewers know what programme is coming up next. A new post chute has also been installed in the new set where viewers send post to get read out live on air, and a new desk much larger from the previous one with multi-coloured blocks on the face of the desk.
In 2016, the CBBC Office became the CBBC HQ along with the rebrand incorporating a mostly orange and blue colour scheme. The HQ also has picture frames were bare at the first day of the new look where Hacker was seen wearing a bow tie.
These have appeared either in CBBC continuity or programmes.
|Name||Year||Notable TV programmes|
|Basil Brush||1963–2010||The Basil Brush Show & Basil's Swap Shop|
|Gordon the Gopher||1985–1993||The Broom Cupboard, Going Live! & It Started With Swap Shop|
|Edd the Duck||1988–1994||The Broom Cupboard|
|Ratz||1993–1994||Live & Kicking|
|Mr. Sage & Mr. Onion The Leprechauns||1993–2001||Live & Kicking|
|Otis the Aardvark||1994–1999||CBBC Studio & Saturday Aardvark|
|Emlyn the Gremlyn||1999–2002||CBBC Studio|
|Tiny and Mr Duk||2001–2004||The Saturday Show & Tiny and Mr Duk's Huge Show|
|The Neighbour's Cat||2002–2006||Dick & Dom in da Bungalow|
|Nev the Bear||2002–2010, 2012||Smile, Bear Behaving Badly & Hacker Time|
|Oucho T. Cactus||2007–2010||CBBC Office, Ed and Oucho's Excellent Inventions & Transmission Impossible with Ed and Oucho|
|Hacker T. Dog||2009–present||CBBC Office/HQ, Hacker Time & Scoop, & Saturday Mash-Up!|
|Rattus Rattus||2009–present||Horrible Histories & Horrible Histories: Gory Games|
|Dodge T. Dog||2010–2016||CBBC Office/HQ & Hacker Time|
|Bl1nk Bot 3||2016||CBBC HQ|
Logos and idents
CBBC Extra, launched in 2005 was a free interactive television service from CBBC provided by BBC Red Button which was available on all digital platforms in the United Kingdom. It was accessible from the CBBC Channel by pressing red and then selecting CBBC Extra. It could also be accessed from any other BBC channel by pressing red and going to page number 570. The service differed across digital platforms, for example digital satellite (i.e.: Sky) viewers could access a video loop, however its availability on digital terrestrial (Freeview) was dependent upon BBC Red Button not showing other interactive services, such as major sports events coverage. This was dropped from the Red Button service in April 2016.
CBBC/CBeebies UK VHS releases
Numerous CBBC/CBeebies programmes have been released on VHS.
|VHS Title||Cat. No.
|BBC Children's Favourites||BBCV 9000||5 October 1981||Ivor the Engine- a Home Fit for Birds, Bagpuss and the Ballet Shoe, Ivor the Engine meets Nell the Old Sheepdog, The Clangers and a Tablecloth, Ivor the Engine- A Strange Bubble Contraption, Ivor the Engine and the Foxes of Mrs Porty, The Clangers and the Seed|
|Beebtots||BBCV 9004||2 November 1981||Ivor the Engine: Snowdrifts (part 1), Noggin the Nog and the Pie, Ivor the Engine: Snowdrifts (part 2), Bagpuss and the Small Soft Hamish, The Clangers and A Lonely Bag|
In 1985, Marks & Spencer released a compilation video (as part of the St Michael Video Library Range) called Cartoon Favourites as A BBC Video Presentation with five characters and six episodes that were Pigeon Street (Pigeon Post), Ivor the Engine (Time Off), The Family Ness (Angus and Elspeth Meet the Loch Ness Monster) Bagpuss (The Mouse Mill), Bertha (The Mouse in the Works) and The Family-Ness (You'll Never Find a Nessie in the Zoo).
From 2 November 1992 to 6 October 1997, numerous CBBC preschool programmes of the 1980s & 1990s which is now on behalf of CBeebies have been released on compilation videos by the BBC.
|VHS title||Release date||Episodes|
|4 Fun Favourites (BBCV 4883)||2 November 1992||Funnybones: Dinosaurs, Fireman Sam: Dily's Forgetful Day, Pingu Plays Fish Tennis,|
Noddy and the Pouring Rain
|BBC Television Children's Favourites (BBCV 5118)||1 November 1993||Noddy and the Broken Bicycle, Pingu and Pinga at Home, Funnybones: The Pet Shop, |
Postman Pat's Finding Day, Spider: Just a Spider, Joshua Jones- Haywire,
Tales of the Tooth Fairies: the Stolen Present, Fireman Sam: Bentley the Robot
Pingu Goes Fishing, Charlie Chalk – Arnold's Night Out.
|BBC Children's Collection (BBCV 5475)||19 September 1994||Little Polar Bear- Ice Floe, Pingu- Ice Hockey, Noddy and the Pouring Rain, Barney's TV Act, Postman Pat's Thirsty Day, Fireman Sam: Halloween|
|BBC Children's Christmas Cracker (BBCV 5399)||7 November 1994||Noddy and Father Christmas, Pingu: Skiing, Barney's Christmas Surprise, Pingu: Sledging, The Little Polar Bear: Snowstorm, Fireman Sam: Snow Business.|
|The Greatest BBC Children's Video Ever! (BBCV 5653)||4 September 1995||Fireman Sam: Spot Of Bother, Pingu's New Kite, Spider In The Bath, William The Conkeror, The Clangers: Fishing, Nursery Rhyme Time, Noddy And The Special Key, Funnybones: Bumps In The Night, Hairy Jeremy: Ice To See You, The Little Polar Bear: The Egg, The Animals Of Farthing Wood: The Adventures Of Fox|
|BBC Children's Christmas Cracker (1995 Re-Release) (BBCV 5399)||6 November 1995||Noddy and Father Christmas, Pingu: Skiing, Barney's Christmas Surprise, Pingu: Sledging, The Little Polar Bear: Snowstorm, Fireman Sam: Snow Business.|
|Children's Sensational Summer Fun (BBCV 5858)||3 June 1996||Fireman Sam: Deep Trouble For Sam, William's Wish Wellingtons: Sweet William, Pingu At The Funfair, Monty Gets The Blame, Adventures Of The Garden Fairies: A Garden In Summer, Noddy Cheers Up Big Ears, Oakie Doke And The Wishing Well, Spider!: Classroom Distractions|
|BBC Children In Need – Party for Pudsey (BBCV 6351)||6 October 1997||Postman Pat's Birthday, Fireman Sam: Halloween, Pingu's Birthday, Oakie Doke and the Party, Monty's Magic Trick, Noddy Cheers Up Big Ears, Dinobabies: Ebegeezer Scrimp.|
The CBBC website provides a wide range of activities for children aged 6–12, such as games, videos, puzzles, print and makes, including now defunct pre-moderated message boards, now replaced with comment threads below videos, games and articles. It also contains a TV guide and an area where kids can apply to be on a show. It provides content for all brands including Tracy Beaker, Sam & Mark's Big Friday Wind-Up, Horrible Histories, Stacey Dooley's Show Me What You're Made Of, Shaun the Sheep, Blue Peter, Newsround, Danger Mouse, The Dumping Ground, Wolfblood, Eve, Dick & Dom, Hetty Feather, Hank Zipzer, The Sarah Jane Adventures and DIXI. It also gives kids the chance to view the CBBC iPlayer to replay or catch up their favourite CBBC programmes for up to 29 days.
- "CBBC Studio". Archived from the original on 8 September 2016.
- "BBC News – Children's shows to leave BBC One". BBC News Online. 16 May 2012. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
- Parliament debate, question by Peter Luff MP
- "BBC 'must stop kids' TV decline'". BBC News Online. 10 February 2009. Retrieved 10 February 2009.
- Sabbagh, Dan (10 February 2009). "Blue Peter at 50-year low after being sidelined by The Weakest Link". London: The Times. Retrieved 10 February 2009.
- Shaw, Vicky (10 February 2009). "Changes hit BBC children's viewing figures". London: The Independent. Retrieved 10 February 2009.
- "Delivering Quality First Final Conclusions" (PDF). BBC Trust. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
- "Children's programming comes to an end on BBC One". BBC News (BBC). 21 December 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
- "BBC Trust rejects parents' concerns over keeping CBBC on air until 9pm". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
- "BBC Trust publishes final decision on proposals for BBC Three, CBBC, iPlayer, BBC One+1". BBC. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
- "New CBBC logo 'doesn't scream children's TV', admits controller". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
- "CBBC hours to extend from April 11". Licensing Source. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
- "BBC making £34m investment in children's services". BBC News. 4 July 2017. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
- Ruddick, Graham (4 July 2017). "BBC promises a wider mix than rivals as it seeks to reinvent itself". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
- "Joe Godwin, Director, Children's". BBC. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- "Revamped Blue Peter moves north". BBC News. 27 September 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- Kavanagh, Damian (16 March 2010). "Serious documentary for children on CBBC". BBC TV Blog. BBC. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- "Commissioning – CBeebies". BBC. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- "CBBC Autumn 2007". BBC. Retrieved 14 August 2007.
- "BBC announces rebrand and hours extension for CBBC". The TV Room Plus. 18 July 2007. Archived from the original on 16 August 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2007.
- "CBBC HQ – You welcomed Bl1nk to CBBC HQ".
- "CBBC- CBBC extra". CBBC. 21 May 2007. Archived from the original on 22 February 2007. Retrieved 21 May 2007.