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CBeebies Through the Years - part 2

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Andrew Bowden Andrew Bowden | 09:00 UK time, Thursday, 20 August 2009

Yesterday we began a tour showing how the BBC Red Button CBeebies service has changed and evolved over the years, starting with the initial service from 2002.

The original service featured games and stories, however in 2004 it was decided to redesign CBeebies to add in some more content, and give the whole thing a brand new look.

CBeebies homepage on Sky in 2004

On Sky, the rather orange homepage was replaced by what became, affectionately known (for rather obvious reasons) as "The Castle".

There were five versions of the castle - one for each season and a special version for Christmas. The above screenshot is from the summer version.

Different versions of the CBeebies homepage on Sky

The other four were of a similar vein, showing winter (top left), spring (top right), autumn (bottom left) and Christmas (bottom right).

The above pictures are actually the design mock ups made in 2005 when the BBCi logo was changed from four square blocks to the more button shaped version.

CBeebies homepage on DTT in 2004

With the capacity limitations remaining, Freeview users got something a little less visual. However some space was found include a larger character image on the page to brighten it up.

CBeebies homepage on cable in 2004

Whilst Sky users got a castle in 2005, CBeebies users got the bus of fun instead! No, I'm not entirely sure how that bug is driving the bus either! Surely it can't grip the wheel like that...

By this time BBCi could be accessed via the red button on any BBC channel and as such the cable company controlled window was replaced by our own. As the main service could (and can) still be accessed via the Interactive button, the same shape had to be used.

As well as the games and stories, Sky and Freeview users also got two new additions.

Sky and Freeview versions of the Birthdays page

For many years, parents have sent in birthday messages for their children to appear on TV, and the new Birthdays page saw that added to the red button as well. Hopefully Emily had a fab-a-roony day.

Star of the Week page on Sky and Freeview

And if it wasn't their birthday, if they'd been good and done well, they could be Star of the Week as well!

The 2004 revamp also saw a "For Grown Ups" section, offering advice and information for parents for the first time.

For reasons lost in time, the Birthdays and Star of the Week were never launched for cable users.

Tomorrow we end the series with a look at the current CBeebies service.

Andrew Bowden is a producer for the TV Platforms group and has worked on more versions of the CBeebies service than he can remember.


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