Disney Channel (UK and Ireland)
|Launched||October 1, 1995|
|Owned by||Disney–ABC Television Group|
576i (16:9 SDTV)|
0.09% (+1) (September 2015 , BARB)
|Slogan||The Best Place to Be|
Republic of Ireland
The Disney Channel|
(until 1 March 1997)
|Timeshift service||Disney Channel +1|
Channel 609 (SD/HD)|
Channel 610 (+1)
Channel 631 (SD)
|Virgin Media |
Channel 725 (+1)
TV Choice On Demand
|Virgin Media Ireland||
Channel 633 (HD)
|TalkTalk Plus TV||Channel 480|
|BT / YouView||
(UK and Ireland only)
|Virgin TV Anywhere||Watch live (UK only)|
|Horizon GO||Watch live (Ireland only)|
|Now TV||Watch live (UK only)|
Disney Channel is a kids and teen's entertainment channel available in the United Kingdom and Republic of 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 two sister channels; Disney Junior and Disney XD. It currently focuses on live-action programming.
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. The joint venture with Sky collapsed 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. The suit was later settled with Disney selling its stake in the joint venture back to Sky, and agreeing to licence its movie library for a five-year period.
Super RTL launched in Germany in 1995, as a joint venture between Disney and the Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Télédiffusion (or CLT, formally the Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Radiodiffusion, or CLR). Disney finally launched in the UK on the Sky platform on 1 October 1995, as the first Disney Channel in Europe and outside the United States. But before that happened however, Disney Channel's satellite owner, SES, bought Astra 1B during its construction as it was known as Satcom K3 from GE Americom. It was launched on board the European Space Agency and Arianespace's Ariane 4 rocket on Flight V42, on March 2, 1991, to add extra capacity to the satellite television services from 19.2° east, serving Germany, the UK and Republic of Ireland.
In 1997, Disney Channel adopted a new Mickey Mouse head shape logo. The idents mainly used red and blue colors on irregularly shaped objects that formed the logo.
On 1 May 1999, another new logo was launched, with three symmetrical circles forming the iconic Mickey Mouse head shape.
On 29 September 2000, Disney Channel launched two sister channels, a preschool-oriented Playhouse Disney (now known as Disney Junior) and the now-defunct 24-hour cartoon channel Toon Disney (Which eventually got replaced with Disney Cinemagic which itself became Sky Movies 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 continued to air a block of Playhouse Disney-branded preschool programmes during school mornings, although in later years was greatly reduced. On 15 March 2003, a new logo and graphics were introduced.
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. A new agreement, reported to be worth £130 million a year, 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 replaced with Cinemagic, Toon closed at 6:00am and Cinemagic launched at 10:00am. Disney Channel's main one-hour timeshift, Disney Channel +1 closed and was replaced with 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 service that downloads programming overnight from various channels to a Thomson DTI 6300-16. In 2007, Disney added more VoD content to Virgin Media's service. On 22 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 on 14 May 2010. A new set of program mini-idents that would play before the program would start were launched on 11 September 2010. On 1 September 2011, a new logo was adopted. On 15 September 2011, an HD version launched on Sky.
On 1 June 2012, Disney Channel introduced a refreshed logo and new bumpers and promo layouts. In July 2013, a new website was launched with On Demand services and commercial advertisements started to air.
On 18 July 2014, the channel has adapted the current the New German Logo.
Disney Channel has an interactive television service on Sky, in which viewers are able to press the red button on their Sky remote to access information about TV series, 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 and was taken off in September 2011 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 be translated in British Sign Language on its late evening programming.
Live presentation was an important feature of Disney Channel with the best known example of this as Disney Channel UK Live, which was launched in September 1997 and later 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 the day, prerecorded presentations were used, typically recorded in such a manner that viewers would believe that it was live. An example of this was the breakfast segment Up (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. Prerecorded sketches featuring a Mexican dinosaur puppet named Raoul were inserted between programmes, and as this proved popular, 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 would later be 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 Disney Channel Kids Awards. Its 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 re-brand. 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.
Disney XD is aimed primarily at male pre-teens and teenagers 6–14 years of age, its programming consists of original first-run television series, current and former original series and made-for-cable films from sister network Disney Channel, theatrically-released movies, and live-action and animated programs from other distributors.
Disney Junior (formerly known as Playhouse Disney) is a pre-school kids channel. The channel launched on 29 September 2000 as Playhouse Disney, the same day as the now defunct sister channel, Toon Disney.
Sky Cinema Disney
Disney Channel services
- iTunes - The channel regularly updates its iTunes library with the latest episodes. Some of these are available in HD.
- Disney Channel On Demand is the channel's video-on-demand service, offering select episodes of the channel's original series. It is available from On Demand), Virgin Media and BT Vision.
Disney Channel programmes
Most watched episodes
The following is a list of the ten most watched shows on Disney Channel in the UK, based on Live +7 data supplied by BARB up to 27 May 2013. The number of viewers does not include repeats.
|Rank||Series title||Episode title||No. of viewers||Date|
|1||Hannah Montana||Wherever I Go||621,000||27 May 2011|
|2||Good Luck Charlie||Special Delivery||602,000||12 October 2012|
|3||Wizards of Waverly Place||The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex||575,000||24 May 2013|
|4||The Suite Life on Deck||Break Up in Paris||543,000||9 January 2011|
|5||Wizards of Waverly Place||Wizards Exposed||535,000||18 February 2011|
|6||The Suite Life of Zack & Cody||Summer of Our Discontent||531,000||21 September 2007|
|7||Wizards of Waverly Place||Wizards Unleashed/Puppy Love (UK)||521,000||29 October 2010|
|8||The Suite Life of Zack & Cody||Graduation||513,000||21 September 2007|
|9||The Suite Life on Deck||Lost at Sea||513,000||21 February 2010|
|10||The Suite Life of Zack & Cody||Sink or Swim||488,000||21 September 2007|
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, 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, the delay can be up to several years - Tiger Cruise, which had its US premiere in 2004, has yet to be shown in the UK as of November 2015). 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.
Most watched films
The following is a list of the five most watched movies on Disney Channel, based on Live +7 data supplied by BARB up to 15 October 2015. The number of viewers does not include repeats.
No. of Viewers
|1||Descendants||1,453,000||25 September 2015|
|2||High School Musical 2||1,336,000||21 September 2007|
|3||Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie||1,044,000||21 October 2009|
|4||High School Musical||835,000||22 September 2006|
|5||The Suite Life Movie||780,000||17 February 2012|
|6||Starstruck||683,000||14 May 2010|
|7||Teen Beach Movie||597,000||19 July 2013|
|8||Good Luck Charlie, It's Christmas!||562,000||16 December 2011|
|9||Let It Shine||551,000||20 July 2012|
|10||Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension||533,000||30 September 2011|
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 idents for the 1995 logo were created by Lambie-Nairn. In February 1997, the channel dropped 'The' from its name, with a new splat logo, for the launch of Disney Channel France. In 1997, Disney Channel France adopted the same logo and idents. 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 ident set 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". 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.
When the new look was first launched, nine idents air on the same day. Some of the idents were also used in its sister channel, Playhouse Disney.
|List of Disney Channel UK's "Circles" idents (1999–2003)|
|Discoball||Seven disco lights move to the rhythm of the music, which then transitions 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. Frequently used during the Halloween night.|
|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.|
|Laboratory||A laboratory is seen where two green blobs are carried to a plasma glass sphere, forming the logo.|
|Clouds||A blue balloon passes through a wormhole in a pixelated sky background, then it flies over to two clouds on a blue gradient background, forming the logo.|
|Chrome Blob||A group of tiny blue metallic blobs form a big blob. Two silver blobs follow, and the blobs then turn to spheres and form the logo.|
|Spotlights||A white spotlight appears on a stage curtain and moves slowly until two orange spotlights appear and they align to form the logo.|
|Soap Bubbles||A straw rises from a bubble bath and blows three bubbles which align to form the logo.|
|Peacock||A peacock shows off its feathers, which contains the logo formed by two yellow circles and a blue circle.|
|Microscope||A pan shot of cells is seen through a microscope, until the zoom lens switch to reveal a yellow cell dividing into two. A pink cell slips in between the two yellow cells, causing the formation of the logo.|
|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 logo appears, which is formed by the spheres and a gold medal.|
|Grapes||A picnic table is seen with a plate with two green olives and a purple grape.|
|Planet||Two stars burst into sparkles over a blue planet, forming the logo.|
|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 and utensils arrange on a picnic blanket, and an apple falls over the plates and another apple falls over the first apple and a plate, forming the logo.|
|Spinning Top||A blue multicolored top spins on a dark purple room, then two yellow-green yoyo's spin above the top and their ropes are tangled on the top, forming the logo.|
|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 (Soda)||A white paper sphere submerges in a pool of multicolored water, then in the end, two green bubbles and the sphere float over the water.|
|Dog Food||An invisible dog follows a trail of dog biscuits around a house until it kicks two red dog bowls and a green water bowl to form the logo.|
|Underground Turnips||Two red turnips and a yellow round mass of roots grow to form the logo in an underground soil background.|
|Soccerball||A soccer ball is bouncing on a soccer stadium, which then crashes into an electronic scoreboard with two circles.|
|Basketball||Four stopwatches play with a basketball on a court, then one of the stopwatches shoot the ball onto two silver stopwatches.|
|Snowy 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 during the Christmas season of 1999.|
|Wreath||A wreath falls off a door and it rolls and turns into a snowball, knocking a snowman on the way, and then it crashes on a Christmas tree, causing two red baubles and a green wreath to fall on the ground, forming the logo. Frequently used during the Christmas season.|
|Slope||Two blue circles and a red one form the logo on a snow slope. Introduced on December 1999.|
|Popcorn||Popcorn move around a film projector with countdown frames before the logo is formed from two film reels and a popcorn bucket on a blue background. This ident was frequently used for before movies. Another version of this ident was used for The Wonderful World of Disney (at least on Disney Channel Italy), this time with the frames of the Wonderful World of Disney intro instead of the countdown frames, the orange background and an abridged remix of the Wonderful World of Disney music.|
|UFO||A silver space station drops two UFO's and they fly smoothly through space until they land on a green planet.|
|Space Bubbles||Three blue bubbles float in a space background as a satellite pass through one of the bubbles, then the two other bubbles pass through the first one, and the big bubble burst into two light blue bubbles and a dark blue one, forming the logo.|
|Paint Blob||A red blob and a yellow blob separate to form the logo.|
|Purple Blob||A purple splat expands and causes two yellow blobs to appear.|
|Temple||A pedestal opens up, revealing an ancient puzzle, then the puzzle is arranged, causing the gate to open. When the camera moves towards the boulder, it drops, rolls over the ground, and stops on the puzzle where two snakes coil above it, forming the logo.|
|Computer Mouse||The logo is formed from two @ symbols and a computer mouse.|
|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 was originally used by Disney Channel Latin America.|
|Swimming Pool||Two yellow beach balls and a red swim tube form the logo on a swimming pool. This ident was frequently used during the summer season.|
|Paint Palette||Two red paint pots and a blue palette form the logo on a yellow background.|
|Radar||A control room is seen with a radar detecting a red signal which then moves to the center along with two white signals to form the logo. Used during the Christmas season.|
|Window Wiping||The camera zooms into the house, a boy wipes the window, including his parents, to form the logo. Used during the Christmas season.|
|Train||Two angels are flying to the Christmas tree. The train rides with a yellow bauble after it shifts to a red bauble from the tree, then a one angel takes another red bauble in the tree to form the logo. Used during the Christmas season.|
|Drums||A crowd of drums drum away to the music. The screen closes on a green drum. The screen soon shifts to three drumsticks (two green/red and one blue/cyan) on the drum which form the logo. The drumsticks finally bang the jingle on the drum.|
|Flowers||A garden is seen where two pink flowers and a sunflower form the logo. First used in spring 2000.|
|Butterfly||A butterfly flies into a field where it lands on a flower, until the wind blows the flowers and the leaves and petals make the circles form the logo. The butterfly then lands on the floral logo. Only used on Disney Channel Latin America since spring 2001.|
|Liquid Lightbulb||Two light bulbs and a blue liquid sphere form the logo on a galaxy background. Used for Disney Channel France's Les Grands Prix De L'imagination in March 2000.|
|Cake||Two red and green cupcakes and a pink cake form the logo.|
|Paint Splat||Some paint blobs burst into splats on a yellow background, until two red blobs and a blue one clear the other blobs and splats as the three blobs burst into splats, forming the logo. Used as a generic logo since 1997, then as a "Circles" ident since 1999.|
|Green Paint||A yellow circle and a blue circle move around a big red circle, and when the yellow and blue circles cross each other, they turn green and form the Disney Channel logo. Also used on Playhouse Disney.|
|Bumper Cars||Two multicolored bumpers bump each other around until a big bumper appears and they align slowly to form the logo.|
|Amoeba||Two green blobs get carried by a yellow amoeba until the amoeba flings the two blobs into the air and they land on the amoeba, forming the logo.|
|Figure Skating||Two blue spotlights on an ice rink draw two blue scribbles until a pink spotlight draws a spiral trail, forming the logo while the crowd applause.|
|Spiral||A yellow and blue spiral appears on a green background, and the spiral transforms into two yellow circles and a blue one, forming the logo on a pink spiral background. First used on September 1999.|
|2D Circles||Two orange circles inflate a blue circle and the orange circles jump over it, forming the logo.|
|Band||A corral of circles expand with band music, and a blue circle play the bass drum and two yellow circles appear as cymbals, forming the logo.|
|Squeeze||A purple circle drops over a blue circle, and another blue circle tries to get the other circle out of the purple one, then the circle jumps and squeezes the other two, and all three circles form the logo as the background changes to yellow.|
|Sun||Two blue yarn circles travel around a blue background, while one of them has a cold. As they reach a yellow sun, the blue circle is relieved from the cold, and both blue circles position over the sun.|
|Frogs||Three green round frogs position on a yellow background, as two of them manage to catch flies with their tongues, causing the other one to get angry and get a big fly, turning it purple and big.|
|Jump||Two purple yarn balls jump continuously as they get bigger, and a blue ball jumps from the right, and flies on top of the two balls, triggering the 3-note Disney Channel jingle and the text.|
|Car||Two yellow round pencil shapes and a purple one appear on an orange background, then the circles imitate a car, before going fast and losing control, and they spin around and form the logo.|
|Balloon||Two orange balloons position over a blue circle, then one of the balloons jump from the circle and the other balloon follows, and when they bump each other, their strings disappear, and they fall back on the blue circle.|
|Triplets||Two yellow circles and an orange one appear on a pink background, then a yellow circle plays the flute, the other plays the cello, and the orange one plays the violin, but it became off-tune, and the yellow circles fix the orange one, and all of them play a finale before forming the logo and triggering a harp version of the Disney Channel jingle.|
|Nest||A tree opens up to reveal a bird-like brown circle and two yellow circles appear and they chirp loudly that the brown circle hid them and when it turns upside down, the two yellow circles pop out to form the logo. Also used on Playhouse Disney and their UK website.|
|Dance||Two blue circles and a red circle dance around on an orange background and then do stop dancing until they form the logo.|
|Spring||A yellow ring saw a loop of red string, which the ring turns it into a spring, then another yellow ring jumps over the spring and bounces all over the background, until the ring bounces into the spring and the first ring follows, forming the logo.|
- On March 2000, Disney Channel France, did a contest called "Les Grands Prix De L'imagination", suggesting ideas on making logos for the channel.
- On March 2003, Disney Channel adapted a new logo used by Disney Channel in US. The idents and bumpers were created by Razorfish and CA Square respectively.
- On September 2011, Disney Channel adapted the new European smartphone app logo.
- On June 2012, Disney Channel adapted the new smartphone app logo from the US.
- On July 2013, Disney Channel began airing advertisement breaks, meaning some shows would be around half an hour long or more, as opposed to previously 25 minutes.
- On 18 July 2014, Disney Channel adapted the current DC Germany logo and on-air graphics.
- Richard W. Stevenson (16 May 1989). "Murdoch Broadcast Concern Sues Disney". The New York Times.
- "Number 2043". SWEDEN CALLING DXERS. 16 May 1989.
- Kathyrn Harris (3 June 1989). "Disney Settles Fraud Suit With Murdoch's News Corp.". The Los Angeles Times.
- "Walt Disney International Television Names Disney Channel-UK Executives". The Free Library.
- "Selena Gomez marks Disney Channel HD launch". Digital Spy. 6 July 2011.
- "Pushbutton creates interactivity for Disney Channel UK".
- BARB, via
- GÉDÉON - Disney Channel Corporate Design 1999
- Broadcast Now : Disney Channel UK launches autumn schedule and new idents