BBC to be the new home of Pokémon in the UK, with Pokémon Horizons premiering in December

Posted at: 10:32am on 9th November 2023(Updated at: 10:32 am 9/11/2023)

After more than 20 years since the Pokémon anime first broadcast in the UK on commercial rival ITV – briefly becoming the star feather in the cap of Ant & Dec’s Saturday morning show at the time – the BBC has become the new home of Pokémon. The latest series, Pokémon Horizons – the first since Ash & Pikachu’s departure earlier this year – will broadcast the first 6 episodes this December on CBBC and the iPlayer.

The rights to air any of the Pokémon anime were first acquired by the BBC in 2021 as part of Pokémon’s 25th Anniversary celebrations. Currently, all 189 episodes of Pokémon Diamond & Pearl, 142 episodes of Pokémon Black & White, 140 Episodes of Pokémon X & Y, and 145 episodes of Pokémon Sun & Moon are available on iPlayer, along with 8 Pokémon movies.

However, the debut of Pokémon Horizons marks the first time the BBC have broadcast any new episodes of the Pokémon anime in the UK, with relatively unknown cable channels like POP having had the rights to first broadcast for the last several years.

“We are delighted to continue our partnership with the world-renowned BBC to bring this hugely anticipated new season to UK viewers, free to air,” said Emily Arons, senior vice president of international business for The Pokémon Company International. “We know that Pokémon’s massive UK fanbase can’t wait to catch their first glimpse of the enthralling new story arc, and we hope that the BBC’s huge audience will enjoy uncovering the mysteries of the Pokémon world along with Liko and Roy.”

Sarah Muller, Senior Head of Commissioning for CBBC, added: “We know families love the world of Pokémon, and we can’t wait to bring this all-new Pokémon animated adventure to the home of children’s programming in the UK and just in time for the festive season.”

In the United States, Netflix is expected to maintain the rights to Pokémon Horizons, but no release date has yet been confirmed – meaning the dub could even potentially air in the UK first on the BBC.

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