Today, ITV bosses have announced plans to axe its children’s channel CITV after nearly four decades on the airwaves.
The channel, which is famous for shows such as My Parents Are Aliens, Art Attack, Sooty and Jungle Run, is set to be removed from TVs later this year.
Bosses have confirmed that CITV will go offline in the autumn, whilst revealing plans to replace it with a new online-only streaming service called ITVX Kids.
The new dedicated children’s streaming service is expected to go live this summer, airing content aimed exclusively at children aged six to 12. As a result, the CITV broadcast channel will come to a close.
The free-to-air channel was first founded on 3 January 1983, first airing as a block of programmes on the network before relaunching in 2016 as its own dedicated channel.
Over the years, it has hosted some beloved shows including Neil Bucchannan’s Art Attack and Zzzap!, as well as a number of popular animated series including Mr Bean, Thunderbirds Are Go, Teen Titans Go!, and Inspector Gadget.
An ITV spokesperson said that the decision to axe CITV came in response to the changing ways children and their parents access content, after BARB viewing data showed viewing figures for kids TV channels have declined by -62% since 2019.
ITV has also reassured parents it will maintain its LittleBe pre-school segment on ITVBe as well as offering some children’s content in the early mornings on ITV starting from September 2023.
Announcing the news, ITV said: “As a consequence of this new streaming approach, and responding to the changing ways children and their parents are increasingly accessing content, the CITV broadcast channel will close in early Autumn, once the new streaming destination for kids has been rolled out across platforms and devices, over the summer holidays.
” However, ITV will maintain the LittleBe pre-school segment on ITVBe and will offer some children’s content in the early mornings on ITV2 from September with strong cross promotion to ITVX.”
Craig Morris, Managing Editor of ITVX, said: “We’re really excited to launch this dedicated destination for kids on ITVX, which will be home to a wealth of content including new series, recognisable brands and existing favourites for a range of ages, all in one child-safe area, with editorial curation to guide viewing.
Eurovision 2023 grand final to be screened live in cinemas across the UK
The grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest is to be screened live in cinemas across the UK for the first time ever.
With fans from across the globe set to descend on Liverpool in a couple of months time as the UK hosts the 2023 edition of the world’s biggest song competition on behalf of last year’s winners Ukraine, those who weren’t lucky enough to secure tickets will instead by able to head to their nearest cinema to experience the action on the big screen.
Distributor CinemaLive has announced it will be broadcasting the Eurovision grand final show live in cinemas nationwide for the first time ever.
It means that Eurovision fans up and down the country who missed out on grabbing tickets to the final – which sold out in under 40 minutes after going on sale earlier this month – will be able to come together to celebrate what is set to be the “biggest, brightest, boldest music party of the year”.
500 cinemas across the UK, including several here in Greater Manchester, will be screening the grand final on Saturday 13 May.
Vue, Odeon, Cineworld, and Everyman are just some of the cinema chains taking part.
Vue Manchester Printworks, Odeon Great Northern, and Everyman Manchester are the Manchester city centre venues lined-up to screen the event – with cinemas in the The Lowry Outlet Mall, Trafford Centre, Didsbury, Heaton Moor, Ashton-under-Lyne, Bolton, and more also set to welcome Eurovision fans through their doors.
Event organisers say the screenings will encourage singalongs and fancy dress.
“We’re delighted to be working with the BBC to bring Eurovision’s grand final live into cinemas across the UK for the first time ever,” said John Travers from CinemaLive.
“We want audiences to enjoy themselves, so get your fancy dress on, and come together to enjoy this historic occasion on the big screen.”
With an illustrious entertainment career spanning over four decades, O’Grady may have been most well-known and loved by British audiences as a comedian, presenter, broadcaster, actor, writer, and the former drag queen Lily Savage – but he was also one of the nation’s most-famous dog lovers and animal rights advocates.
O’Grady was a longtime supporter and Ambassador of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, and helped raise the profile of the shelter to millions around the world through the hugely-popular ITV series Paul O’Grady: For The Love of Dogs.
Battersea says there’s “no doubting” that O’Grady’s influence has helped thousands of rescue animals find new homes over the years.
Over several series of the show, O’Grady would make an effort to spend quality time with these animals and show-off all of their quirks and loveable qualities, which went a long way to proving that rescue animals “really are the best pets”.
Paying an emotional tribute to O’Grady following his passing today, Peter Laurie – Chief Executive of Battersea – said: “To many, Paul O’Grady was the immensely popular TV and radio presenter and comedian who lit up their screens with his razor-sharp humour and perpetual generosity and warmth [but] Battersea will forever remember Paul as a devoted animal lover with the biggest heart, who fell head over heels in love with every dog he met at our centres.
“Paul will always be associated with Battersea and we are truly saddened to have lost such a true friend and huge part of our charity.
“Paul had an extremely hands on approach as a Battersea Ambassador and has been fundamental in helping our charity to communicate important campaign messages.
“He was a champion for the underdog and would do anything to ensure all animals live a healthy and happy life.
“He will be dearly missed.”
Since the news of O’Grady’s passing was announced, touching tributes have been pouring in in their hundreds from right across the world of entertainment and on social media.
Countless famous names have shared supportive messages and memories.
Emotional tributes to O’Grady have been flooding in all morning, both from those who knew and had worked with him in the past, and from those who admired his work and all that he achieved and had stood for throughout his respected career.