Disney Channel (UK & Ireland)

Disney Channel (UK & Ireland)
Disney Channel
Disney Channel wordmark.svg
Launched 1 October 1995
Owned by Disney-ABC Television Group
Picture format 4:3/16:9 576i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Audience share 0.4%
0.2% (+1) (June 2011, BARB)
Country United Kingdom
Headquarters Chiswick, London
Formerly called The Disney Channel
(until 1 March 1997)
Sister channel(s) Disney Cinemagic
Disney XD
Disney Junior
Timeshift service Disney Channel +1
Website www.disneychannel.co.uk
Top Up TV On-demand via Top Up TV Anytime
Sky Channel 609
Channel 610 (+1)
Channel 609 (HD Customers) Channel 635 (Standard edition for HD customers)
Virgin Media Channel 724
Channel 725 (+1)
and TV Choice On Demand
UPC Ireland Channel 613
Smallworld Cable Channel 609
Channel 610 (+1)
BT Vision Programmes available on-demand
Internet television
Sky Go Watch live (UK & Ireland only)
Virgin Media Player Watch on demand (UK only)

Disney Channel is a children's entertainment channel available in the United Kingdom and 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 three sister channels; Disney Cinemagic, Disney Junior and Disney XD.



Disney Channel had an interactive television service on Sky. Viewers who press the red button on their Sky remote control are able to access information about shows, character profiles, detailed TV listings, quizzes, and hundreds of messages submitted by viewers.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[1] 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 carry the British version of sign language on its late evening programming. All of Disney Channel's shows are now Audio Described on Sky.

History and availability

1989: Early years

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. Due to an apparent dispute, the launch was cancelled. Sky Television filed a lawsuit against the Walt Disney Company for not launching the channel.The Lawsuit Was Closed Later.[2]

The channel appeared on 1 October 1995. At first the channel's broadcasting hours were 06:00 to 22:00 with Sky Movies Gold airing during the station's downtime.

1997-1999: Switch to Sky Digital and refresh

With the launch of Sky Digital in 1998 and the launch of Disney Channel France on March 1997, Disney Channel dropped 'The' from its name, and revamped its look, using a new logo and new idents using the red and blue colors in irregularly round objects to form the logo.

1999-2003: New millennium re-brand

On 1 May 1999, Disney Channel UK revealed its new logo, with simple circles forming the Mickey Mouse head. The splat logo (from 1997) is still in use, but using the new logostyle. New idents were created in CGI (unlike the live-action ones used in 1997), including two yo-yo's and a spinning top. two spotlights and a discoball, two fans and a sun, three raindrops, three pumpkins, and two green olives and a purple grape. The new logo and idents were carried to Disney Channel international networks launched during that era (including Australia, Latin America, Italy, France, Asia, Spain, and Germany).

Also on 29 September 2000, Disney Channel launched two sister channels, a pre-school oriented Playhouse Disney and the now-defunct 24-hour cartoon channel Toon 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 (aka 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 continue to air a block of Playhouse Disney-branded preschool programmes during school mornings, although has in recent years been greatly reduced. All of Disney Channel's sister channels also has the 1999 look of Disney Channel, but in 2D.

Most of the 1999 idents are preserved in YouTube, while others are preserved in other websites, such as the official GÉDÉON website.

2003-2007: The global revamp

On 15 March 2003, Disney Channel UK adopted Disney Channel US's new logo (designed by CA Square), along with new graphics.

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[citation needed]. A new agreement, reported to be worth £130 million a year[citation needed], 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 taken off the air to free up a broadcast slot for the Cinemagic channel, and has never returned; Disney Channel's main one-hour timeshift, Disney Channel +1 was initially taken off the air to free up a slot for the premium 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 new service that downloads programming from 19 channels to a special digital video recorder. In 2007 Disney have added more VoD content to Virgin Media's Service. On 22 November 2007 it was announced Disney Channel joined the lineup for Picnic, BSkyB's proposed new pay-TV service for DTT.

2007-2011: The ribbon era

In 2007, Disney Channel remodeled its looks. The logo, instead of bouncing around the screen, turned into a ribbon and swirled around the screen until forming the logo. 2007 saw the debut of two new original series, the That's So Raven spinoff Cory in the House which ended after two seasons (a possible casualty of the 2007 Writer's Guild strike, which caused freshman or sophomore series whose production was interrupted midway through the season to eventually be cancelled), and the popular Wizards of Waverly Place, starring Selena Gomez, David Henrie and Jake T. Austin.

2008 is recognized for its new series such as Phineas and Ferb, Brian O'Brian, and The Suite Life on Deck, the spin-off to The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, plus new Disney Channel Original Movies such as Camp Rock, Minutemen and The Cheetah Girls: One World. The Suite Life on Deck was the number one series in the respective categories in kids ages 6–12 and tweens ages 9–14 in 2008.

In 2009, Disney Channel launched two new series: Sonny with a Chance (the first original series shot in high definition) starring Demi Lovato in February, and JONAS starring the Jonas Brothers in May. New movies in 2009 included: Dadnapped, Hatching Pete, Princess Protection Program, and Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie. The four original movies for 2009 had the widest range of Disney Channel Stars in the networks history.

First time ever since Starstruck the Disney Channel original movie premiered in May 2010 had been displayed in a widescreen aspect ratio (16:9). A new set of programme mini-idents were launched on Saturday 11 September 2010. The theme for each ident is made for the programme. The idents previously had a polkadot background.

During this time Disney Channel chose to broadcast most of their shows in a 4:3 aspect ratio, despite much of their newer programming being produced in a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio.

2011-present: Disney Channel HD launch

Disney Channel HD Logo
Disney Channel HD.

On 1 September 2011, Disney Channel adopted the new smartphone app logo which premiered in the US in early 2010 as well as using the widescreen (16:9) format in all programming that has been produced in this format. Disney Channel HD, a simulcast of the Disney Channel in high-definition, launched on 15 September 2011 on Sky.[3] The launch was accompanied by a handful of new series including A.N.T. Farm, Friends for Change Games, the UK TV premiere of Lemonade Mouth and brand new episodes of shows such as Wizards of Waverly Place, Fish Hooks and Good Luck Charlie as part of the "New Season".[4]

Live presentation

Until recently, live presentation was an important feature of Disney Channel. The best known example of this launched in September 1997 as Disney Channel UK Live, and relaunched as Studio Disney on 1 May 1999. Presenters included: Nigel Mitchell, Emma Lee, Leah Charles, Jean Anderson, Mark Rumble, Amy Garcia, Ollie from Freefaller, James McCourt, Jemma James (now Jemma Forte). 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. For instance, a Mother's Day Competition of 2003 involved Emma Lee surprising four entrants and their mothers to a special get-away. Meanwhile, a Father's Day - Competition of 2004 involved James McCourt and Nigel Mitchell treating one lucky dad to a day at Silverstone Grand Prix track.

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 as this proved popular[citation needed], 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.

Disney Channel also held an annual awards ceremony called the Disney Channel Kids Awards. The categories were centred around music, sport, television and film. The winners in each category were voted for by viewers online. The ceremonies, hosted by Studio Disney presenters, were held at The Royal Albert Hall and London Arena. These were broadcast on Disney Channel and Channel 5 and featured performances from popular music artists such as Girls Aloud.


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 rebrand. 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.

Sister networks

Disney Cinemagic

This television channel in the United Kingdom is the premium subscription movie service available on most major platforms. The channel was launched on 16 March 2006, and carries programmes such as Lilo and Stich and Recess which were shown on its predecessor Toon Disney (UK & Ireland) The channel carries two counterparts, a timeshift channel and a HD channel.

Disney Junior

This television channel in the United Kingdom is aimed at preschool children. The channel was launched on 29 September 2000 as Playhouse Disney and carried programming such as Winnie the Pooh. The channel was rebranded as Disney Junior on 7 May 2011. The channel carries a single counterpart, a timeshift channel.

Disney Channel services

  • iTunes

The channel regularly updates its iTunes library with the latest episodes. Some of these are available in HD.

Disney Channel programmes & highlights


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,[verification needed] 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 and Tiger Cruise, the delay can be up to several years - the latter, which had its US premiere in 2004, has [as of 2011] never been aired in the UK). 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. In December 2010 it was announced the Disney Channel UK is going to premiere two movies on that month; Den Brother and 16 Wishes, which is very rare for Disney Channel. The most recent movie that has premiered is Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension which premiered on Friday, 30 September 2011. The next upcoming movies to premiere will be Good Luck Charlie, It's Christmas!, which will premiere Friday 16th December 2011, and Tinker Bell and the Pixie Hollow Games in December 17th 2011.

Talent shows

Main Article: Disney Channel UK Talent Shows


In October 1995, The Disney Channel UK's logo was a simple Mickey Mouse head, with 'The Disney Channel' text on the bottom. Six idents for the 1995 logo were created by Lambie-Nairn.

On 28 February 1997, the channel dropped 'The' from its name, with a new splat logo.

On 26 March 1997, Disney Channel France adopted the same logo and idents.

On 1 May 1999, to celebrate the new millennium, Disney Channel launched its new logo, with simple circles forming the logo itself. The new idents were created in CGI, with various objects forming the Disney Channel logo, such as two yo-yos and a spinning top, two fans and a sun, and two stopwatches and a basketball. The new identity package was created by France-based design agency, GÉDÉON. Other design agencies, such as Gamma Studios, ManvsMachine, and Pedall, helped with the project.

Here is a list of Disney Channel idents used in 1999:

Name Description
Discoball Seven disco lights move to the rhythm of the music, which then transistions to a discoball with two disco lights at the top.
Raindrops The logo is formed from three raindrops in a glass window.
Pumpkins Two pumpkins ride a roller coaster, then they bounce to another pumpkin in the end.
Chrome Blob The logo is formed from two silver blobs and a blue one on a metal background.
Laboratory (Glass Charger) A laboratory is seen where two green blobs are carried to a plasma glass sphere, forming the logo. This ident is created by Marc du Pontavice, who is the creator of Oggy and the Cockroaches. Also, this ident won an award in Disney Channel France's Les Grands Prix De L'imagination.
Peacock A peacock shows off its feathers, which contains the Disney Channel logo formed by two yellow circles and a blue circle. A night version of this ident is also created.
Moon A moon is seen in a night forest as comets strike the clouds, forming the logo.
Video Game Two red spheres race in a video-game style, then when the spheres finish the race, the Disney Channel logo appears, which is formed by the spheres and a gold medal.
Computer A computer uses a few programs until two orange mini-discs and a blue optical disc appears on the disc drive. A snippet of the 'Video Game' ident also appears here.
Grapes A picnic table is seen with a plate with two green olives and a purple grape.
Chameleon A chameleon chases a blue bug, which then the bug sticks to the tongue and lands on the chameleon's eyes, forming the logo. This ident is originally used by Disney Channel Latin America.
Chess All the chess pieces on a chess board battle each other, until two black pawns and a white king form the logo.
Picnic Yellow plates arrange on a picnic blanket, and a apple falls over the plates and another apple falls over the first apple and a plate, forming the Disney Channel logo.
Spinning Top A blue multicolor top spins on a purple gradient background, then two yellow-green yoyo's spin above the top and their ropes are tangled on the top, forming the logo. This was the last of the idents to be aired on Disney Channel France.
Sun Cooler The sun heats the nearby planets, then two fans blow the sun's rays, and then the fans position over the sun. This ident is stop-animated.
Bubble Paper A white paper sphere submerges in a pool of multicolor water, then in the end, two green bubbles and the sphere float over the water. Not to be confused with Disney Channel UK's Bubbles ident from 1995.
Underground Turnips Two red turnips and a yellow round mass of roots form the logo in an underground soil background.
Soccerball A soccer ball is bouncing on a soccer stadium, which then crashes into a scoreboard with two circles. Although this ident is originally created for sport-related programs, this ident joined the regular line-up along with the Basketball ident on July 1999.
Spotlights The logo is formed from two yellow spotlights and an orange spotlight on a red curtain.
Temple The Disney Channel logo is formed from two coiled snakes and a golden boulder inside an ancient temple.
Basketball Four stopwatches play with a basketball on a court, then one of the stopwatches shoot the ball onto two silver stopwatches. This ident is originally used for special programs, then it joins the line-up along with Soccerball on July 1999.
Christmas Window A shape of the logo is made on a snowy window, which shows a winter forest with Santa flying above. The completed logo is the two small circles on a black sky color and the bigger circle on a blue gradient color with a cottage seen in the circle. First used in December 1999, then joined the regular line-up on January 2000.
Christmas Wreath A snowball crashes on a Christmas tree, causing two red baubles and a green wreath to fall on the ground, forming the logo. Originally used on December 1999, then joined the regular idents on January 2000.
Popcorn The logo is formed from two film reels and a popcorn bucket. Frequently used before movies, then used on regular programming on January 2000.
UFO Two green/silver UFO's and a green planet form the logo on a space background.
Flowers The logo is formed from two pink flowers and a yellow sunflower. First used in spring 2000.
Paint Blob A red blob and a yellow blob separate to form the Disney Channel logo.
Purple Blob A purple splat expands and causes two yellow blobs to appear. Used for Art Attack programs, then used as a regular ident on March 2000.
Paint Splat The Disney Channel logo is formed from two red splats and a blue splat. Used as a generic logo, then as an ident on August 1999.

In March 2000, Disney Channel France, who had adapted the same idents, "ran out of logos", and did a contest called Les Grands Prix De L'imagination, in which animators from all around France had to make new idents for Disney Channel International Networks, and two winners would have their idents shown on the French channel. The winners were Marc du Pontavice, the creator of Oggy and the Cockroaches (who did the "Glass Charger/Laboratory" ID for the 1999 line-up), and Eric Berthier (who did the "Alien" ID for the 1997 package).[5]

In March 2003, Disney Channel adopted the same new logo as Disney Channel in US.

On the 1 September 2011, Disney Channel adapted the new smartphone app logo as well as showing all programming available in a widescreen format, if the format is available.


  1. ^ "Pushbutton creates interactivity for Disney Channel UK". http://www.pushbutton.tv/html/news/article_0001.php?UID=43. 
  2. ^ "Number 2043". SWEDEN CALLING DXERS. 16 May 1989. http://ftp.funet.fi/pub/dx/text/NEWS/SCDX/scdx2043.txt. 
  3. ^ "Selena Gomez marks Disney Channel HD launch". Digital Spy. 6 July 2011. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/broadcasting/news/a328603/selena-gomez-marks-disney-channel-hd-launch.html. 
  4. ^ "Disney grows HD network line-up". C21 Media. 6 July 2011. http://www.c21media.net/news/detail.asp?area=4&article=61594. 
  5. ^ Disney Channel France - Les Grands Prix De L'imagination 2000

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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