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Children's Hour facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

Children's Hour, initially The Children's Hour, was the BBC's principal recreational service for children (as distinct from "Broadcasts to Schools") which began during the period when radio was the only medium of broadcasting.

Children's Hour was broadcast from 1922 to 1964, originally from the BBC's Birmingham station 5IT, soon joined by other regional stations, then in the BBC Regional Programme, before transferring to its final home, the new BBC Home Service, at the outbreak of the second World War. Parts of the programme were also rebroadcast by the BBC World Service. For the last three years of its life (from 17 April 1961 until 27 March 1964), the title Children's Hour was no longer used, the programmes in its "time-slot" going out under the umbrella heading of For the Young.

The programme takes its name from a verse by Longfellow: "Between the dark and the daylight, When the night is beginning to lower, Comes a pause in the day's occupations, That is known as the Children's Hour."


Among popular series on Children's Hour were:

Said the Cat to the Dog, Music at Random, Top of the Form, and serialisations of stories by children's authors such as Malcolm Saville, Rosemary Sutcliff, Elizabeth Clark and Arthur Ransome. Well-known musicians such as Peter Maxwell Davies composed music for the programme. An unknown teenage Maxwell Davies sent in a composition called "Clouds" which raised a few eyebrows and was duly invited in to see whether "he's a genius or mad". The stalwarts of Nursery Sing Song, Trevor Hill and Violet Carson, decided he was the former so Hill took him under his wing from then on, setting him on his way by introducing him to conductor Charles Groves and others.


Among actors and presenters who were famous for their work on Children's Hour were:

  • Arthur Burrows ('Uncle Arthur' - also the first London wireless Uncle)
  • Violet Carson
  • David Davis
  • John Darren
  • Norman Ellison, aka Nomad the Naturalist
  • Rev George Bramwell Evens, aka Romany
  • Carleton Hobbs
  • Rupert Gould ('The Stargazer')
  • Derek McCulloch ('Uncle Mac')
  • Kathleen Garsgadden ('Auntie Kathleen')
  • Jon Pertwee
  • Wilfred Pickles
  • David Seth-Smith, aka The Zoo Man
  • Olive Shapley
  • Norman Shelley
  • Barrie Hesketh
  • Stephen King-Hall
  • William Glynne-Jones

L. Stanton Jefferies composed music for some early programmes.

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