Disney Channel (UK and Ireland)
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|Launched||1 October 1995|
|Owned by||Disney–ABC Television Group|
|Picture format||576i (16:9 SDTV)
0.06% (+1) (April 2017 , BARB)
The Best Place to BeFind Your Story!
Republic of Ireland
|Formerly called||The Disney Channel
(until 1 March 1997)
|Sister channel(s)||Disney Junior
|Timeshift service||Disney Channel +1|
|Sky (UK & Ireland)||Channel 609 (SD/HD)
Channel 610 (+1)
Channel 644 (SD)
Channel 725 (+1)
TV Choice On Demand
|Virgin Media Ireland||Channel 613
Channel 633 (HD)
|TalkTalk Plus TV||Channel 480|
|BT / YouView||Channel 480
|Eir Vision||Channel 609|
|Sky Go||Watch live
(UK and Ireland only)
|Virgin TV Anywhere(UK)||Watch live (UK only)|
|Virgin TV Anywhere (Ireland)||Watch live (Ireland only)|
|Now TV||Watch live (UK only)|
Disney Channel is a kids and teen's entertainment channel available in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland since 1 October 1995. A one-hour timeshift service called Disney Channel +1 is available on Sky and Virgin Media. Disney Channel currently has two sister channels; Disney Junior and Disney XD. It currently focuses on live-action programming.
- 1 History
- 2 Interactivity
- 3 Studio Disney UK
- 4 Website
- 5 Sister networks
- 6 Disney Channel services
- 7 Disney Channel programmes
- 8 Films
- 9 Presentation
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Disney Channel was originally planned to launch in 1989 on the newly launched Sky satellite service. It was featured in much of the promotional material surrounding the launch of Sky Television and the Astra satellite. The joint venture with Sky collapsed May 1989 after discussion about the venture had been taking place since November 1988, but Disney felt it was no longer on equal footing on "decision-making responsibility" in 50-50 partnership. Disney was supposed to start up two channels, but when the talks broke down, Sky issued a lawsuit against Disney, claiming £1.5 billion in damages. The suit was later settled with Disney selling its stake in the joint venture back to Sky, and agreeing to licence its movie library for a five-year period.
Disney and the Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Télédiffusion (or CLT) later launched children's channel Super RTL as a joint venture in Germany in April 1995, before The Disney Channel finally launched in the UK on the Sky platform on 1 October 1995 as the first Disney Channel in Europe and outside the United States.  Its first broadcast was the British television premiere of the animated feature The Jungle Book.
In 1997, Disney Channel adopted a new Mickey Mouse head shape logo. The idents mainly used red and blue colors on irregularly shaped objects that formed the logo.
On 1 May 1999, another new logo was launched, with three symmetrical circles forming the iconic Mickey Mouse head shape.
On 29 September 2000, Disney Channel launched two sister channels, a preschool-oriented Playhouse Disney (now known as Disney Junior) and the now-defunct 24-hour cartoon channel Toon Disney (Which eventually got replaced with Disney Cinemagic which itself became Sky Movies Disney). A one-hour timeshift of Disney Channel also launched on the same day. All 3 were only available to Sky subscribers. NTL and Telewest customers could only receive the main Disney Channel. On all platforms, the Disney Channel package was a premium offering, requiring an additional subscription fee in order to view, though Sky subscribers could receive the channels for free if they also subscribed to the full Sky Movies package (a.k.a. Sky Movies World, with contained 4 Sky Premier channels, 5 Sky MovieMax channels and 2 Sky Cinema channels). Despite the launch of Playhouse Disney, Disney Channel continued to air a block of Playhouse Disney-branded preschool programmes during school mornings, although in later years was greatly reduced. On 15 March 2003, a new logo and graphics were introduced.
In early 2006, Sky and Disney were locked in ongoing negotiations over a new contract for carriage on the former's digital satellite television service. The previous, ten-year deal, which was inked while Sky floated on the stock exchange in 1994, was temporarily extended whilst both sides attempted to reach an agreement. Sky was understood to have been seeking a substantially reduced payment towards the kids broadcaster. A new agreement was reached on 27 February 2007. As a result, on 16 March, changes were made to the Disney services in the UK. Disney Channel and Playhouse Disney ceased to be premium add-on channels and instead operated as part of basic-level subscription packages (such as Sky's "Kids Mix".) A new premium service, subscription channel Disney Cinemagic, was launched to take the Disney slot in the Sky Movies premium bundle; Toon Disney was replaced with Cinemagic, Toon closed at 6:00am and Cinemagic launched at 10:00am. Disney Channel's main one-hour timeshift, Disney Channel +1 closed and was replaced with Disney Cinemagic +1. However, Disney Channel +1 subsequently returned on 26 June 2006.
On 27 October 2006, Disney Channel was added to Top Up TV Anytime, a service that downloads programming overnight from various channels to a Thomson DTI 6300-16. In 2007, Disney added more VoD content to Virgin Media's service. On 22 November 2007, it was announced Disney Channel would join the lineup for Picnic, BSkyB's proposed new pay-TV service for DTT.
It began broadcasting in 16:9 widescreen on 14 May 2010. A new set of program mini-idents that would play before the program would start were launched on 11 September 2010. On 1 September 2011, a new logo was adopted. On 15 September 2011, an HD version launched on Sky.
On 1 June 2012, Disney Channel introduced a refreshed logo and new bumpers and promo layouts. In July 2013, a new website was launched with On Demand services and commercial advertisements started to air.
On 18 July 2014, the channel has adapted the current logo. on April 2017, the channel has new bumpers and logo.
Disney Channel used to have an interactive television service on Sky, in which viewers are able to press the red button on their Sky remote to access information about TV series, character profiles, detailed TV listings, quizzes, and hundreds of messages submitted by viewers, and was branded as part of Studio Disney. The interactive service also includes links to a small selection of games. Some can be played as 'overlay' games, with the channel video continuing in the background; others are accessible via a link to a Disney-branded section of BSkyB's Sky Games interactive service. The overlay games are developed by Pushbutton and French game developers Visiware. The interactive service was designed and built by Pushbutton, and went live in September 2007 and was taken off in September 2011  replacing the old service created by Tamblin. Previously, Disney Channel also had a Teletext service, consisting of about 200 pages, known as Disney Text.
Disney Channel used to be translated in British Sign Language on its late evening programming.
Studio Disney UK
Studio Disney was a live TV show, broadcast on Disney Channel UK. It launched in September 1997 as Disney Channel UK Live, and relaunched as Studio Disney on 23 April 2001. Some of the presenters included; Nigel Mitchell, Emma Lee, Jean Anderson, Mark Rumble, Amy Garcia, David "Ollie" Oliver, James McCourt, Jemma James (now Jemma Forte) and Leah Charles (now Leah Charles-King). Studio Disney ran on weekdays, usually from 16:00 to 19:00, in direct competition with similar services offered by CBBC, CITV and Nickelodeon. The show featured a team of between two and six presenters who came on air between programmes, giving viewers the opportunity to call in, interact and win prizes. Studio Disney also produced many of its own short programmes, including Wish Upon a Star and Junior Journo, which were aired during the block itself and between programmes at other times. Studio Disney bowed out on 1 July 2005, in line with the disappearance of afternoon in-vision presentation on CITV and Nickelodeon the previous year and leaving the channel with a format similar to that of its American counterpart.
The live presentation of the show, would also run competitions in which viewers could win holidays, and other prizes. Special holiday competitions would be run, New Year, Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Chinese New Year, Christmas, etc.
(i.e. Mother's Day - Competition of 2003 involved Emma Lee surprising four entrants and their mothers to a special get-away.)
At other times of day, pre-recorded presentation was used, typically recorded in such a manner that viewers would believe that it was live. An example of this was breakfast segment Up (and later called Zoom!), which was hosted out-of-vision by Capital Disney presenter, and managing director Will Chambers. Another example originated from the Monster March event that ran throughout March 2002, during which the schedule featured many monster-themed shows and movies. Pre-recorded sketches featuring a Mexican dinosaur puppet named Raoul were inserted between programmes, and Raoul was given a number of his own segments on the channel over the next few years, including The Raoul Show, Good Morning Raoul and The Raoul Summer. The best sketches from The Raoul Show were made into a series of short programmes entitled The Best of Raoul. Raoul was even the subject of a question on the 20th Anniversary edition of Trivial Pursuit.
In 2002, Studio Disney created its own music talent show called "Star Ticket" which aimed to create a five piece pop band, aged between 11-14, to perform at the Disney Channel Kids Awards 2002. Auditions were held in Edinburgh, London, Cardiff and Liverpool. The viewing public were able to vote for their desired band members, the name of the band and the name of the song they would be performing. The winning group, called X5 (pronounced times five), went on to record the song "Beyond the Stars" plus a music video. It has been presumed that they had split as nothing was heard from the band since the award ceremony. The show was presented by David "Ollie" Oliver and Jemma Forte.
Disney Channel's website features information, games, interactive features and contact details and submission forms. The site has been made entirely in Adobe Flash since 1 May 1999, the same day as the 1999 re-brand. In May 2003, it was completely redesigned to fit with the other Disney Channel's worldwide after the global re-brand. In 2007, it was added to disneychannel.co.uk, when the website's homepage was revamped to fit the look of the American site. In 2011, along with the other Disney sites, it was revamped. In September 2011, it was revamped once again, due to the new logo.
Disney XD is aimed primarily at male pre-teens and teenagers 6–14 years of age, its programming consists of original first-run television series, current and former original series and made-for-cable films from sister network Disney Channel, theatrically-released movies, and live-action and animated programs from other distributors.
Disney Junior (formerly known as Playhouse Disney) is a pre-school kids channel. The channel launched on 29 September 2000 as Playhouse Disney, the same day as the now defunct sister channel, Toon Disney.
Sky Cinema Disney
Defunct sister networks
Disney Channel services
- iTunes - The channel regularly updates its iTunes library with the latest episodes. Some of these are available in HD.
- Disney Channel On Demand is the channel's video-on-demand service, offering select episodes of the channel's original series. It is available from On Demand), Virgin Media and BT Vision.
Disney Channel programmes
Most watched episodes
|Rank||Series title||Episode title||No. of viewers||Date|
|1||Hannah Montana||Wherever I Go||621,000||27 May 2011|
|2||Good Luck Charlie||Special Delivery||602,000||12 October 2012|
|3||Wizards of Waverly Place||The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex||575,000||24 May 2013|
|4||The Suite Life on Deck||Break Up in Paris||543,000||9 January 2011|
|5||Wizards of Waverly Place||Wizards Exposed||535,000||18 February 2011|
|6||The Suite Life of Zack & Cody||Summer of Our Discontent||531,000||21 September 2007|
|7||Wizards of Waverly Place||Wizards Unleashed/Puppy Love (UK)||521,000||29 October 2010|
|8||The Suite Life of Zack & Cody||Graduation||513,000||21 September 2007|
|9||The Suite Life on Deck||Lost at Sea||513,000||21 February 2010|
|10||The Suite Life of Zack & Cody||Sink or Swim||488,000||21 September 2007|
Disney Channel traditionally broadcast most of its movies, including Walt Disney Studios movies and Disney Channel Original Movies, on the main channel. These were usually shown daily at 7pm under The Wonderful World of Disney (earlier The Magical World of Disney) brand. On weekends, the channel would show at least three movies per a day. The Saturday Movie Showdown took place every Saturday morning, wherein viewers were invited to vote for one of a selection of three movies on the channel's website, the winner being aired in the 11am slot. Starting in 2003, Latterly, a movie was transmitted in widescreen with Dolby Digital Surround Sound on Sundays at 4pm - much of the channel's other content was in 4:3 at this time.
However, when Disney Cinemagic launched in March 2006, The Wonderful World of Disney and the Sunday widescreen movie were axed, and all Walt Disney Studios movies were moved over to the new channel, such that they can remain as a premium add-on. However, Disney Channel Original Movies are still broadcast regularly on Disney Channel, with premieres of new ones shown on Friday evenings a short while after their premiere in the US (usually a few weeks, though in some cases, such as Full Court Miracle, the delay can be up to several years - Tiger Cruise, which had its US premiere in 2004, has yet to be shown in the UK as of November 2015). As a result of these changes, movies are now shown more frequently across Disney's channels overall, and non-Cinemagic subscribers can now see Disney Channel Original Movies.
Most watched films
No. of Viewers
|1||High School Musical 2||1,336,000||21 September 2007|
|2||Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie||1,044,000||21 October 2009|
|3||High School Musical||835,000||22 September 2006|
|4||Descendants||827,000||25 September 2015|
|5||The Suite Life Movie||780,000||17 February 2012|
|6||The Santa Clause||740,000||7 December 1997|
|7||The Lion King||710,000||14 December 1997|
|8||Descendants 2||695,000||20 October 2017|
|9||Starstruck||683,000||14 May 2010|
|10||Toy Story||680,000||4 April 1999|
In October 1995, the Disney Channel in the UK's logo was a simplified Mickey Mouse head, with 'The Disney Channel' text on the bottom. Six idents for the 1995 logo were created by Lambie-Nairn. In February 1997, the channel dropped 'The' from its name, with a new splat logo, for the launch of Disney Channel France. In 1997, Disney Channel France adopted the same logo and idents. In 1999, Disney Channel refreshed its identity as it launched its new "Circles" logo, with symmetrical circles forming the iconic Mickey Mouse head shape. The new ident set was created in CGI animation, with various objects forming the Disney Channel logo. The new identity package was created by French graphic design company, GÉDÉON. According to GÉDÉON, the new logo is also described as an "experimental field for animation". More than 30 illustrators, animators, graphic designers, directors, and motion graphic studios, such as Gamma Studios, Estructura7, Velvet mediendesign, and Pedall, collaborated with the project.
When the new look was first launched, nine idents air on the same day. Some of the idents were also used in its sister channel, Playhouse Disney.
- Richard W. Stevenson (16 May 1989). "Murdoch Broadcast Concern Sues Disney". The New York Times.
- "Number 2043". SWEDEN CALLING DXERS. 16 May 1989.
- Kathyrn Harris (3 June 1989). "Disney Settles Fraud Suit With Murdoch's News Corp". The Los Angeles Times.
- "Walt Disney International Television Names Disney Channel-UK Executives". The Free Library.
- "Selena Gomez marks Disney Channel HD launch". Digital Spy. 6 July 2011.
- "Pushbutton creates interactivity for Disney Channel UK".
- BARB, via  Archived 18 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
- GÉDÉON - Disney Channel Corporate Design 1999
- Broadcast Now : Disney Channel UK launches autumn schedule and new idents