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Disney Channel (British and Irish TV channel)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Disney Channel
DC 2014 hero.svg
CountryUnited Kingdom
Republic of Ireland
Isle of Man
Channel Islands
HeadquartersChiswick, England
Picture format1080i HDTV
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
Timeshift serviceDisney Channel +1
OwnerThe Walt Disney Company Limited
Disney Channels Worldwide
(Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International)
Sister channels
Launched1 October 1995; 26 years ago (1995-10-01)
Closed30 September 2020; 14 months ago (2020-09-30)[1]
Former namesThe Disney Channel
(until 1 March 1997)
(at time of closure)
Virgin Media
Channel 724
Channel 725 (+1)
TV Choice On Demand
Virgin Media IrelandChannel 613
Channel 633 (HD)
Sky (UK & Ireland)Channel 609 (SD/HD)
Channel 610 (+1)
Channel 644 (SD)
TalkTalk Plus TVChannel 480
BT / YouViewChannel 480
PlusnetChannel 480
Eir VisionChannel 609
Streaming media
Sky GoWatch live
(UK and Ireland only)
Virgin TV Anywhere(UK)Watch live (UK only)
Virgin TV Anywhere (Ireland)Watch live (Ireland only)

Disney Channel was a British and Irish television kids channel that aired from 1 October 1995 to 30 September 2020. A one-hour timeshift service called Disney Channel +1 was available on Sky and Virgin Media. At the time of closure, the channel had two sister channels; Disney Junior and Disney XD.



Disney Channel was originally planned to launch in 1989 on Sky. 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 in 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.[2][3] The suit was later settled with Disney selling its stake in the joint venture back to Sky, and agreeing to license its movie library for a five-year period.[4]


In early 1995, Disney formed a new 50-50 partnership with Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Télédiffusion. In doing so, Disney and CLT both launched a new jointly-owned family-targeted channel, Super RTL, in April 1995, broadcasting throughout Germany and portions of Austria and Luxembourg. 7 months later, the Disney Channel eventually launched in the UK on Sky on 1 October 1995, being the first Disney Channel launched outside the United States.[5] Its first broadcast was the 1967 film The Jungle Book.[6]

In September 1997, The Disney Channel gained a new look and logo, to coincide with the launch of its French counterpart, and The Disney Channel's name was shortened to simply "Disney Channel". By this point, Disney Channel began to air more programmes than movies, although the latter was still the main focus. Around this time, a pre-school block called the "Under-Fives block" began airing, featuring mostly acquired preschool programming. A new set of idents were introduced in 1998.

In 1999, Disney Channel gained a new look, and in September 1999, a Playhouse Disney branded programming block was launched, being the first Playhouse Disney to launch outside the United States.

In September 2000, Disney Television International launched three additional channels for Sky Digital: a standalone Playhouse Disney channel, Toon Disney and a one-hour timeshift to Disney Channel. Until 2002 and 2003 respectively, these networks were not available on NTL or Telewest, both of which at the time could still only receive Disney Channel. Likely due to this, the Playhouse Disney block remained airing until July 2004.

In March 2006, 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[7] Disney Cinemagic was launched to take the Disney slot in the Sky Movies premium bundle; Toon Disney was replaced with Disney Cinemagic, Toon Disney closed at 6am and Disney Cinemagic launched at 10am. Disney Channel +1 closed and was replaced with Disney Cinemagic +1. However, Disney Channel +1 subsequently returned in June 2006.

In October 2006, Disney Channel was added to Top Up TV Anytime that downloads programming overnight from various channels to a Thomson DTI 6300-16. In 2007, Disney added more On Demand content to Virgin Media's service. In 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 in May 2010. A new set of program mini-idents that would play before the program would start were launched in September 2010. In September 2011, a new logo was adopted. The same month, an HD version launched on Sky.[8] In July 2013, a new website was launched with On Demand services and commercial advertisements started to air, and a year later the channel received a full relaunch.


Disney announced on 25 June 2020 that Disney Channel, along with its sister channels Disney XD and Disney Junior, would close in the UK on 1 October 2020, after exactly 25 years on-air, due to Disney failing to reach a new carriage deal with Sky and Virgin Media. The channel's content was transferred exclusively to Disney+.[1]

The final programme to be broadcast before its closure was the 2019 film Descendants 3. It then showed the music video I Want This from the series Raven's Home, followed by an ident which froze for a few seconds and then cut to an image slide featuring the channel's logo, signalling the channel's official shutdown.[9][better source needed]

The channels were removed from Virgin Media on 29 September, the day before the shutdown,[10][better source needed] with CBBC and CBeebies taking the network's former Sky EPG slots on 1 October.[citation needed]


The majority of the channel's programming schedule was formed from the syndication of television series from its American counterpart. However, the channel did occasionally act as host for homegrown British series, including The Evermoor Chronicles,[11] The Lodge[12] and 101 Dalmatian Street.[13]


Disney Channel formerly had an interactive television service on Sky, in which viewers were able to press the red button on their Sky remote to access information about their series, character profiles, detailed television listings, quizzes, and messages submitted by viewers.


Disney Channel's website featured information, games, interactive features and contact details and submission forms. The site had been made entirely in Adobe Flash since 1 May 1999, the same day as the 1999 re-brand. In May 2003, it was redesigned to fit with the other Disney Channel's worldwide after the global re-brand. In 2007, it was added to, 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.


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 identifications for the 1995 logo were created by Lambie-Nairn. In February 1997, the channel dropped 'The' from its name, with a new logo, for the launch of Disney Channel France. In 1997, Disney Channel France adopted the same logo and identifications. 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 set identification 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".[14] 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.[15]

When the new look was first launched, nine identifications aired on the same day. Some of the identifications were also used on its sister channel, Playhouse Disney.


  1. ^ a b Alexander, Julia (25 June 2020). "Disney is eliminating Disney Channel in the UK, moving titles to Disney Plus". The Verge. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  2. ^ Richard W. Stevenson (16 May 1989). "Murdoch Broadcast Concern Sues Disney". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "Number 2043". SWEDEN CALLING DXERS. 16 May 1989.
  4. ^ Kathyrn Harris (3 June 1989). "Disney Settles Fraud Suit With Murdoch's News Corp". The Los Angeles Times.
  5. ^ "Walt Disney International Television Names Disney Channel-UK Executives". The Free Library.
  6. ^ "The Disney Channel UK Launch (1st October 1995)".
  7. ^ "Disney in £130m deal with Sky as ESPN launches in the UK". Campaign. 27 February 2006.
  8. ^ "Selena Gomez marks Disney Channel HD launch". Digital Spy. 6 July 2011.
  9. ^ "Disney Channel (UK) - Final Closedown - 1 October 2020 - YouTube". Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  10. ^ Mullins, Daniel (1 October 2020). "Disney Channel UK: Virgin Media Feed Shutdown" – via YouTube.
  11. ^ Barraclough, Leo (17 March 2014). "Disney Greenlights England-set Spooky House Tale 'Evermoor'". Variety. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  12. ^ Seán Brosnan (24 March 2016). "Disney Channel Series The Lodge Begins Filming in Northern Ireland". IFTN. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  13. ^ Whittock, Jesse. "Disney heads to 101 Dalmatian Street". TBI Vision. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  14. ^ GÉDÉON - Disney Channel Corporate Design 1999
  15. ^ Broadcast Now : Disney Channel UK launches autumn schedule and new idents

External links

This page was last edited on 6 December 2021, at 23:50
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