CBBC and CBeebies announce a raft of new programme commissions – as both channels prepare to celebrate their tenth birthday.
CBeebies and CBBC launched on 11 February 2002 and, over the last ten years, have grown to become the most popular channels in the UK for the under twelves.
The channels are celebrating their birthdays in style with a special Big Birthday Bash at their new home in Salford Quays on 18 February, and have today announced a slate of new programmes to entertain and inspire their audiences in the coming year.
Both channels have grown significantly since their launch, with CBBC now reaching more than five times the audience it had in its first year. The channel is now watched by more than 1.8 million 6-12 year olds every week. CBeebies has also grown significantly, doubling its audience since its launch in 2002 and is now watched by around half the UK’s 0-6s every week (2.3 million).
Joe Godwin, Director, BBC Children’s, said: “It’s wonderful to be able to celebrate our tenth birthday in our brand new home in MediaCityUK, looking back at the quality programming that the department has produced, and looking ahead at all the exciting content we have in store. I believe what makes BBC Children’s so special is that we produce original British programming to help children make sense of the world around them. And we take children to places they wouldn’t otherwise be able to experience.
“We really do have world-class talent working here at BBC Children’s and I’m looking forward to seeing these new programme commissions on air in the coming year.”
Speaking of the tenth birthday celebrations, Baroness Floella Benjamin, OBE, said: “I believe passionately in the power of high quality British-made children’s television to change children’s lives and inspire them to think differently about the world in which they live.
“I’ve had the privilege of playing my part in children’s broadcasting history and I know from talking to today’s presenters and producers they’re equally passionate about inspiring, exciting and entertaining future generations. I’d like to congratulate CBeebies and CBBC on reaching their tenth birthday and hope they continue to set the standard for world class children’s broadcasting.”
Adding to the world class content on CBeebies is a priority for Controller Kay Benbow, who has revealed she is launching a new cluster of programming on CBeebies this month. The Love to Learn block will bring together a number of programmes that are designed to give the younger members of the audience an introduction to basic literacy and numeracy.
Programmes to be incorporated into the schedule include new shows Numtums and The Lingo Show, alongside new episodes of established favourites Alphablocks and Abadas. These programmes will be scheduled together allowing children to have fun while they learn with letters and get to know their numbers.
Kay Benbow, said: “I think it is vital that CBeebies provides our youngest audience members with a strong introduction to letters and numbers– but it is also important that they have fun while they learn. By scheduling these programmes together I am giving parents the opportunity to allocate time in their busy days for their children to practice their basic literacy and numeracy skills. I hope that these programmes, along with other brand new shows such as Tree Fu Tom and Andy’s Wild Adventures, will encourage, challenge and entertain little learners around the country.”
In addition CBeebies is launching a new series to introduce children to the wonders of rhyme and verse. Set aboard a rocket that relies on rhymes to fuel its engines, The Rhyme Rocket will blast off on a journey to collect a poem from children on Earth. As it encounters different planets full of rhymes, the rocket beams aboard poets and performers to introduce new works specially commissioned by the BBC.
CBeebies isn’t the only channel to announce a raft of new programming for the coming season. CBBC has also announced a range of new commissions, including a strong list of dramas to engage and entertain older viewers.
Controller Damian Kavanagh has commissioned four major new drama series for CBBC, as well as ordering up new episodes of some CBBC favourites. Brand new CBBC dramas Wolfblood, The Knot, Stepping Up and Russell T Davies’ Aliens Vs Wizards are all in production, with Young Dracula, The Sparticles Mystery, M.I. High and Leonardo all returning to CBBC in 2012/2013.
Damian Kavanagh said: “I’m a great believer in looking for programmes which really bring something new to the channel for our audience to enjoy. Surprising and entertaining them is the key to the amazing growth we’ve experienced since we launched ten years ago.
“CBBC has always had a strong record of producing acclaimed children’s dramas and I’m proud to be able to announce such a wide range of new programmes for the coming year. Dramas such as Wolfblood and Aliens Vs Wizards are what we’re all about – strong stories told in a way that captures our audiences imaginations and takes them on an incredible journey.”
It’s wonderful to be able to celebrate our tenth birthday in our brand new home in MediaCityUK, looking back at the quality programming that the department has produced, and looking ahead at all the exciting content we have in store."