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Red button is 10 today

digital switchover red button
digital switchover red button

The red buttonIt has been 10 years since the BBC launched its first pilot of the Red Button in the UK. Over that time, the service has evolved and become hugely popular, with an average of 11 million people using it a week.

"The red button has allowed the BBC to provide audiences with access to the latest news, weather and other general information, while also enabling the delivery of an enhanced experience across major sporting and entertainment events," Auntie Beeb said in a statement.

To mark the first decade, an array of content is to be launched across the service.

The recently launched multi-screen service will offer viewers coverage of live snooker, highlights from the Rugby League World Cup in Australia and live statistics complementing BBC Radio 5 Live commentary as England’s cricketers tour India.

EastEnders fans will also be invited to test their knowledge of some of the show’s greatest whodunits, while Mr Smith from The Sarah Jane Adventures will be asking younger viewers if they possess super-human intelligence.

Bob The Builder is in fine voice and will be looking for like-minded pre-schoolers to join him in a spot of karaoke, while CBeebies favourites such as Roly Mo, Tikkabilla and Postman Pat will have a fresh game or story available every week.

Rahul Chakkara, controller of TV Platforms for BBC Future Media and Digital, said the breakthrough innovation of Wimbledon coverage in 2001 redefined what was possible on the television screen.

"Since then, we have continued to experiment and bring fresh new ideas to our audience," Chakkara said. 

"The recent coverage of the Beijing Olympics and the interactive services we’re offering with some of our most popular entertainment shows, like EastEnders, is testament to this."

To celebrate the anniversary of the service, the BBC asked a number of users what has been the best thing they have seen on the service recently.

One female viewer said: "Oasis at the Electric Proms – I didn’t realise you could watch things like this through the Red Button!"

And a male viewer said: "The BBC’s coverage of sporting events like the Olympics or Wimbledon. It gives me the freedom to watch what I want to watch."

Over the past 10 years, the BBC’s Red Button service has won more than 15 awards – including four BAFTAs and an International Emmy for Best Interactive Service in 2007.