The Children's Channel

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The Children's Channel (TCC)
The Children's Channel.svg
CountryUnited Kingdom
Broadcast areaEurope
Middle East
Launched1 September 1984; 38 years ago (1 September 1984)
Closed3 April 1998; 25 years ago (3 April 1998) (Europe, Middle East and Africa)
5 October 1998; 24 years ago (5 October 1998) (UK cable, Nordic feed)
30 September 2000; 22 years ago (30 September 2000) (Nordic)
Replaced byTrouble
Nickelodeon (Cablelink)
Fox Kids (Cable & Wireless)
WebsiteWayback Archive

The Children's Channel, also known as TCC, was a British-based pan-European children's television channel in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, which was owned by Flextech in London, England, UK. It began broadcasting on the original Eutelsat satellite on 1 September 1984.


Early years[edit]

The Children's Channel was launched on the original Eutelsat satellite on 1 September 1984, almost exclusively to cable households owing to the low proliferation of domestic satellite dishes in Europe, the Middle East and Africa at the time. The channel was owned by Starstream (a joint venture of British Telecom, DC Thomson, Thames Television and Thorn EMI) and worked closely with Warner-Amex. The channel was directed by Richard Wolfe, who had previously worked at Warner. "The Children's Channel" was created according to the old Nickelodeon concept (previously owned by Warner-Amex Cable Communications).[1][2] The office was located in London at 6/7 D'Arblay Street.[3]

In March 1989, The Children's Channel started airing free-to-air on the SES-owned Astra 1A satellite,[4] airing from 5.00am to 10.00am on weekdays and from 5.00am to 12.00pm on weekends, time-sharing with Lifestyle. Following the launch of the Astra 1B satellite in 1991, The Children's Channel expanded to broadcast until 7.00pm each day, time-sharing with JSTV.

Change of ownership[edit]

In 1990, Flextech acquired its first stake in the company,[5][6] beating United Artists Cable International to gain a stake. In 1991, United bought its own stake in The Children's Channel and won the management contract to run it.[7] In late 1993, Flextech held talks with Tele-Communications and acquired TCI's European programming business in exchange for shares, giving TCI a 50%-60% stake in the enlarged Flextech group.[8] The deal was completed which resulted in Flextech increasing its stake from 50.1%[9] to 75%.[10] ad by 5 June 1995, Flextech had completed its acquisition of The Children's Channel when it pirchased the remaining 25.1% stake in Starstream for £15 million.[11][12]

Later years[edit]

In 1992, The Children's Channel launched an evening block showing programming of greater interest to older children and teenagers. The segment, called simply TCC, aired from 5.00pm to 7.00pm, and featured a number of home-produced programmes, such as CDQ and TVFM, as well as American imports including Saved by the Bell. During the day, The Children's Channel continued targeting younger children, and a large amount of its programming output was still archive animated series from the 1980s. As time went on, the TCC block extended its hours, initially starting half an hour earlier at 4.30pm, until the focus on teen programmes eventually became more prominent across The Children's Channel, which became known as TCC all day long. The demographic shift repositioned the channel away from its newly established competitors Nickelodeon UK and Cartoon Network Europe, to a market not adequately covered by others.[13]

On 1 September 1993, the Sky Multichannels package was launched and it became a pay channel on satellite for the first time. Its on-air hours were cut back to 6.00am to 5.00pm so that it could share satellite space with Family Channel.

On 11 September 1995, The Children's Channel introduced a strand for toddlers and preschoolers called Tiny TCC, which aired every morning from 6.00am until 9.00am. This block was then transferred over to UK Living on 3 February 1997 and renamed Tiny Living with its airtimes being changed to 7.00–9.00am on weekdays, and 7.00–10.00am during the weekend.

In mid-1996, Flextech were in talks with Fox and News Corp to sell off a 50% stake in The Children's Channel; however, extremely lengthy negotiations made it impossible to secure a deal. Flextech tried to undertake negotiations to secure a different form of investment in The Children's Channel, but decided to refocus on the teen and youth markets instead.[14] News Corp went on to launch Fox Kids in a joint venture with sister company Sky.[15][16] This strongly affected TCC as they no longer had access to most of Fox and Saban Entertainment's library. On 3 February 1997, all the programmes targeting older children was by then airing were split off into Trouble with TCC reverted to the original name of The Children's Channel and continuing to screen programmes for younger children, running side by side with Trouble.


On 3 April 1998, the original pan-European operations of The Children's Channel on Eutelsat's Hot Bird both unexpectedly and silently closed after 14 years. Ratings had fallen massively due to competitors Nickelodeon UK, Cartoon Network Europe, Disney Channel UK and Fox Kids UK launching within three years of each other. These launches had reduced TCC's viewer share to 0.2% by its closure. The exodus of teen programmes to Trouble only accelerated its decline. Flextech officially stated that it only wished to focus on the teen market, and there were "so many other channels designed for [TCC's former target audience]". After the closure, Trouble's hours expanded to start at 7.00am.[17] Upon the closure of the pan-regional TCC Europe channel, Cable & Wireless carried the localized TCC Nordic feed for a few months due to the company's anger at the closure of TCC at such short notice. On 5 October 1998, it was taken off the service and its slot was filled by Fox Kids.[18]

However, due to a pre-agreed contract signed some years before to air The Children's Channel in Scandinavia until October 2000, Flextech created an advertisement-free version of TCC known as TCC Nordic to fulfil this requirement to air until 2000 as arranged before finally ceasing transmission. As this service was only fulfilling a contractual requirement, it was totally automated and showed exactly the same four weeks of programming on a constant loop where technical difficulties were frequent.[citation needed] On 30 September 2000, when the Nordic feed's contract expired, TCC closed entirely, more than two years after the original channel's closure.[19] The website stayed running until late 2005.


In its day, TCC created some original programming. Connect 4 and The Super Mario Challenge were popular tea-time quiz shows. Some other 'in-between' show segments included Link Anchorman, featuring Chuck the Chimp and Hopper the Penguin. All of the puppets were created and performed by Hands Up Puppets, primarily Marcus Clarke and Helena Smee. Other television talent made an appearance or got an early break working on these series, including Konnie Huq, then awaiting news of her university place.

During school holidays, RatKan was aired between 7.00am and 12.00pm, with It's Droibee Time off air.[citation needed]

Some of today's producers also got valuable early television introduction experience on these series including Lisa Opie, Tim Lowe, Karen Ward, and Mike Crosby. A live-action quiz programme, Around the World in 80 Seconds is produced for the channel in 1993–94 was hosted by Timmy Mallett as Captain Everything, schoolchildren participated in a quiz based on geography and general knowledge of particular countries, before "replaying" famous scenarios from the history of their chosen country as the top team received a prize of a four-day trip to the then-new Euro Disney.






Jack in the Box/Tiny TCC[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chalaby, Jean K. (2009). Transnational Television in Europe: Reconfiguring Global Communications Networks. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 9780857717474.
  2. ^ Chalaby, Jean K. (19 February 2009). Transnational Television in Europe: Reconfiguring Global Communications Networks. ISBN 9780857737526.
  3. ^ Cable Authority annual report and accounts 1987-88 — Ofcom Archived 2022-01-10 at the Wayback Machine // 1988
  4. ^ Bains, Geoff (11 December 2008). "Celebrating 20 years of UK satellite TV". TechRadar. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  5. ^ Guardian 18 December 1999 P28 "INTERVIEW Adam Singler and Tony Illsley" By David Teather
  6. ^ Carter, Meg (8 September 1995). "Flextech scales Scottish heights". Marketing Week. Retrieved 8 June 2022.
  7. ^ Hosking, Patrick (6 February 1994). "Profile: Jolly Roger is flying high: Roger Luard: The head of Flextech tells Patrick Hosking of blue skies ahead". The Independent. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  8. ^ "Flextech Set To Acquire TCI Programming". Telecompaper. 21 December 1993. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  9. ^ Dawtrey, Adam (27 May 1993). "Flextech inks IFE deal". Variety. Retrieved 8 June 2022.
  10. ^ "Flextech Wants To Buy TCI Unit". Telecompaper. 26 October 1993. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  11. ^ "Flextech Acquires TCC, Stake in Kindernet". Telecompaper. 5 June 1995. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  12. ^ US firms invest £92m in FlextechMay, Tony The Guardian (1959-2003); 12 May 1995;
  13. ^ "Lofts lands at Disney Channel U.K." Kidscreen. 1 June 1998. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  14. ^ "Flextech calls off planned TCC sale". Read Abstracts. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  15. ^ "0000944209-96-000334.txt".
  16. ^ "Notes To Consolidated Financial Statements" (PDF). 2002. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 May 2005. Retrieved 7 May 2023.
  17. ^ "U.K.'s TCC M.I.A." Kidscreen. 1 April 1998. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  18. ^ "CWC TO DROP CHANNELS TO MAKE ROOM FOR NEW ONES". 27 September 1998. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  19. ^ "Headlines". 17 October 2000. Archived from the original on 17 October 2000. Retrieved 7 May 2023.
  20. ^ The Times listings, 29 September-17 November 1993 and subsequent dates
  21. ^ The Times listings, 3–24 January 1994 and 14 August-4 September 1994
  22. ^ The Times listings, 29 November-27 December 1993 and 10 July-7 August 1994
  23. ^ The Guardian listings, 17 July 1989 – 29 January 1990
  24. ^ The Times listings, 11 July-28 November 1993
  25. ^ The Times listings, 1–22 November 1993 and 12 June-3 July 1994

External links[edit]