CBBC Memories – Xchange.

Xchange (CBBC, 2000-2006)

Ooh look, a review of TV show that begins with an “X”, how exciting. When the CBBC Channel launched in 2002, for the first time the BBC could compete in the children’s channel market and offer programming in timeslots well beyond what was available on BBC1 and BBC2, which was usually only about an hour or two a day. But there was just one problem – what would they fill all this time with?

Although I was almost 20 years old by this point, I do remember enjoying some shows in the early days of CBBC, including Dick And Dom In Da Bungalow, The Nelly Nut Show, and The UK Top 40, and this one too, partly because it was shown so frequently. I didn’t realise that Xchange actually began in 2000, and it was one of those shows that gave viewers ideas of activities to do during the long summer holidays. vlcsnap-00091

After another series in 2001, Xchange was chosen to be at the core of CBBC’s launch schedule, usually being shown two or three times a day. I suppose looking back, the show comes across as somewhere between The Big Breakfast and Blue Peter as a lively mix of features. Firstly, there were the presenters, and editions were hosted by three, chosen from a pool of about seven. vlcsnap-00059

These included Ade Adepitan, and also Anna Kumble, who had already found fame a few years earlier when she was a pop star and had some hit singles under the name Lolly. Her songs weren’t really my type of thing (most of them seemed to be aimed at five-year-old girls), I do remember some of them, and her becoming a TV presenter was an interesting move, the show was never really the same after she left. vlcsnap-00019

And of course there were lots of features, such as viewers being able to phone in to play games and win prizes, reviews of all the latest things such as computer games, films, pop music, and so on. And there were plenty of guests, especially pop stars, where they knew they would interviewed in a far less scathing way than on Popworld. Lots of big names appeared, and the day that Busted were in the studio, well, you can imagine the excitement. vlcsnap-00021

Such was the demand of a being a daily show, although it ran for about six years, there were over 2,000 editions of Xchange (there would also be compilation shows of the week’s highlights). I didn’t watch it much by the end, but by that point the presenting line-up included a puppet called Vinnie The Ferret, and I’m not sure if that’s ever a good sign or not. Overall it was rather fun though, and it definitely helped CBBC to get off to a good start.