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Children’s BBC continues over on BBC2

*clunk*Wimbledon got moved from BBC2 to BBC1 on Monday night, and will probably get moved again on Wednesday evening.

As is the way of these things, the likes of EastEnders and (presumably) Celebrity MasterChef get shunted in the opposite direction, while repeats, even if they’re the second half of a story (like Wednesday’s Waking the Dead) simply vanish.

Not that we’re complaining.

A bit of a schedule-go-round is always welcome these days, by virtue of being so rarely essayed by the present stiff-and-starch-shirted BBC.

A few years back Greg Dyke thought nothing of junking bits of the Beeb’s output if he thought the viewers deserved a treat, like when he parachuted a repeat of an England football game into the schedule because John Motson rang him up and suggested he should.

Further back, though, you got wholesale decampments of BBC1 over to BBC2 more regularly. It always happened on Budget Day, for instance. Coverage of the party conferences usually kicked a few isolated BBC1 offerings over to its sister channel.

Then you had several episodes of Degrassi Junior High summarily hounded from the 5.10pm slot on BBC1 over to 6pm on BBC2 because they contained references to – erk – breasts (“She’s so flat the walls are jealous!”) and contraceptives.

When the first Gulf War broke out, giant coverage loomed across the BBC1 schedules, replete with a giant cardboard Saddam Hussein looming behind its presenters, while children’s programmes (forever the victim) ran for cover.

Any other channel hops that stick in the mind?

Once, lest we forget, the Wimbledon men’s singles final was always on BBC2, because it was on a Sunday, and Grandstand on Sunday was, by law, on BBC2…



  1. fl3m

    June 30, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    Memory is a bit hazy here but for a while they didn’t even bother to move CBBC over to BBC2 on budget day. At least when they did, the broom cupboard played along and dressed up for the occasion.

  2. TV Cream

    July 1, 2009 at 8:43 am

    The bonus of moving over to BBC2 was that we got to see the BBC2 Broom Cupboard, which was really tatty and murky. I always enjoyed that. I seem to remember the first time we never got any CBBC at all was in 1997 when there was the Hong Kong Handover on BBC1 and Wmbldn on BBC2, and I was quite shocked.

    My favourite ever channel hop was in 1994 when the D-Day anniversary was on BBC1 and the test match on BBC2, so CBBC ended up on BBC2 from 6-7pm, with Blue Peter at 6.30, which got three million viewers and made it into the BBC2 Top Ten.

  3. Glenn A

    July 9, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    ITV and Channel 4 until 1994 when Channel 4 pulled away totally used to share some of their sports coverage. On ITV until 1988 they used to show The Derby simultaneously with Channel 4, which meant ITV had to abandon A Country Practice or whatever Australian soap they were showing in favour of the racing. Also domestic athletics were shared until 1994 which meant at 9pm ITV had to abandon Harringay Stadium in favour of a higher rating action film and Channel 4’s more anti diluvian fare in this hour was replaced by the face of Jim Rosenthal announcing an exciting night of athletics from the tip that was Harringay Stadium.
    However, it is the BBC, who had far more sport and national events, who are the masters of channel hopping and unexpected rescheduling.

  4. Applemask

    July 9, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Don’t forget Channel 4 covering the 1988 Olympics, which as a concept is just surreal to me. I like to think their coverage was fronted by Jools Holland, Murray Boland and Magenta DeVine. With commentary by Tony Wilson and Peter Hain. And titles and music by Leigh Bowery.

  5. Glenn A

    July 9, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    Applemask, that was the last time commercial television covered the Olympics. It meant TV-AM was suspended at times for men’s heavyweight judo and on Channel 4 we had the unlikely sight of Barry Norman introducing synchronised diving instead of Film 88. After this, ITV and Channel 4, who were murdered in the ratings by the BBC, retreated back to Harringay Stadium to show domestic athletics where in one case the stadium ( might not have been Harringay, could have been that other toilet in Birmingham) was largely deserted and half the lanes were empty. However, Barry Norman wisely decided that a career as a sports anchor wasn’t for him and the prospect of Harringay Stadium wasn ‘t for him.

  6. Chris Hughes

    July 9, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    I can’t help thinking Tony Wilson would have actually made a brilliant, if different, sports commentator. Certainly his Granada Reports piece on the streets of Liverpool on the day Bill Shankly resigned is legend.

    All the 1988 Olympics coverage between 6.00-9.25am was on Channel 4, so TV-am was never suspended.

    Also, it’s Haringey, although I doubt ITV/C4 ever covered a major meet from there, it would surely have been Crystal Palace?

  7. Glenn A

    July 10, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    ITV and Channel 4 had the rights to domestic athletics from 1984 to 1996 and the stadia they used were Haringey, Crystal Palace, the Alexandra Stadium in Birmingham, Gateshead Stadium and Meadowbank in Edinburgh. Although they did attract some big names in the early days and big ratings as football had gone out of fashion in the mid eighties, in the latter stages of the contract ratings were falling and Channel 4 decided to divest itself of the contract, leaving ITV to stagger on with a contract they didn’t really want and athletics meetings few people were interested in.

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