Suvarna Garge (Editor)

BBC Switch

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Area served
United Kingdom


20 October 2007 (2007-10-20)

18 December 2010 (2010-12-18)

Programming block on BBC Two Programming block on BBC Radio 1 Online Portal

BBC Switch was the brand for BBC content aimed at UK teenagers. The brand launched on Saturday 20 October 2007 on BBC Two and ceased broadcasting on 18 December 2010. It included a block of television programmes on BBC Two, an online portal, and programming on the BBC's youth radio station, BBC Radio 1. It was BBC Two's second programming block aimed at teenagers, following on from DEF II.



Four programmes were originally shown as part of BBC Switch on Saturday afternoons on BBC Two. Sound was a weekly music entertainment and chat show presented by Annie Mac and Nick Grimshaw. Falcon Beach was an imported Canadian coming-of-age drama about teenagers, their passions, relationships, friends, families and enemies. Them was a documentary series that explored the different teenage tribes that exist in Britain today. The Surgery presented by Jeff Leach was a chat show for BBC Switch, which effectively replaced The Sunday Surgery presented by Kelly Osbourne, aimed to help teenagers with everyday problems.

On 17 May 2008, three new shows were launched under the BBC Switch brand: Kyle XY, a sci-fi drama, Class of 2008, a documentary series which followed six friends in London, and Revealed..., a new journalism show which looked at the lives of teens in the UK, presented by Charlotte Ashton and Anthony Baxter. The ABC Family show Greek was also shown.

Since 2008, continuity links for BBC Switch on BBC Two were presented by Tom Deacon and AJ Odudu either at an outdoor location in various parts of the UK or indoors in The 5:19 Show studio. Previously it was presented by 'Flash Louis'.

The 5:19 Show also had a slot on Saturday afternoons, a show that was focussed around a celebrity interview with a game that often used a pun on the celebrity name. This was also presented by Tom Deacon and AJ Odudu. (The 5:19 Show is also used for the interstitials.) Tom Deacon also hosted a 5:19 Show as part of the Sunday night Switch broadcast on Radio 1.


BBC Radio 1 devoted Sunday evenings to BBC Switch from 7pm. The 5:19 show started at 7pm and finished at 9pm when The Surgery with Aled started, and then at 10pm, Annie and Nick, who previously aired from 7-10 pm, aired until midnight.

"Switch" was unique in the fact that younger viewers' contributions were also aired. Some were even involved in pre- and post-production roles.

BBC Radio Switch the digital sister station of BBC Radio 1 launched in 2008.


BBC Switch online was a website portal linking teens to content across the BBC including BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 1Xtra, BBC Blast and EastEnders. The Switch brand also included Slink, an online magazine for teenage girls.

Annie Mac said: "I'm really honoured and excited to be involved with BBC Switch on Sunday nights. The show is going to be like nothing heard on radio before. It's a proper challenge for me and something I can't wait to get stuck in to."

"As for Sound, I'm really looking forward to working with Grimmy [Nick Grimshaw] and the opportunity to showcase new and upcoming bands on TV is truly exciting for me, it's so important that music gets this kind of TV exposure."

The 5:19 Show was also part of BBC Switch. It was hosted by Tom Deacon and AJ Odudu online from Monday to Friday at 5:19pm. The show was named 5:19 in recognition of the time most teenagers log-on.

Live events

The first BBC Switch Live was held on 12 October 2008 at the Hammersmith Apollo. It featured performances by Fall Out Boy, Ne-Yo, Miley Cyrus, McFly, Basshunter and N-Dubz, with a special guest performance by George Sampson. The event, hosted by Annie Mac, Nick Grimshaw, Kelly Osbourne and Tom Deacon, was strictly for 14- to 17-year-olds.

The second event was held on 8 November 2009, at the same venue. Aled Haydn Jones, Kimberly Walsh, Annie Mac and Nick Grimshaw hosted, with many acts playing, including The Saturdays, JLS, N-Dubz, The Black Eyed Peas, Shaheen Jafargholi, Alexandra Burke and Pixie Lott. Many of the performances were made available for viewing on the BBC Switch website. The awards were designed and produced by UK trophy manufacturer Gaudio Awards.


Director general Mark Thompson's strategic review of the corporation's scope and activities included proposals to close the cross media brands BBC Switch and BBC Blast, which are aimed at teenagers. In February 2010, The Guardian and The Times newspapers both reported that the BBC Switch website was under threat of closure, in a review of the BBC's online presence.

On 5 July 2010, the BBC Trust published an interim announcement which confirmed that the Trust would support Mark Thompson's proposal to close BBC Blast! and BBC Switch, effectively signalling the closure of both brands. But confirmed that BBC Radio Switch as well as their involvement with BBC Radio 1 would continue under the management of BBC Radio.

On 17 December 2010, Andy Parfitt confirmed he will remain in control of BBC Radio Switch.

On 18 December 2010, BBC Switch finally ended. It was announced that the closure of BBC Switch was due to a 25% cut in the BBC Online budget, reducing it by £34 million. All possibility that the site would return was removed upon this announcement on 24 January 2011.


BBC Switch Wikipedia

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