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The Children's Channel (TCC)
Tcclogo.png
Launched 1 September 1984 (launched)
1 May 2010 (Re-launched)
Closed 3 April 1998 (UK)
October 2000 (Nordic Feed)
Owned by Flextech
Website tcc.co.uk (closed in 2005)

The Children's Channel was an early cable channel which began broadcasting on 1 September 1984 in the United Kingdom. It also became available on the Astra satellite in 1989. From 1992, a later segment of the channel between 5-7 PM was renamed & rebranded as TCC which aimed its focus to teenagers. (This segment was not at first available on some cable networks which continued to take a feed from Eutelsat that continued to end at 5 pm.) The segment, which later began transmitting half an hour earlier at 4.30, featured a number of home-produced programmes, such as CDQ (Compact Disc Quiz) and TVFM. During the day, however the channel continued its focus on younger children, by and large remaining the same, and a large amount of its programming output was still archive animated shows from the 1980s, many of which were also shown on Sky One. The focus on teenage-oriented programming became more prominent and eventually the channel was known as 'TCC' all day. One of the first in house produced programmes for TCC was 'Ike and Webber'. This featured two youth Puppets 'Ike and Webber' created and performed by Hands Up Puppets who linked some of TCC's Programmes. The pair spawned other 'Ike and Webber' vehicles including youth City Guide 'Camcorder Cities' which included visits to, Paris, York, Amsterdam, Bolougne, Dublin, Blackpool. A feature of these programmes was the adventurous ways that the Puppets were recorded on location in the real world and the 'extreme puppeteering' employed. They were filmed flying in Helicopters, abseiling, canoeing, nightclubbing and riding on Rollercoasters. These programmes were produced by Karen Ward. In 1995, the channel introduced a strand for toddlers and pre-schoolers called Tiny TCC which eventually moved over to Living and was known as Tiny Living until the channel's rebrand.

In 1997, the programmes for older children were split off into a separate TV station called Trouble, although now timesharing with Bravo. After the TCC / Trouble break away after 5PM TCC then timeshared with the new network The Family Channel, which outlived TCC and eventually transformed into the game show channel Challenge. After this point, TCC reverted to the original name of The Children's Channel (then later renaming back to TCC yet again) and continued screening programmes for younger children, running side by side with Trouble for nearly a year, before eventually closing down UK operations unexpectedly on 3 April 1998 at 17:00. However due to a pre-agreed contract signed some years before to broadcast the channel in Scandinavia until the year 2000 Flextech created a commercial free version of TCC (known as TCC Nordic) to fulfil this requirement and this continued to broadcast until October 2000 as arranged before finally ceasing transmission. Upon TCC UK's closure UK cable operator Cable & Wireless carried the TCC Nordic feed for a few months due to the company’s anger at the closure of TCC on such short notice. The Nordic feed could also be received on satellite TV in the UK by re-aligning the dish to 1° west but the signal was encrypted by EuroCrypt. The service's existence was only fulfilling a requirement therefore it was totally automated. Meaning that it was just the same 4 weeks of programming (including show trailers) on a constant loop.

In its day The Children's Channel created some of its own original programming. Connect 4 and The Super Mario Challenge were popular tea-time quiz shows. Some other 'in-between' show segments included Link Anchor Man an animated spoof of an American newsreader who would read out viewers letters and give a response. Another completely computer generated segment was Fact Or Fib were a story was read out and you would be given 30 seconds to decide whether what you had just been told was Fact or Fib before the answer was revealed. The station had two programme strands on weekdays from 1992 to 1995, one of which was "Ratkan" (in 1992-3; followed by Ratkan II in 1993-4 and Ratkan 3 in 1994-5), shown from 06:00-09:00, before school, and from 15:15-17:00, after school. The morning programme was repeated from 11:00 to 14:00. A strand for pre-schoolers, "It's Droibee Time", aired 09:00-11:00. Both strands were based on a spaceship called the Ratkan, and were staffed by a human presenter these included Tommy Boyd, Mark Speight and Sophie Aldred with "droids", puppets designed to look like androids. These were called Veed and Void and the Droibees, Dreeb and Droib. Sometimes joined by other animal Puppets including 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 TV Talent made an appearance or got an early break working on these Series including Konnie Huq then awaiting news of her University place. Some of today's TV Honcho's and Producers also got valuable early TV Producing experience on these Series including Lisa Opie, Tim Low, Karen Ward and Mike Crosby. During school holidays, Ratkan aired 07:00-12:00, with It's Droibee Time off air. A live action quiz programme, "Around the World in 80 Seconds", was produced for the channel in 1993-4. 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 history of their chosen country. The top team received a prize of a four-day trip to the then-new Euro Disney.

It is largely cited in UK animation circles that Jetix UK (formerly Fox Kids UK, now Disney XD UK) is the spiritual successor of TCC in spite there being no relation (In terms of companies or shows aired on either channels) between the two. TCC commissioned the first series of Dennis the Menace (from The Beano comic). This was a puppet show using green screen. This version of Dennis The Menace should not be confused with the BBC commissioned cartoon series produced by HIT. This was later shown on Fox Kids UK, and is now on the CBBC Channel.

Due to popular demand, TCC will be revived on May 1, 2010.

Broadcast hours

In its early days, TCC broadcast between 5 am and 3 pm and timeshared with Bravo on many cable operators. On 6 February 1989 it started broadcasting on Astra 1A between 5 am and 10 am on weekdays and between 5 am and 12 pm on weekends, timesharing with Lifestyle. Then, it went on to broadcast from 6 am – 5 pm. In 1992, it started at 6 am and ended at 7 pm, but then went back to its original timeslot one year later.

Programmes

External links

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