With this extra hour of kids’ TV, you’re spoiling us

Amongst all the talk about the shift of BBC3 to online, and the launch of the BBC 1 + 1 channel, one of the things that’s not received much notice is the extra hour of kids TV.

On the face of it, this is a nice gift from Auntie, and means that instead of the stream running until 7 and then changing into BBC Three, it’ll run until 8pm and change into BBC 1+1.

All very kind and sharing – but also, a pragmatic response to what’s actually an engineering issue. While the main BBC 1 standard def service is fully regionalised, so you can get programmes like Look North or South Today, the same isn’t true of the HD service.

So, when there are regional opt-outs, you get the swimming hippos on the HD channel, and the message that you should switch to on Freeview channel 1 for your local programming.

And, the stream that currently carries BBC Three isn’t regionalised either, which is why there’ll be an extra hour of kids programming.

Otherwise, at 7pm, the first thing to be broadcast on the timeshift channel would be the six o’clock news sequence. That contains the major regional opt-outs for the magazine programmes.

So, the first hour of the +1 channel would have an awful lot of swimming hippos. To avoid that, it won’t start until an hour later, and the gap gets filled by an extra hour of stuff for the kids.

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