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Monday, 11 February, 2002, 11:15 GMT
BBC children's channels on air
The Tweenies are on CBeebies
The Tweenies are on CBeebies
Two new children's channels have been launched by the BBC.

Digital channels CBBC and CBeebies have a budget of more than 40m and will be free from advertising and sponsorship.

It's really exciting, but the relentless nature of schedules makes it slightly daunting too

Head of programming Dorothy Prior
CBBC broadcasts between 0700 and 1900 daily, and CBeebies can be seen between 0600 and 1900.

They use the same frequencies as two of the BBC's other digital services, BBC Choice and BBC Knowledge.

Head of programming Dorothy Prior said she is relishing the challenge.

"It's really exciting, but the relentless nature of schedules makes it slightly daunting too," she said.

"It's like having a baby. You know what to do for the birth, because you've been to the classes, but no one can tell you what it will be like afterwards."

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But a spokeswoman for commercial children's network Nickelodeon warned that the BBC was stepping into an already crowded marketplace.

"If they stick to a strict public service remit, we feel we can co-exist," she said.

"What concerns us is duplication in the market."

She said Nickelodeon felt CBBC would be broadcasting too many cartoons.

An ITV spokeswoman said: "We welcome the BBC launching new channels as long as they bring something new and distinctive to the format, and they are properly regulated."

The BBC's controller of CBBC, Nigel Pickard, said the new channels would bring different programming to the audience.

"There is no shortage of children's channels but there is definitely a shortage of variety of material," he said.

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He added: "Our competitors have done a great job but their programming is largely US imports or animation.

"We are going to supply a huge amount of local programmes produced especially for our audience in the UK."


CBeebies is aimed at children under six.

It will consist of repeating, four-hour blocks of programming and every hour there will be an episode of a major pre-school series like Teletubbies or Tweenies, and each block will end with a story hour.

CBeebies will also feature the BBC's first pre-school drama, Applecross, set in a fictional Scottish village with a cast of adult and child actors.

There will be seven other new commissions on CBeebies, offering a mixture of presenter-led live action, puppets and animation.


The CBBC channel, for six to 13-year-olds, aims to use interactive and online platforms to create a children's community of viewers across the UK.

Weekday transmissions on the CBBC channel will start and finish with Xchange - the largest single commission in CBBC history, with 1,040 episodes over two years.

Blue Peter's Liz Barker, Simon Turner, Konnie Huq and Matt Baker
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CBBC will have a dedicated drama hour every weekday, as well as comedy and a behind-the-scenes showbusiness offering called Call The Shots.

Newsround, which recently won best children's programme at the Broadcast awards, will be supplying seven bulletins a day.

Blue Peter has developed two 26-part series for the channel - Blue Peter Unleashed and Blue Peter Flies the World.

Children's programmes across the BBC are being given a new look to mark the launch, as has the CBBC site on BBCi.

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See also:

07 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
New BBC channels get launch dates
20 Nov 01 | TV and Radio
BBC children's channels unveiled
20 Nov 01 | TV and Radio
40m for BBC children's channels
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