Children's BBC

Up to, and including, the early 1980s, there was little to differentiate children's presentation on BBC1 from adult output, save the use of specially designed programme slides and menus. Then from around the start of 1984 a series of BBC Micro computer cartoons were used in addition to the BBC1 globe to introduce programmes - these were still voiced by the usual BBC announcers.

The term 'Children's BBC' was first used in September 1985, when in-vision continuity with Phillip Schofield was introduced. The cramped BBC1 continuity booth in which he introduced the afternoon's programmes eventually became known as the 'Broom Cupboard'. Phillip was succeeded by Andy Crane in 1987; he in turn was replaced by Andi Peters in 1990, and then Toby Anstis in 1993. For much more on this era of Children's BBC presentation, visit the Broom Cupboard (external site).

The first Children's BBC ident was a very basic affair, again produced on a BBC Micro. The word 'Children's' originally appeared at the bottom of the screen before moving to the top; later on, the background changed from black to blue. A new animated version of the ident was introduced in 1987 (not shown here) which was then replaced in 1989 by an ident generated by an Acorn Archimedes computer.

In the autumn of 1991, a new ident was launched, which fitted into the new BBC corporate style as seen on BBC1 and BBC2 since earlier that year, and used a similar smoky background to that seen on the new BBC1 globe. The musical jingle that accompanied this ident from 1992 onwards ended with the phrase 'tell that aardvark it's a wrap', which may have been the inspiration for future CBBC puppet Otis the Aardvark!

The end of an era came in September 1994 when Children's BBC was forced to move out of the Broom Cupboard and up the corridor into Presentation Studio A. The change saw the launch of a new version of the ident. Also shown here is a yellow variant from the CBBC Breakfast Show on BBC2.

Following Toby Anstis's departure in 1995, a variety of presenters linked children's programmes, including Zoe Ball, Simeon Courtie, Kirsten O'Brien, Chris Jarvis, Ana Boulter, Josie D'Arby, Steve Wilson, Angellica Bell, Richard McCourt and Dominic Wood.

In June 1997 Children's BBC moved home again, to Studio TC9 (formerly the make-up store) at Television Centre, which opened up into the Blue Peter garden. Shortly afterwards, in the all-encompassing BBC revamp of October 1997, Children's BBC officially became CBBC (though the abbreviation had been used informally for some years), and a series of simple, but witty, animations were introduced across BBC1 and BBC2, using the appropriate logotype for each channel.

On 29th November 1999 the CBBC on Choice strand was introduced on BBC Choice - the idents were the same, but simply used a 'CBBC' logotype. (There had previously been a Saturday afternoon strand titled CBBC Choice, which had its own set of idents). Michael Underwood was originally the sole presenter of CBBC on Choice, before Adrian Dickson, seen here, took over.

In September 2001 CBBC continuity, which up till now had steadfastly remained in 4:3, switched to 16:9. The idents remained from 1997, but were re-cut, speeded up and converted to widescreen.


On 11th February 2002 CBBC relaunched with a whole new look and the start of two new digital channels - CBeebies for pre-school children, and the CBBC channel for 6-13 year olds. Children's presentation on BBC1 in the afternoons and BBC2 in the mornings also took on this new look and used the same blob-based branding.

Continuity for the CBBC channel originally came from Studio TC2, moving to TC9 in August 2004, with CBBC on BBC1 and BBC2 moving from TC9 to TC10, only for it to return to TC9 in March 2006.

With the launch of the channel, the presenting team expanded considerably, with the list of new recruits including Michael 'Abs' Absalom and Ortis Deley (both seen here), Jake Humphrey, Sophie McDonnell, Simon Grant and Andrew Hayden-Smith. Meanwhile, Richard McCourt and Dominic Wood returned to present in the CBBC studio until they landed their own show in August 2002, Dick and Dom in da Bungalow.

During term time CBBC included a segment of schools programming, known as Class TV - see our Schools page for more.

The blobs theme was revised in October 2005, with a more 3D-type blob whizzing round the screen. In December 2006 it was goodbye to the traditional studio set, along with most of the presenters, as CBBC presentation moved to Studio TC12 and a much smaller 'virtual' set with a fixed camera. Most links were now presented by either Gemma Hunt or Anne Foy.

An entirely new look to CBBC was introduced on 3rd September 2007, with a set of impressive new idents in which the four letters that make up the channel's name appeared in various wacky situations, some involving personalities from CBBC's programmes.

Click here for more idents from this era.

On the same day, a new presenter, Ed Petrie, joined to present in the 'CBBC Office' in what was, at long last, a return to more of a Broom Cupboard-style of presentation - maybe because the people who grew up with the Broom Cupboard were now running the BBC?! In-vision presentation now only appeared on the CBBC channel, and originally came from TC12, before moving to a studio in the East Tower at Television Centre in 2008.

Subsequent presenters have included Iain Stirling, Chris Johnson, Katie Thistleton, Cel Spellman, Karim Zeroual and Lauren Layfield.

The idents were revised in September 2010, with a more 3D version of the logo. One year later, CBBC continuity moved from Television Centre in London to MediaCity in Salford.

With the process of digital switchover complete, the CBBC and CBeebies strands disappeared from BBC1 and BBC2 at the end of 2012. Children's programmes have since made a limited return to BBC2 on Saturday mornings, though with BBC2 rather than CBBC continuity.

CBBC's idents were changed again in September 2014, but retained the 2007 logo. The following year, CBBC celebrated its anniversary with a special hour-long programme reuniting presenters from the past thirty years.

On 14th March 2016, shortly before the channel's hours were extended to run until 9pm, a brand new logo was introduced. This appeared in a new set of live action and computer-animated idents, while the CBBC Office, which had been revamped in May 2015, was renamed the CBBC HQ.

Click here for more idents from this era.

CBBC reverted to a 7pm closedown in January 2022, ahead of the return of BBC3 as a broadcast channel.

  Our YouTube channel includes a playlist of CBBC and CBeebies idents from 1997-2002 and 2016.


CBBC official site
CBBC Wikipedia entry