Cartoon Network UK’s 25th Anniversary: A Brief History Of The Channel

Cartoon Network UK's 25th Anniversary: A Brief History Of The Channel
An article from the UK’s Daily Express (30th August 1993) about the then soon to be launched Cartoon Network Europe. (Click To View The Full Image)

Cartoon Network UK’s 25th Anniversary: A Brief History Of The Channel

Tomorrow (17th September), 25 years ago, Cartoon Network Europe commenced broadcasting, it became Europe’s first television channel dedicated to animation, the channel launched only 11 and a half months after its U.S. counterpart and just like the original U.S. version, it aired cartoons from Hanna-Barbera’s animation library, which includes all time classics such as The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Scooby-Doo!, Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound and many more, plus the Tom and Jerry shorts from MGM.

Cartoon Network Europe’s oldest (publicly known) schedule that can be found on the internet (including TCM’s first night and CN’s first 24-hour schedule) can be found on the link below:

Cartoon Network Europe was the first version of the channel based outside the United States, a Latin American version did launch in April 1993, although that version was based at Turner’s HQ in Atlanta and to an extent, it’s still based there today. Cartoon Network USA had somewhat of a slow start, initially not every cable service carried the channel (it was available for those with a satellite dish), this wasn’t really Turner’s fault, it was just the reluctance of cable companies making long-term contracts. But when Cartoon Network launched in Europe, it took a different approach, the channel launched as a free-to-air channel available to all cable providers around the UK and Europe and anyone with a satellite dish pointing at Astra’s European satellite service. The first general manager of Cartoon Network Europe was Sue Kroll (now the Head of Worldwide Marketing and Distribution at Warner Bros.).

At launch, Cartoon Network Europe broadcasted between 5am and 7pm, it launched alongside and timeshared with another new channel from Turner – TNT Classic Movies, this was the precursor of TCM (Turner Classic Movies), which launched in the U.S. the following year. At launch, Cartoon Network already had rivals in the UK multichannel market, its biggest U.S. rival – Nickelodeon made it to UK shores 16 days earlier, Nickelodeon had the support of British satellite TV provider – Sky who still owns a stake in the channel today, Nickelodeon was already quite established in the U.S. and already had some original content, however, Nickelodeon had a slower but more localised approach to Cartoon Network and didn’t expand into other parts of Europe until later in the 1990’s, also Nickelodeon required a subscription to Sky’s newly launched Multichannels package.

CN’s other rival was UK-based TCC (The Children’s Channel) which was also available in the Benelux and Nordic parts of Europe and in France, it faced competition against children’s channel Canal J. It seems it was no co-incidence that Cartoon Network launched with a partial soundtrack service in French, Norwegian and Swedish, also a localised version of CN launched in the Netherlands four years later. Even though, CN was available in Europe, although it had quite a heavy UK focus as all shows were in English and mostly had UK focused advertising. In December 1996, Cartoon Network Europe became a 24-hour service, however most cable operators (as well as Sky’s analogue satellite service) continued carrying the Cartoon Network/TNT timeshare service.

Immediately after the channel’s initial launch, CN Europe was met with controversy on Continental Europe as the governments of France and Belgium prohibited cable companies from carrying Cartoon Network, as it was seen as an “invasion of American culture”, the ban was lifted. Turner’s news channel – CNN International has been broadcasting from London since 1985, so Turner already had an established base in the UK. On 26th November 1993, Cartoon Network Europe took part in “The Great International Toon-In”, where Cartoon Network USA and all six Turner-owned entertainment networks in the United States (that existed at the time), Cartoon Network Latin America and Cartoon Network Europe shared a marathon schedule presented by 3D-CGI character Moxy the Dog.

After a successful launch in Europe, Cartoon Network launched in the Asia-Pacific region the following year, which means, after two years, the channel already had near global coverage. The next stage in Cartoon Network’s journey will be one that will change the course of the channel forever. Over in the United States, the now Turner-owned Hanna-Barbera animation studio set up a new studio brand – Cartoon Network Studios and started to experiment with new ideas for the channel in a brand new animation shorts programme called “World Premiere Cartoons” (later became “What A Cartoon”), What A Cartoon spawned Cartoon Network’s original Cartoon Cartoons such as Dexter’s Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls, Cow and Chicken, Mike, Lu and Og, Courage the Cowardly Dog and Johnny Bravo. As years went by, Cartoon Network started to become less dependent on its classic animation archive and started to focus on more original programming, also the merger with Time Warner in the mid-1990’s further supplemented the channel with animated productions from Warner Bros. Animation, this included Tiny Toon Adventures, Batman: The Animated Series, The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries, Taz-Mania, Animaniacs and the all-important post-1948 Looney Tunes shorts.

By the late 90’s, countries and regions started to have their own versions of Cartoon Network, where as the UK version (i.e. the original pan-European version) still functioned as the pan-European version of the channel up until 15th October 1999, a separate pan-European version was launched that summer which copied CN UK’s schedule (with some shows excluded and replaced), however after a couple of years, things started to differ. Also as a whole, Cartoon Network Europe started to diverge from its American counterpart in terms of presentation, by using an altered version of CN USA’s Powerhouse rebrand. All the movies from TNT were moved to a new channel – a UK version of TCM, TNT became a short-lived UK and analogue only entertainment channel.

In May 2000, Cartoon Network UK welcomed in the new millennium with a new channel that celebrates animation from the past – Boomerang (which originated from a programming block from the channel’s early days), this means Cartoon Network’s schedule was now freed up for more original shows, Cartoon Network Europe also started to make its own co-productions by partnering with European studios with new shows such as The Cramp Twins and Fat Dog Mendoza. In later years, came Robotboy, Spaced Out, Skatoony and Chop Socky Chooks. Cartoon Network UK started to air Japanese anime starting off with Dragon Ball Z, the popularity of Dragon Ball Z led to the establishment of the Toonami programming block, which led to a new channel called CNX in 2002 which targeted teenagers and young adults and featured productions from Adult Swim, action movies and Japanese anime. Less than a year later, the CNX channel was rebranded as Toonami and became more child friendly. Toonami started to move away from the action animation format and started airing live-action sitcoms, after this change, it closed a year later. In 2006, a companion channel – Cartoon Network Too launched, the channel acted as a overflow to the main CN channel and later focused on action animation, the channel also had a pre-school programming block called Cartoonito which later spawned the Cartoonito pre-school channel which launched in 2007. In 2014, Cartoon Network Too closed and Cartoon Network UK’s one-hour timeshift service – Cartoon Network +1 was reinstated.

The 2000’s decade saw an explosion of brand new animation from Cartoon Network Studios with Sheep in the Big City, Time Squad, Samurai Jack, Grim & Evil (later became The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy), Whatever Happened to Robot Jones? and Codename: Kids Next Door. In 2002, Cartoon Network introduced a brand new look called “Casillas” (Spanish for Boxes) as it was developed by design studio – Ink Apache, the rebrand was very creative and made use of existing archive footage of Cartoon Network’s animated shows.

In 2005, Cartoon Network UK (and the rest of Europe) introduced Cartoon Network USA’s “CN City” graphics package on its channel, CN City featured all of Cartoon Network’s cartoon characters living together in one city making it effectively one big crossover. The CN City era remains one of the most memorable eras on Cartoon Network and saw the launch of Foster’s Home of Imaginary Friends, Camp Lazlo, Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi and Cartoon Network’s most successful action-animation franchise – Ben 10. After CN City era, Cartoon Network UK introduced another rebrand featuring an arrow that heavily featured the logo, this era featured bumpers animated by British animation studio – Pesky. The second stage of the Arrow Era featured CGI bumpers developed by design studio – Stardust. During this time, Chowder and The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack were airing on the channel.

In 2010, Cartoon Network UK introduced a fresh new graphics package known as “Check It” that helped reboot the channel for the new animation renaissance of the 2010’s, Check It is considered to be a modern adaptation of Cartoon Network’s original Checkerboard graphics package. This era saw the successful Adventure Time, Regular Show, and Cartoon Network Development Studios Europe first ever show – The Amazing World of Gumball, which had its world premiere on Cartoon Network UK in 2011. A high-definition version of Cartoon Network – Cartoon Network UK HD also launched in 2011. Uncle Grandpa, Clarence, Teen Titans Go! and Steven Universe later followed with another iteration of “Check It” – Check It 3.0. Before the end of Check It 3.0. The Powerpuff Girls reboot was introduced in 2016, followed by Ben 10 later that year. In 2016, there was a short-lived Check It 4.0. rebrand that only lasted a year. In 2017, the Dimensional graphics package was introduced, which is Cartoon Network UK’s current era, during this era, OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes, Ben 10: Challenge, The Heroic Quest of the Valiant Prince Ivandoe, Unikitty! and Apple and Onion premiered, and next month, the channel will premiere Craig of the Creek. Coming soon in the near future another CN Studios Europe production will premiere – Elliott From Earth.,57411&dq=cartoon+network&hl=en

Apple And Onion Screening At BAFTA Piccadilly London 21st July

Apple And Onion Screening At BAFTA Piccadilly London 21st July

Apple And Onion Screening At BAFTA Piccadilly London 21st July

Yesterday (21/07/2018), Cartoon Network UK hosted a special screening at BAFTA’s headquarters in London for a brand new limited series – Apple and Onion, plus a Q&A session with the show’s creator – George Gendi. The brand new show will premiere on Cartoon Network UK on Monday 27th August at 10am. I didn’t find out about the screening until the night before it was actually held, but luckily my friend from – Nick voice recorded the whole Q&A session and took a couple of photographs, without him and the Q&A audio recording, this blog post wouldn’t of been possible.

Apple and Onion follow the adventures of two childlike friends living in a world populated with anthropomorphic food, they’ve moved away from their parents and moved to the big city, together they get used to life as independent adults, make new friends and get into a few misadventures along the way, whether its dealing with cats and ducks, sneaking into a movie premiere, playing a game of Basketball while battling anxiety, earning tips or attempting to cheer up a homesick friend. Apple is voiced by the show’s creator – George Gendi and Onion is voiced by Richard Ayoade, better known as Moss from the Channel 4 sitcom and international hit – The IT Crowd and is currently the host of the gameshow – The Crystal Maze. Before working on Apple and Onion, George worked as a storyboard artist on The Amazing World of Gumball during its first season, he then pitched Apple and Onion to Cartoon Network Development Studio Europe, but CNDSE closed after Gumball’s first season. George moved to Los Angeles to work on Nickelodeon’s Sanjay and Craig as a storyboard artist, he then re-pitched Apple and Onion to Cartoon Network Studios, the show was then greenlit with ten initial episodes in a “limited series” format.

At the screening event, three episodes of Apple and Onion were shown along with a couple of shorts and then finally, the Q&A session with George Gendi and presented by Nigel Clarke (presenter of Cartoon Network UK’s Ben 10 Challenge).

Q&A Session

Alternatively, you can listen to the whole Q&A session on the link below:

During the introductory part of the Q&A session where Nigel asked questions about the show, George mentioned where he got the idea for the show from, the show was inspired by a short story written by his older brother which was about an Apple who decides to follow his dreams and travels to the big city, while there, the Apple becomes a tree, bringing life into the city. Initially, George wanted to produce a short film based on the story, but while he was storyboarding the idea, he realised it would take too long to make and decided to pitch the idea in a TV show format. Afterwards, George created a character named Onion – instead of being round and short, he drew the character to be tall, which complements Apple’s short height. While developing his film idea, George had the idea that any food (or even any inanimate object) could be a character, but when pitching it as a TV show, the idea was scrapped and just have the characters in the show as food with human personalities.

George also mentioned the difference between Apple and Onion and the citizens of the big city, the big city is inhabited by manufactured and processed foods, where as, Apple and Onion are outsiders, to represent this, they are shown to be fresh and naturally occurring foods with no extra processing. George then talked about how he pitched the show to Cartoon Network, he compiled all his ideas into a show bible. A show bible is basically a report that explains the premise of the show, information about each characters, character designs and even drawings on how the show would look like, not everything has to be in a show bible, other ideas can be added in later, but there must be a sufficient amount of detail in a show bible to grab the attention from a animation studio or channel while show pitching. The show was initially pitched in 2011 and finally went into production in 2017. A 11-minute pilot episode was made first, which was made public in May 2016 via Cartoon Network’s mobile app. Since the pilot, some slight changes to the character designs were made.

A episode of Apple and Onion take approximately nine months to complete, but instead of working on each episodes sequentially, each episode is worked on at the near enough the same time, the first episode is worked on first, but after the initial stage has been completed, work starts on the second episode immediately the following week and so on and so forth until all episodes are in production. When in development, Apple and Onion had a small team, there were eight storyboard artists, a supervising director, a co-supervising director, a supervising producer, two background designers, two character designers and one art director. Nigel mentioned that George voices Onion in the show, he asks George how the voice actors are cast in the show, George mentions that he has a casting director on the show’s team who organised voice acting auditions. For Onion’s voice, the show’s creative consultant – Daniel Lennard suggested that Richard Ayoade would be a good choice, Richard agreed to do it. For Apple, there were a few voices, but it was ultimately decided that George will voice Apple, the reason why, is that he has control over the pitch and delivery of Apple’s voice.

In addition to the ten episodes, eight shorts were produced, which in total, used the same amount of resources as one normal 11-minute episode. The reason why the shorts were produced, is because George felt ten episodes weren’t enough for the show to gain traction and at the time the show wasn’t greenlit for a second season. The shorts were made during the post-production stage of the ten main episodes, and as music was important in the main series, each short featured a different song. Nigel Clarke mentioned the animated short – “Buff Up My Head”, he wanted to know where the idea for that short came from. In the short, Apple sings a song about “buffing up” (in other words, cleaning his head), then Onion joins in before heading to Burger’s birthday party. The idea for the short came from Matt Layzell – the show’s supervising producer. Four writers (Nick Edwards, Matt Layzell, Benton Connor and George himself) can up with different ideas for the eight shorts. Before the end of the first section of the Q&A, George confirmed that Apple and Onion will premiere on Cartoon Network UK on Monday 27th August at 10am.

The second section of the Q&A was an opportunity for the audience to ask questions about the show. A member of the audience asked George what it was like moving away from The Amazing World of Gumball to writing and directing on Apple and Onion and asked what other work he has done in between. George replied that he worked as a storyboarder on an animated series called Sanjay and Craig while he was working at Nickelodeon, he mentioned there was a slow process from writing to directing and learnt how to be a director at University. George also mentioned that producing a short animated film is the best way to show your creative ideas, especially when working by yourself. George was asked what’s his favourite character, he said his favourite character is Onion, he also likes Apple, but that’s himself, he also said that Richard Ayoade’s voice acting makes Onion a funny character.

George was asked about the similarities of the show compared to the video game Parappa The Rapper and the TV show/music band Flight of the Conchords, he was familiar with Parappa The Rapper but he did watch Flight of the Conchords after he finished working on the pilot for Apple and Onion, he admitted that there are similarities, but Flight of the Conchords’s objective is to make music, where as Apple and Onion are musical and often spontaneously break into song. George was asked whether show’s story was outline (storyboard) driven or script driven, the episodes that have been produced so far use the outline method, but going forward, episodes are now script driven, this is due to the show’s specific voicing, humour and timing.

George was asked by an audience member what shows he watched as a kid and what influence those shows had on him, he mentioned MGM’s Tom and Jerry, Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes, CBBC’s The Animals of Farthing Wood, Nickelodeon’s Hey Arnold and Film Roman’s Garfield and Friends. George’s least favourite character in Apple and Onion is a character named “Energy Bar” (appears in the episode “Bottle Catch”), he doesn’t like her because she’s not very realistic and is mean for no reason. George was asked about the slang and humour, the slang and humour in the show is very British (mainly because both George Gendi and Richard Ayoade are from the UK), which can be hard to translate, in the United States, the humour remained intact, but in Spanish speaking Latin American and Portuguese speaking Brazil, the humour was adapted so local audiences can understand. The show is set in the United States, mainly due to the fact that the U.S. is Cartoon Network’s home market.

George was born in Egypt, but when he moved to the UK, he lived in several parts of the country including Wales, North England, Edgware (outskirts of London), Oxford, Essex and then London, and now Los Angeles in the U.S. Falafel’s Fun Day or Tips were George’s favourite episodes out of the three shown at the screening. If a game based on the show was to be made, it would be a music-themed 2D platformer. So far, George has seen the Latin American Spanish dub of Apple and Onion and it was mentioned that a Russian dub has been completed, George also said that an Arabic dub would be a funny one, in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region, Apple and Onion has been dubbed into eighteen languages, in terms of worldwide, the show will be dubbed in thirty different languages. The UK will be the first country outside the Americas to get Apple and Onion, with an eventual international rollout coming very soon. A young member of the audience was asked by George who their favourite character was, she replied – Onion. Finally, it was mentioned that there’s a moral to each episode, each with its own positive message.

The Q&A was concluded with an autograph and meet and greet session, this was an opportunity for audience members to get a autograph from George and ask him even more questions.

As an additional note, George mentioned on his Instagram account (see comments) that the show will be returning for more episodes:

#appleandonion being tall

A post shared by GeorgeGendi (@george_gendi) on

Once again, thanks to KidzCoolIt for recording the Q&A session, to visit their website and for reviews for the latest kids movies, TV shows, games and magazines please follow the link below:

The Amazing World Of Gumball Wins Three 2018 British Animation Awards

The Amazing World Of Gumball Wins Three 2018 British Animation Awards

The Amazing World Of Gumball Wins Three 2018 British Animation Awards

Last night (15th March) was the 2018 British Animation Awards (BAAs) at BFI (British Film Institute) Southbank in London and Cartoon Network’s animated comedy show – The Amazing World of Gumball won three awards, including “Best Children’s Series”, “Best Voice Performance” and also the “Children’s Choice” award. The British Animation Awards celebrates the very best of the British animation industry. The Amazing World of Gumball has won a total of 32 awards since premiering on Cartoon Network in 2011, the show is now in its sixth season and was Cartoon Network Development Studio Europe’s debut series. The show is produced at CN’s studio in London’s Shoreditch district.

The Amazing World of Gumball won the award for “Best Children’s Series” for the episode – “The Copycats”, in the episode, The Wattersons encounter a family that’s (almost) identical to theirs and they annoyingly mimic everything they do, the show also won the “Children’s Choice” award for the same episode.

The voice of Nicole Watterson – Teresa Gallagher has won the award for “Best Voice Performance” for her voice acting in The Amazing World of Gumball episode “The Choices”, in the episode, Nicole has a flashback to when she was younger and reflects on the decisions she has made in life, such as having a family with Richard, after looking at the other possible outcomes, she realises that she made the right decision after all.

Congratulations to show creator – Ben Bocquelet, series director – Mic Graves, voice actress – Teresa Gallagher and to the whole crew at Cartoon Network’s animation studio in London.

From The Turner UK Press Release: The Amazing World of Gumball Scoops Three British Animation Awards

Cartoon Network’s comedy show, The Amazing World of Gumball, picked up three awards last night at the British Animation Awards (BAAs), taking home ‘Best Children’s Series’, ‘Best Voice Performance’ for Teresa Gallagher’s work voicing the mother Nicole Watterson in the hit animation and the ‘Children’s Choice’ award.

The three BAA wins take the show’s tally up to a whopping 32 international awards since launch on Cartoon Network in 2011. The popular cartoon follows the misadventures of twelve-year-old Gumball and his unconventional family in the wonderful town of Elmore.

Pierre Branco, SVP Turner Northern Europe, says: “It is a great honour to see Cartoon Network’s The Amazing World of Gumball recognised by the British Animation Awards. The show is homegrown in London and these awards are a huge testament to the creativity and passion of the team behind it, who make it the success it is today.”

Now in its sixth season, The Amazing World of Gumball is the debut series from the EMEA development studio based in London. The show is unique mixed media format; combining 2D and 3D animation with live action, creating a visually distinctive appeal.

Catch The Amazing World of Gumball every day at 8am and 5pm on Cartoon Network.

A list of all the winners at this year’s British Animation Awards, can be viewed on Skwigly’s website on the link below: