Disney Junior (British and Irish TV channel)

Disney Junior was a British and Irish pay television kids' TV channel that was owned by Disney–ABC Television Group that focused on preschool programming. It was launched on 29 September 2000 as Playhouse Disney. The channel was rebranded as Disney Junior on 7 May 2011, it later ceased broadcasting on 30 September 2020.

Disney Junior
Final logo, used from 11 February 2019 to 30 September 2020
CountryUnited Kingdom
Broadcast areaUnited Kingdom, Ireland, Malta[citation needed]
Headquarters3 Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith, London W6 9PE, United Kingdom
Picture format1080i HDTV
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
Timeshift serviceDisney Junior +1
OwnerThe Walt Disney Company Limited
Disney Channels Worldwide
(Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International)
Sister channels
Launched29 September 2000 (2000-09-29) (as Playhouse Disney)
7 May 2011 (2011-05-07) (as Disney Junior)
Closed30 September 2020 (2020-09-30)
Replaced byDisney+ (most of its content)
Former namesPlayhouse Disney (2000–2011)



Early programming efforts


When Disney Channel changed its programming focus in 1997, "Disney Channel Underfives" was launched to fill its morning schedule.

On 28 September 1999, the time slot was given its own distinct identity and live-action continuity. By 2000, it had become Playhouse Disney, introducing that branding for the first time outside of the United States. The two main presenters were Dave Benson Phillips and Alex Lovell (referred to as Big Dave and Little Alex), presenting programming from the appropriately titled Playhouse.

Launch as a dedicated channel

Logo used from 2000-2003.

On 29 September 2000, Disney Television International launched Playhouse Disney as a standalone channel alongside Toon Disney and Disney Channel +1 on the Sky Digital platform.[1] Since the channel was exclusive to Sky Digital at this time, the Playhouse Disney block continued to broadcast on Disney Channel during school-term weekdays.

Playhouse Disney, alongside the other two networks, were added to NTL from November 2001.[2] and eventually launched on Telewest on 3 December 2003.[3] Following these launches, the Playhouse Disney block reduced its hours of programming featured and was eventually disposed of in July 2004.

The Playhouse presentation format hosted by Big Dave and Little Alex remained until late August 2006.[4]

Transition to standard network


On 28 February 2006, Disney Media Networks and BSkyB announced that Playhouse Disney, in addition to its sister channel Disney Channel would cease as premium add-ons and transition to basic TV packages such as Sky's "Kids Mix" beginning on March 16, and that a new sister channel - Disney Cinemagic would take over Disney's premium offerings, replacing Toon Disney.[5] The transition of Playhouse to a basic network led to a significant broadcast share increase of 83% by July.[6]

In June 2006, a Playhouse Disney block was added to the morning schedule of ABC1.[7] It was removed after Disney ceased transmission of ABC1 in September 2007. ABC1's slot itself on Sky would be used to launch a 25-minute timeshift of Playhouse Disney, which was added on 30 October, and launched on 3 November.[8]

Rebrand as Disney Junior

Logo used from 7 May 2011 to 11 February 2019

On 29 January 2011, it was announced that Playhouse Disney would rebrand as Disney Junior on 7 May, as part of a worldwide rebranding.[9] On the date of the rebrand, the channel transitioned to airing in a 16:9 widescreen ratio.

On 21 February 2013, Sky and Disney Channels Worldwide announced that a high-definition simulcast of Disney Junior would launch on Sky in May.[10]

In September 2017, Disney XD +1 was turned into a pop-up channel titled Mickey and Pals, which aired various programming from Disney Junior.



Disney Junior, along with its sister channels Disney XD and Disney Channel, closed in the UK on 30 September 2020, after 20 years on-air. The closure was previously announced on 25 June that year; all of the channels' content were transferred to Disney's streaming service, Disney+.[11] Virgin Media removed the channels a day before their closure on 29 September, with CBBC and CBeebies taking over the network's former Sky EPG slots on 1 October.


  1. ^ "Disney launches new channels". Brand Republic. Haymarket Media Group Ltd. MediaWeek. 13 September 2000. Archived from the original on 16 August 2000. Retrieved 21 July 2014. Alt URL Archived 11 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: New channels on NTL next week". Digital Spy. 2 December 2001. Archived from the original on 4 November 2023. Retrieved 4 November 2023.
  3. ^ "More Disney channels launch on Telewest". Digital Spy. 3 December 2003. Archived from the original on 4 November 2023. Retrieved 4 November 2023.
  4. ^ "Guardian Unlimited: TV Listings". 22 August 2006. Archived from the original on 22 August 2006. Retrieved 1 June 2023.
  5. ^ "Sky, Disney Media Networks and the Walt Disney Studios Team up for More Family Entertainment, HDTV and Legal Broadband Movie Downloads". 28 February 2006. Archived from the original on 10 January 2023. Retrieved 10 January 2023.
  6. ^ ""Record ratings" for Disney Channel". Digital Spy. 9 July 2006. Archived from the original on 10 January 2023. Retrieved 10 January 2023.
  7. ^ Stewart, Lianne (1 April 2006). "New kid on the U.K. Freeview block". Kidscreen. Brunico Communications Ltd. Archived from the original on 7 April 2015. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  8. ^ "Playhouse Disney timeshift joins Sky EPG". Digital Spy. 30 October 2007. Archived from the original on 23 May 2023. Retrieved 23 May 2023.
  9. ^ "Disney preps Playhouse UK rebrand". Archived from the original on 10 January 2023. Retrieved 10 January 2023.
  10. ^ "Disney, Sky bow co-branded movie net". C21Media. 21 February 2013. Archived from the original on 24 February 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
  11. ^ Kanter, Jake (25 June 2020). "Disney To Close Kids Channels In The UK Following Launch Of Disney+". Deadline. Archived from the original on 16 November 2023. Retrieved 25 June 2020.