The corporation's bid to stem the loss of viewers to ITV and satellite also includes the return of seasoned favourites such as Blue Peter, Grange Hill and the gritty series set in Newcastle, Byker Grove.
Anna Home, head of BBC children's programmes, said the corporation had listened hard to young viewers' opinions before drawing up the schedule. 'What they like is a lot of traditional classic programmes like Blue Peter and Grange Hill. We've had a tough couple of years, but it's by no means been disastrous. We've had the courage of our conviction to try to maintain wide-ranging and diverse schedules, because no one else is going to provide them.' She accused ITV of opting for easy viewing formats such as cartoons and entertainment.