RTÉ overhauls children's TV schedule


RTÉ has announced the biggest overhaul of its children's television schedule to date.

The station today unveiled plans for two new programmes strands. RTÉjr will be broadcast for under sixes and TRTÉ for children aged seven to 15 on RTÉ2 from the beginning of next week.

A number of new characters for children have been introduced.

Presenter Emma O'Driscoll will have a new puppet friend in Ógie. There will be a new animated series called Punky about a girl with Down Syndrome and Garth and Bev, the animated series which has made it on to CBeebies, returns for a second series.

Happy Valley will be an animated pre-school series based on traditional and contemporary nursery rhymes and songs and there will be a programme called Grubz Up! to encourage children to grow and eat fresh food.

The TRTÉ strand for older children will feature a new programme called The Rumour Room which will replace The Den. It will be presented by new faces Katie Van Buren and Jarlath Regan.

There will also be a daily elev8 programme. It too will feature three new presenters:  Ivan Minnock, Seán Regan and Moldovan-born Diana Bunici.

news2day will be presented by Yvonne Redmond from Co Carlow and Aidan Kelly from Co Offaly.

The new station strands will also have digital radio equivalents in RTÉjr and TRTÉ.

RTÉ Young Peoples Programme commissioning editor Sheila de Courcy said the new programme strands were "quintessential public service broadcasting for 21st century audiences".

She said RTÉjr would be a "safe, fun, magical place for children" while TRTÉ would reflect the demands of thje older cohort.

"These schedules ensure that our audiences are never more than 30 minutes away from Irish production, from stories and output that reflect their immediate world and their lives," she said.