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Disney Junior (British and Irish TV channel) facts for kids

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Disney Junior
Country United Kingdom
Republic of Ireland
Headquarters Chiswick, London
Programming
Picture format 1080i HDTV
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
Timeshift service Disney Junior +1
Ownership
Owner The Walt Disney Company Limited
Disney Channels Worldwide
(Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International)
Sister channels
History
Launched 29 September 2000 (2000-09-29)
Closed 1 October 2020 (2020-10-01)
Former names Playhouse Disney
(2000–2011)
Availability
Cable
Virgin Media
(UK)
Channel 727
Virgin Media Ireland Channel 616
WightFibre Channel 107
Satellite
Sky (UK & Ireland) Channel 607 (HD)
Channel 608 (+1)
Channel 643 (SD)
IPTV
BT Channel 481
Plusnet Channel 481
TalkTalk Plus TV Channel 481
Streaming media
Virgin TV Anywhere Watch live (United Kingdom)
Sky Go Watch live
(UK and Ireland only)
Virgin TV Anywhere Watch live (Ireland)

Disney Junior is a defunct British and Irish pay television kids channel that was owned by Disney–ABC Television Group that focused on preschool programming. It was launched on 29 September 2000 as Playhouse Disney. The channel was rebranded as Disney Junior on 7 May 2011, it later ceased broadcasting on 30 September 2020.

Closure

Disney Junior, along with their sister channels Disney XD and Disney Channel, closed in the UK on 30 September 2020, after 20 years on-air, due to Disney failing to reach a new carriage deal with Sky and Virgin Media. The closure was announced on 25 June that year. All of the channel's content was transferred to Disney's streaming service, Disney+.

The last programme to be broadcast before it closed was Gigantosaurus. It then showed promos and music videos before cutting into the channel's ident image featuring a selection of characters from the channel.

Virgin Media removed the channels on 29 September, with CBBC and CBeebies taking the network's former Sky EPG slots on 1 October.

Presentation

When Playhouse Disney originally launched in the United Kingdom, it used live presentation and links, being set in a large "Playhouse" featuring different rooms and areas. This presentation format was also used for Playhouse Disney in Australia, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Germany and several other territories outside North America.

Playhouse Disney UK's main live presenters were Dave Benson Phillips and Alex Lovell, who were referred to as Big Dave and Little Alex. In addition to presenting the "Playhouse", both Dave and Alex presented "Music Time", where they sang mostly Disney songs, with the original recordings of the songs. Dave also presented the children's cookery show, Bite Size, alongside Sophie Aldred and Karl Woolley and puppet Mitzi the Oven Glove.

Two other segments were also featured. The first was "Circle Time", presented by Jason Canning, where he alongside a few children, made up stories from animated drawings that viewers sent in. The other was "Art Play", presented by Sara-Louise Harper, which featured her and a few children creating a piece of artwork based on a popular Disney movie.

New graphics and a new logo were introduced in March 2003, coinciding with the debut of the main Disney Channel's new look. Along with this, came a refreshing of the format. The 'Circle Time' strand was removed without a replacement presenter after Jason Canning left to pursue other work, and Art Play's presenting role was taken by Olivia Bonnici after Sara-Louise Harper left after becoming pregnant. While the "Playhouse" format would remain for the next few years, the channel's presentation gradually began to focus more on out-of-vision links, like what its American counterpart would use.

In 2004, A dedicated nighttime block called "PJ's Bedtime" was introduced, being presented by Olivia and Big Dave alongside the titular puppet PJ Mole.

On 27 August 2006, Dave Benson Philips and Alex Lovell left the network, while the Art Play and Music Time strands were removed around the same time due to budget cuts. The two remaining strands, PJ's Bedtime and Bite Size, were removed in November 2007 and May 2008, respectively. By then, the channel featured a format and identity in-par with its American counterpart.

In September 2007, the channel logo in the external promotionals (programme press releases, promos for terrestrial television) were changed to include the inscription "Channel" as in all Playhouse Disney Europe channels, but on the channel itself, the logo was not changed. This move was to differentiate the channel from the "Playhouse Disney" block, shown all mornings on the American Disney Channel, using the two monkeys Ooh and Aah as hosts from Ooh, Aah & You between the channel links as well as using the same on screen graphics as the US block up until 2011.

Presenters were re-added to the channel in September 2009, with new presenters Samantha Pearl and James Sherwood presenting on air between 6pm and 8pm.

Disney Junior +

A one-hour timeshift service of the channel, Disney Junior +, launched on 29 October 2007 as Playhouse Disney +, replacing the now defunct channel ABC1. It launched on the same day that the Disney Channels were reshuffled on Sky, involving Disney Cinemagic and Disney Cinemagic +1 moving down the EPG, to enable Playhouse Disney to move up the EPG to allow Playhouse Disney + to launch next to it on Sky 611 and 612 respectively. Playhouse Disney + was initially a 25-minute timeshift service until 11 February 2011 when it became a 1-hour timeshift service. It was renamed as Disney Junior +1 on 7 May 2011.

Programming

Original series

  • Henry Hugglemonster (8 February 2013 – 30 September 2020)
  • Claude (June 2018 - 30 September 2020, French import)

Acquired from Disney Junior (United States)

Shorts

Other acquired series (Outside of the USA)

  • Paprika (1 October 2018 – 30 September 2020, French import)
  • Bluey (28 October 2019 – 30 September 2020, Australian import)

Acquired from Disney Channel (UK)

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