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Say hello to the new look CBeebies

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Damian Vicary Damian Vicary | 10:52 UK time, Monday, 24 August 2009

It's been seven years since CBeebies hit the digital airwaves, and ever since it first went live the red button offering on the channel has remained, to all intents and purposes, the same - bar one or two minor facelifts. All of that is to about to change with the launch of the brand new CBeebies Red Button service.

The new CBeebies homepage

From this week, pressing the red button while watching the CBeebies channel will launch you into a big, bright, loud and fun new world.

So, what's changed?

First of all, how it looks! We realise that for most viewers, the characters are the most loved thing on the channel, so we've put them at the heart of the service. No longer are all the characters squeezed onto one page, or written down in a boring list - we now have a big, bold and bright menu linking you straight into games, services like CBeebies Karaoke, Birthdays and Star of the Week messages.

Games are one of the most popular services for the CBeebies audience, but for a long time the games we've offered on the red button have felt a little bit tired and out of date. The new service brings with it brand new games for some of the most popular shows on CBeebies.

Who doesn't love In the Night Garden? Well now you can play along with Makka Pakka, Upsy Daisy and Igglepiggle whenever you want.

Green Balloon Club game, shown on Sky

The Green Balloon Club opens kids' eyes to nature. Whether they live in the countryside or the middle of town, the gameplay has been designed to get children really involved.

The CBeebies bugs feature heavily on the CBeebies channel all day every day, The CBeebies bug games have children catching or rearranging these bugs across loads of fun levels.

Sky, Virgin and Freeview viewers will have slightly different gameplay from one another - this has enabled us to offer the best game experience we can for each platform.

The red button service not only caters for the 0-6 years olds, it also has something to offer the grown-ups (often the person pressing the red button in the first place!) If you want to know what games will be available and when, what last night's bedtime story was, how to send in a birthday message or when CBeebies karaoke is available - pressing the Green button when in the service will tell you. It will also give you the low down on what hot topics are being talked about on the BBC Online 'messageboards' and give you some great ideas for educational games you can play with your kids.

And that's not all as CBeebies radio takes its bow on the Red Button for Sky viewers who will be treated to the best bits of the previous week's CBeebies radio featuring stories, songs and clips from popular CBeebies shows. If all that 'happy' gets a little too much it can be turned off by simply pressing the Yellow button.

The new CBeebies service has been a long time in the making, but we hope you'll agree it was worth the wait. We'd love to hear what you think.

The new look CBeebies is available on Sky and Freeview by pressing the red button on the CBeebies channel or by pressing red and selecting page number 5900 from any other BBC digital TV channel. It will be available on Virgin Media shortly but at this time won't be available on Freesat.

Damian Vicary is Interactive TV Producer for BBC Children's


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