CBeebies is a BBC television network for programming aimed at encouraging "learning through play in a consistently safe environment for children aged 6 or under",[8] and providing "high quality, mostly UK-produced programmes".[9]

The name is used to brand the free-to-air domestic British channel, and is used for international variants supported by advertising, subscription or both. The channel was first launched on 11 February 2002.

The channel has won a number of awards. At the BAFTA Children's Awards, it won awards every year between 2002 and 2016 inclusive, including "Best Pre-school Live Action Series" in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2008. It has also won "Best Schools Programme – 0–6 years" awards (or equivalent) from the Royal Television Society between 2002 and 2008. CBeebies is the most-watched children's channel in the UK and is the 8th most watched channel overall. CBeebies HD, an HD simulcast of the channel, officially launched on 10 December 2013.

History

The CBeebies channel launched on 11 February 2002.[10] The domestic CBeebies channel broadcasts from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 pm each day[11]– a result of the channel sharing bandwidth with the channel BBC Four on the Freeview platform. The station was joined in March 2007[12] by an audio counterpart, CBeebies Radio, which broadcast for three hours each day on the radio station BBC Radio 7, however since the station was rebranded as BBC Radio 4 Extra in April 2011, this obligation has ceased. A magazine called CBeebies Weekly (now called CBeebies Magazine) was first published in 2006.

Since 27 March 2013, CBeebies has been carried by the British Forces Broadcasting Service, sharing a channel with BFBS Extra.[37]

The international CBeebies channel is advert-free and wholly owned by BBC Worldwide. The first international launch for the CBeebies channel was in India in May 2007, although the channel was withdrawn at the end of November 2012 due to "commercial considerations".[15]

The channel is available in the Republic of Ireland, Asia, Poland, Romania, MENA, Africa, Australia, and the United States (in Spanish only). In March 2011, the on demand version of the network was launched in the US and is available on Xfinity.

On 13 May 2011, CBeebies was launched as a program block on the channel BBC Kids in Canada, available on weekdays between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. It is serving a similar schedule to the main channel.

On 13 April 2017, the service ceased its transmissions to Latin America along with BBC Earth and BBC Entertainment.

Management

In the UK, CBeebies is operated by the BBC Children's division and part of BBC North. The division is also responsible for CBBC and overall strategic responsibility for all of the BBC's domestic services for children rests with the Director of Children's, Alice Webb (since 2015).[5] The direction of the domestic CBeebies channel itself rests with Kay Benbow, the current Controller of the channel and responsible for commissioning all CBeebies content across BBC television, online, interactive TV, and radio.[7] She took over from the first controller Michael Carrington in 2010.[7] In 2017 it was announced that the CBeebies controller post will close in December 2017 and all content for the CBeebies brand would be commissioned by a new, pan BBC Children's role entitled Head of Content.[7]

Internationally, CBeebies is owned by BBC Worldwide, who operate the brand.

Programmes

CBeebies offers a mix of mostly UK-produced entertainment and educational output designed to encourage learning through play. These goals are realised through a range of programmes about simple science, natural history, music and movement, storytelling, make up and make do, puzzle programmes and animation.[7] The channel's schedule is deliberately the same every weekday, with a different schedule at weekends, so that children can know what is on instinctively. The schedule also includes signed programmes, shown in the UK between 14:00 and 17:00 on weekends.

The international channels also show many programmes broadcast on the UK channel, however some include programmes unique to that service or are available through other networks in the UK (for example, Humf, which airs on Nick Jr. in the UK). Inversely however, shows that air on CBeebies in the UK may air on networks other than CBeebies worldwide (for example, Chuggington airs on Disney Junior Asia instead of CBeebies in the Asian region and on Treehouse TV instead of BBC Kids in Canada). Also, the international CBeebies airs 24 hours a day, unlike the UK variant. And, Mama Mirabelle's Home Movies aired on Minimini+ in Poland instead of the Polish Variant of Cbeebies.

Most viewed programmes

The following is a list of the ten most watched shows on CBeebies, based on Live +7 data supplied by the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board.[2]

RankShowEpisodeDateViewers
1CBeebies Christmas PantoStrictly Cinderella16 December 20111,158,000
2ClangersThe Lost Notes15 June 2015967,000
3CBeebies Christmas PantoPeter Pan20 December 2014954,000
4CBeebies Christmas PantoPeter Pan19 December 2014944,000
5CBeebies Christmas PantoAlice in Wonderland18 December 2015929,000
6The OctonautsA Very Vegimals Christmas17 December 2013906,000
7Justin's HouseAll Wrapped Up15 December 2011800,000
8CBeebies Christmas PantoAladdin17 December 2010785,000
9CBeebies Christmas PantoJack and the Beanstalk21 December 2012782,000
10Justin's HouseRobert's Inventions16 October 2011744,000

Presentation

The links between programmes on CBeebies are primarily achieved through the use of in-vision continuity, using presenters to interact with the children. In the UK, links are pre-recorded rather than broadcast live, as is the case on sister channel CBBC. They were originally pre recorded from studio TC0 at BBC Television Centre in London, however moved out in 2008 to Teddington Studios, and returned briefly in 2010. From September 2011, the links have been based at the BBC's Northern base at MediaCityUK in Salford, Greater Manchester, following the move of the BBC Children's department there. International variants feature broadcast links produced either in the corresponding country, or from a central base.

Logo and idents

Presenters

As well as hosting some of the shows, a number of presenters fill the gaps between the CBeebies shows, performing little sketches, showing viewers' birthday cards, and introducing the shows. Many of the presenters used to have histories as characters on other services or on children's programmes.

In the UK, presenters seen on the channel and the stranded service are:

  • Andy Day (2007–present)
  • Katy Ashworth (2011-present)
  • Cat Sandion (2013–present)
  • Rebecca Keatley (2014–present)
  • Ben Cajee (2015–present)
  • Ryan Russell (2017-present)

Former presenters:

The longest serving member is Sloane who introduced the programmes, along with most of the other presenters, for just over a decade (11 years) and still is a presenter on the African CBeebies feed.

The international variants feature different personalities per broadcast region. In Australia, Tara Colegrave is the main presenter since 2008,[7][24] while in Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore Nisha Anil is the main presenter.[24][25][7] The Latin American variant used Roser Cabañas, present on-screen from 2009 until its closure in 2017,[7] with the Polish channel showcasing Aneta Bożena Piotrowska as main presenter since 2008. From November 2014 to June 2015, Aneta also appeared as a continuity presenter in the UK. On 24 April 2016, Aneta resumed presenting duties in the UK.[25] The South African channel utilises Sidney Sloane, who previously presented in the UK.[24]

Stranded Segments

In the UK, the CBeebies channel uses stranded segments throughout the day.

From 3 April[8] to 19 December 2004, each weekend afternoon was divided into five segments, which were presented by one of the then-current presenters, namely Chris Jarvis, Nicole Davis, Pui Fan Lee, Sidney Sloane and Sue Monroe. Each was given a core theme (for instance Sid's segment included "building and making" programmes such as Bob the Builder, Sue's included arts and crafts theme programmes and so on). The five segments aired from 1:00pm until 6:00pm; the segmentation was later dispensed in December 2004. For many months after, though, the presenters still wore their respective colours. They also cropped up in props used in links, such as coloured plates.

The five coloured room sections ran from 1:00pm to 6:00pm and included the following:

A new strand entitled Pick and Play was shown for the first time in June 2004,[8] in which viewers contacted CBeebies via the website and other means to suggest programmes they would like to see. Also, in September 2005,[8] a new strand called Bear and Butterfly launched, showing on weekend mornings. Presented by a cartoon bear (voiced by Chris Jarvis) and butterfly (voiced by Sue Monroe), and with an occasional appearance from a caterpillar, the characters interacted in an animated environment. They also showed pictures that had been sent in on their Message Tree.

New strands were introduced on 3 April 2006; Get Set Go from 7:00am to 9:00am, Explorers from 9:00am to 10:00am and 1:00pm to 2:00pm, Busy Beebies from 10:00am to 11:45am and 2:00pm to 3:45pm, Story Corner from 11:45am to 12:00pm and 3:45pm to 4:00pm and Little Lunchers from 12:00pm to 1:00pm. The Bedtime Hour was retained.[8]

On 19 March 2007,[9] these segments were dropped (apart from Get Set Go and Bedtime Hour) and modified to denote the time of day and the levels of activity. These segments still run to this day and include:

When these segments were initially introduced, each segment featured its own presenting team and set, with Chris Jarvis and Pui Fan Lee (Alex Winters and Cerrie Burnell after they left in January 2009) presenting Discover and Do in the CBeebies "living room"; Lunch Time in the "kitchen"; Bedtime Hour in the "bedroom"; Sidney Sloane (plus Andy Day when he joined the channel later in 2007) presenting Get, Set, Go! in the "living room" and Big Fun Time in the "garage". However, since moving production to Manchester this is no longer the case, with the exception of Bedtime Hour which is presented from the area nearest the house's bed.

Storytimes

While the lunchtime story is usually read by one of the regular presenters, the final show of each day, the "Bedtime Story" is read by a guest storyteller, including well known actors, comedians, and past presenters of BBC children's television. Some notable storytellers in this slot have included James McAvoy, Simon Pegg, David Hasselhoff, Lulu, Damian Lewis, Rosamund Pike, Toby Stephens, David Tennant, Ben Faulks, Michael Rosen, Floella Benjamin, Shayne Ward and Tom Hardy. Dolly Parton is scheduled to appear October 25th 2017.

In an unusual move, James Bolam appeared on "Bedtime Story" in costume and in character as Grandpa from Grandpa in My Pocket, not as himself.

Lesser-known storytellers James Blishen and Elliot King have appeared and taken inspiration from CBeebies' storytime slot, with a programme for James in pre-planning called 'Storytime with James'.

CBeebies HD

On 16 July 2013, the BBC announced that a high-definition (HD) simulcast of CBeebies would be launched by early 2014.[9] The channel launched on 10 December 2013, though was rolled-out nationwide up to June 2014 (as did BBC News HD and BBC Four HD).[9] The channel broadcasts on the BBC's new HD multiplex on Freeview and shares its stream with BBC Four HD as they air at different times. Prior to launch, the majority of CBeebies' HD output was broadcast on BBC HD before its closure on 26 March 2013.

Other ventures

CBeebies website

The CBeebies website coincided with the launch of the UK channel in February 2002 and showcases a child friendly site with activities themed to all CBeebies programmes, past and present, with games, songs and print-outs featuring for nearly all shows. The UK version also features links to CBeebies iPlayer, a child friendly version of the BBC iPlayer featuring CBeebies programmes only, to CBeebies radio player and a dedicated micro site containing advice for raising children and toddlers called CBeebies Grown-ups, which was relaunched in 2011.[9][9][9]

The international channels are run by BBC Worldwide, and their websites are operated by the company also. As a result, not all of them are the same and some channels have less extensive websites than other services. CBeebies channels in Asia, Australia, Poland, South Africa and the USA all have their own international variant.

VHS and DVD releases

VHS or DVD titleRelease dateProgrammes and Episodes
CBeebies: The Best of Pre-School Television28 October 2002Fimbles: Tambourine, Tweenies: Invitations, Bill and Ben: Around and Around, Andy Pandy: A Noisy Supper, Teletubbies Everywhere: Ice Skating (Finland)
Playtime: Introducing Tikkabilla4 October 2004Tikkabilla in a 45 minute special, Bill and Ben: Go Fly a Kite/A Piece of Sky, Tweenies: Champions, Yoho Ahoy: Pancake with Poop/Paint with Booty, Little Robots: A Bit of Give and Take/By Myself, Andy Pandy: Rub-A-Dub/Potato Prints

NOTE: This VHS/DVD also has the Andy Pandy song Honey in it, which comes after Rub-A-Dub.

CBeebies: The Ultimate Party Collection16 April 2007Big Cook Little Cook: Postman, Bobinogs: Happy Bobi-Birthday, The Roly Mo Show: Little Bo's Birthday, Higgledy House: Birthday, Charlie and Lola: This is Actually My Party, Tweenies: Birthday, Balamory: The Lost Letter, The Koala Brothers: Penny's Birthday Surprise, Fimbles: Party Hat, Lunar Jim: A Surprise for Jim, LazyTown: Miss Roberta, Me Too: Disco Taxi
CBeebies: The Ultimate Summer Collection16 July 2007Balamory: Beach Bonanza, Fimbles: Seashell, Boogie Beebies: Dancing on the Sand, The Koala Brothers: Lolly's New Flavour, Tweenies: Summer, Me Too: The Juicer, Little Robots: Under the Stars, Higgledy House: Holiday, The Roly Mo Show: Too Hot, Big Cook Little Cook: Holiday Maker, Charlie and Lola: The Most Wonderfullest Picnic in the Whole Wide World
CBeebies: The Ultimate Christmas Collection12 November 2007LazyTown: Surprise Santa, Boogie Beebies: I Wish it Would Snow, Balamory: Panto, Fimbles: Tune, Lunar Jim: Too Many Fluffies, Charlie and Lola: Snow is my Favourite and My Best, Big Cook Little Cook: Father Christmas, The Roly Mo Show: Too Cold, Tikkabilla in a Christmas Special, Tweenies: White Christmas
CBeebies: Get Set Go!21 July 2008Boogie Beebies: Sporty Boogie, Charlie and Lola: I Am Really, Really, Really Concentrating, Me Too: Sports Day, The Large Family: The Big Race, Tweenies: Fast and Slow, LazyTown: Sports Day, Little Robots: Good Sport Sporty, Higgledy House: Fitness, The Koala Brothers: George's Big Race, Balamory: Fun Run
CBeebies: Bedtime20 October 2008Charlie and Lola: I Am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go to Bed, Fimbles: Moon, Me Too: I Want to Say Goodnight, Teletubbies: Putting Angus to Bed, Jackanory Junior: The King of Capri, The Roly Mo Show: Sweet Dreams, Little Robots: Sweet Dreams Scary, Balamory: Bedtime, Tweenies: Sleepover, Charlie and Lola: Can You Maybe Turn the Light On
CBeebies: Big Fun Time16 February 2009Harry and Toto: Stop and Go, Brum: Brum and the Airport Adventure, Little Robots: Metal Makes Us Special, LazyTown: Little Sportacus, Lunar Jim: Rover's Big Dig, Higgledy House: Babysitting, Charlie and Lola: I Want to Be Much More Bigger Like You, The Large Family: Elephants Never Forget, Tweenies: When I'm Older, The Koala Brothers: Mitzi's Busy Day, Boogie Beebies: Roll Up, Roll Up, Tommy Zoom: Confidence, Me Too: Smiles and Frowns
CBeebies: Discover + Do25 May 2009Get Squiggling: Bloodhound, Tikkabilla: Dressing Up and Houses, Teletubbies: Bubble Pictures, Balamory: Treasure Hunt, Charlie and Lola: I Wish I Could Draw Exactly More Like You, Boogie Beebies: Building, Tweenies: Growing Bulbs, Big Cook Little Cook: Explorer, Fimbles: Cardboard Box
CBeebies: Greatest Hits!26 April 2010Teletubbies: Follow My Leader, Balamory: Disco, Charlie and Lola: I Can Dance Like a Dancer, The Roly Mo Show: Making Music, 3rd and Bird: A Chorus for Us, LazyTown: Rockin Robbie, Tweenies: Favourite Songs, Harry and Toto: Quiet and Loud, Boogie Beebies: Baby Boogie, Little Robots: The Sound of Music, Fimbly Songtime: Fimble Dance, Tommy Zoom: Boyz Noise, Big Cook Little Cook: Pop Star, The Koala Brothers: Josie's New Tune, Dirtgirlworld: Creepy Crawly

Songs: This is CBeebies, Get Set Go song, Discover and Do song, Lunchtime song, Birthday song, Big Fun Time song, Sunset song, Goodnight song, Spring song, Summer song, Autumn song, Winter song, Weekend song

Album releases

Five CBeebies-branded CDs have been released, 'CBeebies: The Official Album' in 2002, 'My CBeebies Album' in 2006, 'My CBeebies Album (Christmas Edition)' in 2007, 'CBeebies: Song Time' in 2010, and 'CBeebies: The Album' in 2012.

CBeebies Land

CBeebies Land opened in May 2014. Designed as a retheme of the previous Storybook Land and Old McDonald's Farmyard areas of the Alton Towers Resort theme park. It contains a range of themed rides, attractions as well as live entertainment based around various popular programmes. Containing various indoor and outdoor activities aimed at making an immersive and interactive world for children and young families.

The site based within Alton Towers Resort in Staffordshire includes some of the more popular characters from the original channel for guests to meet. Described as a 'fun environment for pre-schoolers to play and learn' by critics.[9]

At the start of the year, the theme park sporadically released information on the characters involved in the development via their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

  • On 4 January, Mr Tumble was the first character confirmed - featuring in the Something Special Sensory Garden[9] and 5 January saw Mr. Bloom confirmed as featuring in the development in the form of Mr Bloom's Allotments.[9]
  • On 6 January, the park revealed an In the Night Garden redesign of their existing Riverbank Eyespy. On the re-themed attraction, In The Night Garden Magical Boat Ride, guests will be able to drift around the 'enchanted dreamworld'; an area that will use colours, sights and sounds to bring picture books to life. Iggle Piggle, Makka Pakka and Upsy Daisy will all be on the Night Garden Island to help children appreciate the values of diversity, and enjoy the wonder in the world around them.

Stephen Gould, commercial director at DHX Media who licence In The Night Garden commented, "We are extremely excited to be working in partnership with BBC Worldwide, Merlin Entertainments and Alton Towers Resort on this new venture. In The Night Garden is the ideal draw brand to provide a fun, nurturing, inspiring and immersive environment for CBeebies Land and its visitors."[9]

The fourth reveal on 7 January was that of Nina and the Neurons[10] Based around the popular show which sees Nina, with the help of her animated sense Neurons, explain how and why the world around us works as it does. Nina's Science Lab will bring together the Neurons to show how they control your five senses. In a hands-on scientific attraction, children will learn how their bodies work and what they do.[10]

Awards

The UK channel and the programmes it has broadcast have received a number of awards throughout the years. In 2002, the Cbeebies Interactive TV Services was nominated in the Best Interactive Service category and CBeebies Online was nominated in the same category in 2005 at the BAFTA Children's Awards. The channel was awarded Best Children's Channel and Highly Commended at the Broadcast Digital Channel Awards 2006,[10] however only achieved a nomination in 2007[10] and 2008.[56] The channel was also named Children's Channel of the Year at the BAFTA Children's awards in 1995, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007,[9] 2009, 2010,[10] 2011,[10] 2013, 2014 and 2016[10] and was nominated for Channel of the Year in 2008[62]

The CBeebies UK website was nominated Best Interactive Site at the 2007 BAFTA Children's awards,[9] and the brand as a whole also won the Best Design and Innovation award by the Royal Television Society, whose awarding panel said "Its website is an integral part of the brand, with its TV production and online teams working together to create innovative game play and immersive web experiences."[11]

See also