Launched 3 January 1983 (1983-01-03) (Block);
11 March 2006 (2006-03-11) (Channel)
Owned by ITV Digital Channels Ltd
(ITV plc)
Picture format 576i (4:3/16:9 SDTV)
Audience share 0.4%
(October 2011, BARB)
Analogue Channel 3
(06.00-09.25, weekends)
Freeview Channel 72
(except Wales)
Sky Channel 621
Freesat Channel 602
Astra 2D 10758V 22000 5/6
Virgin Media Channel 734
Smallworld Cable Channel 629
TalkTalk TV Channel 307
Internet television Watch live (UK only)
TVCatchup Watch live (UK only)

CITV (short for Children's ITV or Children's Independent Television) is a British television channel from ITV Digital Channels Ltd, a division of ITV plc. It broadcasts content from the CITV archive, as well as commissions and acquisitions. CITV itself is the programming block on the main ITV Network (ITV1, STV and UTV).[1]

The CITV channel broadcasts from 06:00 to 18:00. The channel previously timeshared with ITV4 until 5 February 2008 when ITV4 expanded its broadcast hours to become a full 24 hour channel. As a consequence, it moved to the Mux space on Freeview originally held by ABC1, however this means that viewers in Wales are unable to receive the channel on Freeview but is still available near the border.

The CITV channel is an extension of the original afternoon children's programming block shown on the ITV channel. "Children's ITV" began in January 1983 and originally featured pre-recorded in-vision continuity links fronted by various presenters and characters from Children's ITV programmes. The strand was broadcast live from Central Independent Television's studios in Birmingham for the first time in 1987 and started to utilise regular staff presenters. The rebranded CITV reverted to out-of-vision continuity in February 1993, voiced live by Steven Ryde, who later became a producer when the strand reverted back to in-vision presentation in May 1998 and hired new presenters. In-vision continuity was phased out again in September 2004, signalling the end of CITV presentation from Birmingham after 17 years. At the start of 2007, CITV's weekday afternoon strand on the main ITV network was axed.

CITV airs on Saturday and Sunday mornings on the ITV network between 6am and 9:25am and as part of the ITV Breakfast timeslot occupied by Daybreak on weekdays. Currently, presentation is produced by ITV Granada in Manchester, with pre-recorded continuity links voiced by Tim Dann.




Before being known as Children's ITV, the timeslot for children's programmes on the ITV Network was briefly branded as Watch IT!, which was presented live by the duty continuity announcer in each ITV region.

Co-ordinated by Central Independent Television, Children's ITV first went on air on 3 January 1983 and consisted of programmes with pre-recorded links in between, initially featuring a different presenter each month (usually from children's television – the cast of the Saturday morning show No. 73 presented during the summer of 1985 from a south coast beach, for example). Recorded links continued until 1987, when live in-vision presentation was introduced, echoing Children's BBC which had started two years earlier. The introduction of live continuity also saw the introduction of regular presenters for the strand – originally consisting of model Debbie Shore and Central continuity announcer Gary Terzza.

In 1989, the independent production company Stonewall Productions won the contract to produce Children's ITV presentation. Whereas Central had restricted links to the station's former in-vision presentation studio, Stonewall chose to present links from various areas of Central's headquarters at Broad Street in Birmingham and utilised a rotating team of presenters. Central won back the contract to produce the continuity links in April 1991, choosing to revert links back to a small in-vision studio and using one regular presenter, Tommy Boyd.


In February 1993, in-vision presentation was dropped by the new controller of CITV, Dawn Airey, with Steven Ryde providing out-of-vision continuity links featuring a wide variety of animated characters. Later in 1993, the Children's ITV name was changed to CITV, having been used in some form or another since the previous year. However, the Children's wasn't removed from the logo until September 1996, the same month a Digital On-screen Graphic (DOG) was introduced. Presentation for the service was moved in 1997 when Central moved into new, smaller studios at Gas Street in Birmingham.

This continued until Tuesday 26 May 1998, when a new in-vision service was introduced by the new controller of ITV children's output, Nigel Pickard. Steven Ryde became a producer with Stephen Mulhern and Danielle Nicholls becoming the new presentation team. A new logo was introduced (with traces of the 1991-1996 and 1996-1998 predecessors), and whenceforth the service was referred to as CiTV, until the 2006 rebrand. Initially broadcast from Studio B at Central's Gas Street studios, CITV started sharing studio space with the West Midlands edition of Central News in September 1999, allowing room for a large stylised set created by a company called Dorans Propmakers. The main studio for Central News West had previously been used for live music performances during CITV.


After the turn of the millennium, the overall quality of CITV's output began to drop considerably[citation needed] - apparent budget cuts meant fewer shows were made, repeats were much more frequent, and many flagship programmes were axed. It did not help that in 2001, CITV's controller Janie Grace publicly criticised Carlton and Granada, then the main controlling forces in the network, for underinvestment in ITV's children's service. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Grace was removed from her post just as Nigel Pickard was named as ITV's new Director of Programmes. This decline has seemingly continued, thanks to perceived rising costs of original production (and the effects on advertising revenues following the ban by OFCOM on 'junk food' advertising within children's schedules), and increasing competition from CBBC and countless digital children's channels for new programmes (especially imported cartoons, typically from America).

On-screen, various changes to the presentation team saw no less than eight additions and replacements in the space of four years. By September 2004, ITV plc announced the closure of its presentation and transmission facilities in Birmingham, signalling the end of CITV continuity from ITV Central. Presentation was relocated to Granada in Manchester and all in-vision continuity was replaced by pre-recorded voice overs. In 2006, ITV launched its own dedicated children's digital channel under the name 'CITV', although there were initial plans for the channel to be launched in 2001.

CITV also started cross-promotion with GMTV for the Ragdoll Productions series, Boohbah. The CITV channel would later simulcast and soon take over the production of GMTV's content from 2006 onwards.

The original launch date of the channel was set for 11 February, but this was pushed back by four weeks as a result of problems "clearing the digital rights to children's programming" and "comprehensive" re-branding.[2] Promos for the channel began on 20 February, including an online countdown clock, running to the channel's launch date.

As has become standard for Freeview channel launches, the channel was allocated an EPG number well before transmission started. Initially, a static 'coming soon' graphic was shown, followed by a preview video loop running from late February 2006 until the launch.[3]

The channel launched on 11 March 2006 at 9:25am, replacing the ITV News Channel on Freeview, Homechoice (now known as TalkTalk TV) and Telewest. It also launched on Sky on 8 May 2006 and NTL on the 6 June. Additionally, the channel simulcasts CITV Breakfast (previously known as GMTV2, which was originally broadcast on ITV2, then ITV4) on weekdays between 06:00 and 09:25.

On 2 November 2009, the channel was relaunched, with a new logo and new branding to match ITV1 as part of ITV plc's corporate look. The channel's preschool strand was given a dramatic overhaul, and renamed Mini CITV. Mini CITV is hosted by a group of spacemen-like beings called the Minis, who oversee presentation items on the channel. The strand's logo is similar to the first 'C' in the current CBBC logo. With the exception of weekends and holidays, Mini CITV now takes up the majority of output on the channel.

NTL and Telewest are now both known as Virgin Media.


The CITV channel launched with a full-day average of 33,000 viewers and a 2.5% share of the child audience. This put it ahead of its major commercial rivals Cartoon Network (20,000, a 1.5% share), Boomerang (28,000 a 2.1% share) and Nickelodeon (26,000 a 2.0% share). The channel peaked at 16:30 with Bratz gaining 51,000 viewers and a 3.6% share.[4] The channel took a 0.2% audience share in its first week compared to: CBBC 0.6, Cartoon Network 0.4, Boomerang 0.4% and CBeebies 1.4%. Its overall ratings share for March 2006 was 0.1%; by April 2006 this had risen to 0.2%, 0.3% followed in May. In August 2006, the channel became the most popular commercial kids channel between 06:00 and 18:00.[5] In 2011 the channel has averaged 250,000 viewers.


Programming between 06:00 and 09:25 is controlled by ITV Breakfast (previously GMTV), who, having rebranded the vast majority of their GMTV1 and 2 children's output as CITV, now use the space to simulcast their programming at weekends on the ITV Network and CITV Breakfast on weekdays.[6] ITV takes over at 09:25, controlling the rest of the day's programming. When it first launched, GMTV used to sell all the airtime for the channel, making it the first ITV plc-owned channel not to be sold by the in-house sales team. Airtime sales have now been taken back in-house by ITV.[7]

ITV's output for the channel includes many well-established programming from the long-running afternoon slot on ITV, such as My Parents Are Aliens, Jungle Run, Art Attack, Pokemon, and others, as well as new programming for the channel, such as Horrid Henry, Bookaboo and The Cool Stuff Collective. On weekdays, the channel broadcasts mainly preschool programming in the day (except during the school holidays), and programmes for school children in the late afternoon and early evening to cater for the available audience.

The CITV channel aired the last three weeks of Holly & Stephen's Saturday Showdown exclusively on Saturday mornings before the show ended on Saturday 1 July 2006. The channel had previously simulcast the show with ITV before spin-off show Holly & Stephen's Saturday Showdown: Extra aired at 11:30 exclusive to the channel.

Some of the programmes that air are sourced from different networks. ITV Breakfast's morning output on the channel and the weekend block on ITV1 is largely produced by Disney, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.

On some occasions, the channel has repeated archive animated programming dating as far back as the early 1990s, including The Adventures of Paddington Bear, Rupert, The Wombles and Wolves, Witches and Giants.

Programming blocks

This is a list of programming blocks which are currently airing on CITV.


CITV Mini CITV Other


School term
06:00 to 08:45 08:45 to 15:00 15:00 to 18:00 18:00 to 06:00
CITV Mini CITV 1 CITV 2 Off air

^1 Repeats of the previous day are shown between 09:25 and 12:00.
^2 The first 2 programmes between 15:00 and 15:30 are from the Mini CITV block.

School holidays
06:00 to 07:25 07:25 to 12:00 12:00 to 14:00 14:00 to 18:00 18:00 to 06:00
Mini CITV CITV Get Stuck In! CITV Off air


06:00 to 07:25 07:25 to 12:00 12:00 to 14:00 14:00 to 15:00 15:00 to 18:00 18:00 to 06:00
Mini CITV CITV Get Stuck In! Horrid Henry's Power Hour CITV Off air

Current blocks

Get Stuck In!

Get Stuck In! is an hour timeslot that features a mixture of shows that encourage viewers to either make something or keep active. The slot currently runs during weekends and school holidays on the CITV channel from 12:00 to 14:00.

Horrid Henry's Power Hour

Horrid Henry's Power Hour is an hour dedicated to back to back episodes of Horrid Henry. The block first launched in 2007, then after a break it came back in 2008 and then again from 2010 onwards. This block airs every Saturday and Sunday from 14:00 to 15:00.



Mini CITV is the pre-school slot on the CITV channel that airs every weekday from 08:45 to 15:00 during school term time. During weekends and school holidays it airs from 06:00 to 07:25 daily. This strand was launched on 2 November 2009, as part of a major revamp of CITV. Mini CITV features a series of animated characters called the Mini's, who are the mascots that can be seen in between all of Mini CITV's programming (similar to the 'yellow bugs' of rival CBeebies).

Programmes on Mini CITV

Online streaming

It was revealed in the CITV newsletter released on Friday 29 August 2008, that the CITV channel would be broadcasting simultaneously on the CITV website. Originally, ITV Breakfast (formerly GMTV) programming between 06:00 and 09:25 was not included. As of 2010, the website now simultaneously broadcasts all programming. This can been seen on the homepage of the website.


Presenters and announcers on CITV over the years have included:

In-vision presenters

  • Tommy Boyd (July 1983, December 1984, April 1991 – December 1992)
  • Gary Terzza (July 1985 - September 1985 & September 1987 – August 1988)
  • Debbie Shore (July 1985 - September 1985 & September 1987 – August 1988)
  • Andi Peters (Summer 1988)
  • Nicky Brown (Summer 1988)
  • Mark Granger (September 1988 – March 1989)
  • Jerry Foulkes (April – December 1989)
  • Clive Warren (Summer mornings 1989 & 1990, Afternoons; Summer 1989 & 1990)
  • Jeanne Downs (Summer mornings 1989 & 1990, Afternoons; January 1990 – March 1991)
  • Scally The Dog (puppet dog) (January 1989 – March 1991)
  • Glenn Kinsey (Summer mornings 1991, Afternoons December 1991 & December 1992 – February 1993)
  • Stephen Mulhern (May 1998 – August 2002)
  • Danielle Nicholls (May 1998 – December 2001)
  • Thomas Darvill (December 1999 – December 2001)
  • Andrea Green (December 1999 – October 2000)
  • David Leon (September 2001 – December 2002)
  • Leigh Morrison (September 2001 – December 2002)
  • Leah Charles (September 2001 – December 2003)
  • Michael Underwood (August 2002 – December 2003)
  • Tim Dixon (January – March 2003)
  • Gail McKenna (Relief January 2003, October 2003 – Staff February 2004 – March 2004)
  • Andy Jaye (January 2004 – September 2004)
  • Laura Jaye (January 2004 – September 2004)

Out-of-vision announcers

  • Steven Ryde (February 1993 – February 1998)
  • Emily Morris (March – May 1998)
  • Tim Dann (September 2004 – present)
  • Taff (May – December 2006)

Guest presenters

Relief presenters

  • Bryn Musselwhite (November 1998)
  • Liana Bridges (November 1998)
  • Vanessa Bewley (November/December 1998, January 1999 & June 1999)
  • Fearne Cotton (December 1998 & December 2000)


External links

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