Toonami (UK & Ireland)

Toonami logo
Launched 28 September 2003
Closed 24 May 2007
Owned by Turner Broadcasting System Europe (Time Warner)
Audience share 0.1% (January 2007, BARB)
Replaced CNX
Replaced by Cartoonito
Sister channel(s) Cartoon Network
Cartoon Network Too
(at time of closure)
Sky Digital Channel 602
Virgin Media Channel 732

Toonami was a British children's channel which aired from September 2003 to May 2007.


Toonami was a programming block on Cartoon Network, until October 2002 when it became a key component of CNX, a new channel launched by Cartoon Network UK, the first Cartoon Network derivative to launch outside North America. CNX also broadcast martial arts movies, adult-oriented animation like the Adult Swim originals, and dramas like The Shield and Birds of Prey at night. The network's audience was the young adult male demos that's currently catered by the UK's Bravo and the US's Spike TV. Almost a year later, CNX was relaunched as Toonami and now targeted towards a much younger audience. However, TOM was not voiced by Steven Blum, instead given a new voice actor who sounded nothing like the original TOM.

In 2005, Toonami was added to the TV and video on demand kids' package for VNL's HomeChoice (now TalkTalk TV). Broadcasting for the channel involved using advanced MPEG-4 compression technology, the first TV channel in the world to do so.[1]

On 6 March 2006, Toonami changed its focus from action cartoons to entertainment in general, as the channel moved to Sky 602 and began airing four live-action shows: Backyard Science, Parker Lewis Can't Lose, Stencil, Hangin' with Mr. Cooper and Life with Derek. Additionally, the entire design of the channel was overhauled, with the stark, simplistic black, white and red logos replaced with blue, as well as the introduction of giggling, blob-like mascots that populate the commercial bumpers and channel indents.

TBSE revealed Toonami and Cartoon Network Too would combine and left a space for the pre-school programming slot Cartoonito to be expanded into its own channel. This change happened on 26 May 2007.[2]


Toonami UK has had its critics ever since day one after it was relaunched from the previous CNX format. The biggest criticisms has come from viewers who wanted more action-animation aimed towards older audiences which had all but disappeared.

In March 2006, criticism about Toonami increased after the network relaunched itself from an action-animation network into a general entertainment outlet airing teen soaps, live-action sitcoms, and other non-animated programming. Many of these programs have since been put into hiatus with no new episodes being purchased.

Toonami and the DC Comics series

Toonami UK has shown most DC Comics shows on the channel, including the more recent Justice League Unlimited, although contractual disputes with Warner TV distribution has prevented the channel from showing the third and final season of Batman Beyond and the whole of Superman: The Animated Series, forcing the channel to recycle through the first two seasons of Batman Beyond as a result. This theory is corroborated by the fact that not a single episode of the myriad Super Friends shows (which were something of a mainstay on the US Cartoon Network channels) have ever been broadcast on a Turner UK channel.

Destination Friday

For a short period of time, Toonami UK aired a special programming block on Fridays called "Destination Friday", which ran from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Recently, Toonami UK's newer shows have only aired once or twice a week, such as One Piece, Code Lyoko and Pokémon Chronicles. Code Lyoko was later stripped across 7 days. "Destination Friday" initially repeated the week's episodes for viewers who either want to see them again or missed them the first time round. Between 5.30PM and 7 p.m., a feature-length animated movie has also been shown. A selection of the various Batman animated movies were shown here, such as Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. The UK premieres of the Dragon Ball, and Dragonball Z and Dragonball GT movies occupied this slot throughout the summer months.

Shows that aired on Toonami UK

2006 power outage

On the night of 27 July 2006 Cartoon Network, along with its sister channels suffered a major technical fault due to a power cut in Soho, London. This was due to the 2006 European heat wave, with thunderstorms taking full force.

The power cut caused a mix up of Turner Broadcasting System Europe channels (i.e. Cartoon Network being broadcast on Boomerang and Toonami, with Boomerang being broadcast on Cartoon Network Too). Boomerang +1 was off air for some time, while TCM, reverted between TCM France and other programming during the times it was able to provide a service.

TCM 2 didn't have a power cut because of its downtime of timesharing. Most advertising was suspended and several of the channel websites were offline also. Those who could still receive the channels had a backup transmission played out, making people confused when Cartoon Network Too and Boomerang were showing episodes of The Flintstones at the same time. These backups where played out with a scrolling message which said "We apologise for the disruption to this service. This is due to technical problems. We will resume normal programming as soon as possible" in multiple languages.

Whilst most channels returned to the air quickly, it took longer for Cartoon Network Too to resume programming and it was also joked on various animation based forums by Toonami UK viewers, many of whom have made note of their disdain for the direction in which Turner took the brand in the UK, that the backup transmission was more entertaining, purely due to the lack of live action programming aired during the outage.

The idents on Toonami which aired between shows during the black-out displayed the message "Sorry! Toonami is broken, we'll be right back as soon as we fix it.". These idents have since been re-used in disclaimers warning viewers not to try stunts on various shows at home.


Even though Toonami has closed down the website was still working. The sign in feature has now been taken off the site and replaced with the CN Too logo. Before Toonami closed down a message warned viewers about the change. The message was 'Breaking News: Toonami becomes the bigger and better Cartoon Network Too on 24 May (Sky 602, Virgin 732, Tiscali 326)', The website later redirected to the Cartoon Network UK website and now redirects to an error message.

See also


  1. Bell, Ryan (15 April 2005). "Toonami Compressed to Impress". Animation Magazine. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  2. "C21Media". C21Media.
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