Children’s BBC celebrates its 30th anniversary later today with a special hour-long programme on the CBBC Channel. Presenters from across the three decades are returning to the beeb’s children’s department to mark the landmark date.
There had of course been the Watch With Mother strand on the beeb back in the 50s and 60s, but nothing like Children’s BBC had aired on the corporation before the mid-80s. Instead of the famous BBC One globe animation, childrens and teen programming would now be linked by a personality. That first presenter was Phillip Schofield who on September 9th 1985 transmitted the first announcements for Children’s BBC live from a continuity studio in the London BBC Television Centre, for the young audience the studio was renamed ‘The Broom Cupboard’, due to its tiny size.
Matthew Kelly, second left, celebrates 20 years of Children’s ITV in 2002 with some CITV personalities
It wasn’t entirely an original idea, ITV had launched Children’s ITV in 1983, and prior to that had branded their young viewer output as Watch It!. On the 3rd of January 1983 from Central Television, using independent studios in London, the first Children’s ITV continuity aired with presenter Matthew Kelly. It was the first time the network had a national CITV brand and single presenter. Previously the Watch It continuity had been provided by each regional ITV station with varying success. The Children’s ITV links were recorded in large numbers and played out by Central in Birmingham later. This was fine on paper – but when techinical issues cropped up the fact the links were pre-recorded were apparent.
Early days, Children’s ITV with Gary Terzza and Debbie Shore
Children’s BBC begins with Phillip Schofield in 1985
The beeb were not to fall into that trap, while it may have been cheaper, it wasn’t ‘reactive’. The Children’s BBC announcements would be live. Children’s ITV would later follow suit and ditch the pre-recorded links for live too.
Times have changed quite a lot since those early days of both CITV and CBBC – as they’re now called – with the afternoon slots on BBC One and ITV dropped for their own standalone channels and more programmes than ever before. But today its a chance to look back and see just how the look and style of the CBBC output has changed over thirty years.
Andy Crane took over the Broom Cupboard from Phillip Schofield.
Later this afternoon, 30 years after those first Children’s BBC programme links with Phillip Schofield, CBBC favourite Hacker T. Dog is throwing a party to celebrate the landmark and look back at the three decades with some old friends.
As well as some of the most iconic moments from the past 30 years, the special live one-hour programme from MediaCityUK will have a look at some things the presenters would rather forget. Plus there’s a chance for viewers to phone-in and get involved at home, and CBBC will be revealing their brand new presenter for the first time. Cel Spellman, Katie Thistleton, Hacker and Dodge are your hosts
Zoe Ball and Hacker T. Dog take a look back at the glory days of Children’s BBC
Phillip Schofield, Andi Peters, Andy Crane, Toby Anstis, Simon Parkin, Gordon the Gopher, Zoe Ball, Dick and Dom, Kirsten O’Brien, Barney Harwood, Edd the Duck, Matt Edmondson, Angellica Bell, Andrew Hayden Smith, Ed and Oucho and Iain Stirling are among the CBBC stars joining in. CBBC 30th Anniversary: Hacker’s Birthday Bash – today from 6pm on the CBBC Channel.
Gallery of Children’s Continuity Fame
TV-am and CITV presenter Tommy Boyd became possibly the best known of all the Children’s ITV presenters
Children’s BBC’s best remembered puppet – Gordon the Gopher – who ended up with his own series
Edd the Duck worked with both Andy Crane and Andi Peters during the 1990s on Children’s BBC
Been on both sides, former CBBC presenter Andi Peters with his ‘Best CITV presenter’ award after switching channels
Out of the cupboard, Philippa Forrester, Toby Anstis and Zoe Ball hosted from a bigger studio in later years at TV Centre
Angellica Bell, Jake Humphrey, Fearne Cotton, Ortis Deley launch the CBBC Channel in 2002
Dunceton the Brain, Bobby the Banana, Gordon the Gopher, Otis the Aardvark, Ed the Duck, Dodge T Dog, Hacker T Dog, Emlyn the Gremlyn and Oucho T Cactus – the puppets of CBBC over the past three decades