Children's Hour—at first: "The Children's Hour", from a verse by Longfellow (1)—was the name of the BBC's principal recreational service for children (as distinct from "Broadcasts to Schools") during the period when radio dominated broadcasting.
Children's Hour was broadcast from 1922 to 1964, originally from the BBC's London station (2LO), soon joined by other regional stations, then in the BBC Regional Programme, before transferring to its final home, the new BBC Home Service, at the outbreak of World War II. Parts of the programme were also rebroadcast by the BBC World Service. For the last three years of its life (until 27 March 1964), the title Children's Hour was no longer used, the programmes in its "time slot" going out under the umbrella heading of For the Young.
In the United Kingdom, Children's Hour was broadcast from 5pm to 6pm on weekdays, this being a time when children could be expected to be home from school, and was aimed at an audience aged about 5 to 15 years: in its earliest years, at least, the concept of the "teenager" had scarcely been invented. Programming was imbued with Reithian virtues, and Children's Hour was often criticised, like "Auntie" BBC itself, for paternalism and middle-class values. It was nonetheless hugely popular, and its presenters were national figures, their voices instantly recognisable. Derek McCulloch was closely involved with the programme from 1926, and ran the department from 1933 until 1950 when he had to resign for health reasons.
Among popular series on Children's Hour were:
Among actors and presenters who were famous for their work on Children's Hour work were: