From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
Flag of the United Kingdom
| Original anime airdates
|| March 29, 1999
|| June 6, 2004
|| February 4, 2008
|| February 27, 2011*|
June 4, 2011*
|| October 19, 2013*|
April 5, 2014*
|| November 20, 2016*|
April 11, 2017*
|| May 25, 2020*|
September 1, 2020*
The Pokémon franchise first reached the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 1999 with the release of Pokémon Red and Blue Versions and the airing of the anime dub, both in English.
All Pokémon games that have been released in the United States have also been released in the United Kingdom, with the exception of Hey You, Pikachu!. Additionally, English language versions of Pokémon Tetris and Learn with Pokémon: Typing Adventure have been released in the United Kingdom, despite the title never being released in North America. The United Kingdom release dates tend to be some time after the American release dates, with the exception of Pokémon Dash, PokéPark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure, and Pokémon Black and White, which were released in the United Kingdom before the United States.
Games that are released in the United Kingdom are inconsistent with British English spelling. For example, spelling variations such as color and center are not changed to colour and centre for the UK releases. This is due to most games using a single English translation as localised by The Pokémon Company International in the United States. However, the Generation VIII games reference some British slang such as "rubbish", "mum" and "chaps", as the Galar region is based on Great Britain.
Event Pokémon have been released in the United Kingdom sporadically. An event in 2005 known as "The Hunt for Deoxys" was held at Vue cinemas for two days each across the country, where players of Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen and Pokémon Emerald were able to download the AuroraTicket. The recent introduction of Wi-Fi events has allowed UK players access to many previously unavailable event Pokémon. Prior to this, very few event Pokémon were made available to UK players, and when events at malls and other stores were held, many parts of the country were overlooked. This changed in Generation V, where in-store events became much more wide-spread across the country.
Sky1's current logo, introduced in 2016
The original series and Advanced Generation series aired on Sky1, a British channel which is owned by Sky plc. They began airing the anime on the 29 March 1999. It aired episodes on weekdays at 9am. The channel aired every season up to Advanced Challenge in 2005, when Sky's contract with 4Kids expired and newer seasons of the Anime moved to Toonami.
Sky One Mix
Sky One Mix was a sister channel to Sky1 that shared many of the latters programming, including the Pokémon anime, which aired on an irregular basis. The channel was later rebranded as simply Sky Mix, and finally Sky2. Like Sky1, the channel has since dropped the anime from its lineup.
Pokémon also previously aired on ITV (later ITV1, later reverted back to ITV) from 1999 to 2004. ITV is a public service network station that broadcasts in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is currently owned by ITV plc, formerly Carlton Communications and Granada plc. ITV plc is the only company that has broadcast the anime on UK terrestrial television. Although it no longer airs episodes, its sister channel CITV continues to do so, originally simulcast upon ITV4 until June 2010, when the GMTV2 block on ITV4 was removed.
Before CITV had its own channel, it had a block on ITV from 15:30 to 17:15 on weekdays. Pokémon aired regularly in this block starting in 1999, showing episodes from The Indigo League and Adventures in the Orange Islands.
GMTV is an early-morning programming block on ITV. Episodes of Pokémon used to air every Saturday beginning at 8:50 and ending by 9:25. It was originally shown in this time slot from September 1999 until April 2003, airing episodes from The Indigo League, Adventures in the Orange Islands and The Johto Journeys.
On June 6, 2004, Pokemon Advanced aired on Sunday mornings on GMTV Kids' "Up on the Roof" block, which also showed other programmes like Yu-Gi-Oh!, Totally Spies! and the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. One episode a week was aired until Mid-October when it was cancelled. Brave the Wave was the last episode to be shown on the whole ITV network until early 2015 when the whole Advanced Generation series aired on CITV.
SM:TV Live was a live Saturday morning entertainment show with a 9:25 to 11:30 block which ended in 2003. It would replace the Who's That Pokémon? segment with small sketches that featured the hosts, Ant & Dec, having their own "PokéFight". Some later episodes featured the duo performing their own Kanto Pokérap.
ITV has, on more than one occasion, skipped episodes or canceled airings mid-series. These are planned as the TV guides published over a week before date of transmission reflect this. This is not uncommon practice as it has also happened to ReBoot, Cardcaptors, Digimon and Yu-Gi-Oh!. This is not limited to children's animation, with the initial run of Season 1 of Pushing Daisies being the most prominent example of a non-children's program.
Pokémon has been cancelled prematurely twice; once during the Orange Islands saga on CITV and once just after Pokémon: Advanced started on GMTV. Neither series has been seen on the ITV1 channel since.
Cartoon Network TOO
Cartoon Network TOO's logo
Cartoon Network TOO (CN Too for short) was a spin-off television channel of Cartoon Network UK. As its name suggests, it contains programming that aired on both Cartoon Network and Toonami.
Formally known as Toonami, the channel was the location of the world premiere of Pokémon Chronicles. CN TOO and Cartoon Network went on to show the UK premiere of seasons 8, 9 and 10 as well as gradually going through the older seasons starting from season 3. The final new season to premier on the channel was Pokémon: Diamond & Pearl before the series migrated to Jetix (later Disney XD) from Pokémon Diamond & Pearl: Battle Dimension onward. CN TOO continued to show repeats of older seasons after the migration, until late 2010.
The channel closed down on 1 April 2014.
Currently, the anime airs on CITV, a United Kingdom TV digital network station owned by ITV. It shares its name with the former programming block on ITV1, CITV's parent channel. This channel is free to view on almost all UK Digital TV systems. It is also available over the internet as streaming television on their website. The channel is currently the first to air new episodes on UK television.
As its own channel it has shown the English dub of Pokémon: Battle Frontier and the Best Wishes, XY, and Sun & Moon series. They have also shown all four Diamond & Pearl series movies, as well as Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time & Darkness. It has shown episodes that were simulcast on ITV.
In October 2012, it began transmitting episodes of Pokémon Black & White: Rival Destinies in late weekend morning programming slots. Beginning May 19, 2013, the channel began airing two back-to-back episodes of Pokémon Black & White: Adventures in Unova on Sunday mornings. Until 2014, episodes that were shown on CITV were usually repeated several months later on Disney XD.
On 5 April 2014, CITV began airing Pokémon the Series: XY. All four episodes of Pokémon Origins aired on CITV from May 27, 2014 through May 30, 2014; each consecutive episode airing at 7:35 am.
On 6 April 2015, CITV began airing Pokémon the Series: XY Kalos Quest on a weekly basis.
On 9 April 2016, CITV began airing Pokemon the Series: XYZ as part of a mini-marathon including the Mega Evolution Specials, Spell of the Unown: Entei and the repeat of Hoopa and the Clash of Ages.
CITV began airing Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon—Ultra Adventures over five days from 26 March to 31 March 2018 at 8:20 am. From 3 April to 13 April, episodes aired on Tuesday through Friday mornings. CITV aired the show over four days from 29 May to 1 June at 8:25 am. From 13 August to 30 August, new episodes resumed airing on Monday through Thursday mornings at 9:00 am. New episodes then resumed airing on Tuesday through Friday mornings from 23 October to 2 November at 7:45 am. New episodes resumed airing from 26 December to 28 December at 11:35 am, and then on weekday mornings from 31 December 2018 to 4 January 2019, usually at 11:00 am. On 1 January, The Long Vault Home! aired at the later time of 11:15 am, immediately after the United Kingdom TV debut of the film The Power of Us, which started at 9:25 am.
The broadcast of Ultra Adventures in the United Kingdom regularly led to it overtaking the weekly schedule of the English dub in the United States.
Additionally, ITV use a service on their website known as the ITV Hub, which allows viewers to watch its programming on demand, including CITV programmes such as Pokémon. A list of their available Pokémon episodes can be found here.
Previously known as Jetix, Pokémon migrated to the channel from Cartoon Network beginning with DP: Battle Dimensions. The channel continued to be Pokémon's main cable and satellite station well into its rebranding into Disney XD, before dropping the show after Pokémon the Series: XY. Both incarnations also aired many of the Pokémon movies during its run, starting from Rise of Darkrai, up to Genesect and the Legend Awakened.
Pop Max began airing the Pokémon anime on 1 January 2018 with episodes from the Best Wishes series. It has since also aired on the main Pop channel, showing episodes of the Best Wishes series and the XY series beginning in 2018. Starting on 29 October 2018, Pop Max has started airing the XY series.
Starting on 4 March 2019, Pop and Pop Max have started airing the Diamond & Pearl series. These airings are cropped by Sony Pictures Television into the 16:9 aspect ratio from their original 4:3 ratio, meaning parts of the footage are cut out. Starting in May 2019, Pop and Pop Max have started airing the original series with the same aspect ratio situation.
Starting 1 September 2020, Pop will be the anime's British home as they premiere Pokémon Journeys.
The first three Pokémon movies, as well as the 20th and 21st, were released theatrically, accompanied by the same Pokémon Trading Card Game promotions as the US releases. The first movie was released on April 14, 2000 to coincide with the two week Easter school holidays; the second movie on December 22, 2000; the third movie on April 6, 2001; and the 21st movie on November 24, 2019. The first three movies were released on VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray; and the 20th and 21st on DVD and Blu-ray.
Every movie after the first three would be released on an irregular basis. Both the fourth and fifth movies were released directly to DVD in 2003 and 2005 respectively, while the sixth movie's DVD release came in 2006. In the same year, the eighth and ninth movies aired on Cartoon Network, but would not make video releases until 2015, when they were released on iTunes. In 2008, the tenth movie was released on DVD. All of the movies from the eleventh onward would be aired on television a reflectively short time after the US, on both CITV and Disney XD. In 2012, seven years after the US release, the seventh movie finally saw the light of day in the country when it was released on DVD.
Additionally, the special episode Mewtwo Returns (marketed as a direct-to-video movie outside of Japan) saw a UK release on VHS. The DVD version was never released for unknown reasons.
The live-action Detective Pikachu movie was filmed in London. It was released in the UK on May 10th, 2019.
The VHS releases of Indigo League, as well as the first 3 Movies, Mewtwo Returns and Pikachu's Winter Vacation were distributed by Warner Home Video, under the Warner Bros. Family Entertainment label.
Pokemon 4Ever and Pokemon Heroes original releases were distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment, under the Home Entertainment label.
Jirachi Wish Maker was distributed by Paramount Home Entertainment UK under license from Miramax Home Entertainment.
Destiny Deoxys, alongside the re-releases of 4Ever and Heroes were distributed by StudioCanal for Miramax, who was sold off by Disney in 2010, and included all of Miramax's library of movies.
The Rise of Darkrai was distributed by Network, a company who are known for releasing old British TV shows onto home media. They had plans to release other Pokemon material and even had a dedicated section to the franchise on their website.
The eleventh through fifteenth films were distributed by Universal Studios Home Entertainment UK.
As of 2016, Manga Entertainment distributes the Anime on DVD and Blu-Ray, and own the rights to all seasons of the show, and all the movies apart from the ones that Miramax own.
The United Kingdom, like the US, first got Pokémon on Netflix, a subscription-based on demand service available in a wide range of countries, on March 1, 2014, with episodes of Pokémon: Indigo League and Pokémon: Black & White, as well as the movies Pokémon the Movie: Black—Victini and Reshiram and Pokémon the Movie: White—Victini and Zekrom. The Pokémon anime is also available on Prime Video.
Pokémon manga licensed and translated into English is distributed in the United Kingdom by VIZ Media, including Pokémon Diamond and Pearl Adventure! and the popular Pokémon Adventures series.
Pokémon Trading Card Game
The Pokémon Trading Card Game, although declining in popularity, is still being sold throughout the UK.
When it was first released, the game was very popular among UK children. Like in many other countries, the TCG was eventually banned in most schools, because of "classroom distraction". Conflict between students regarding Trading Cards also resulted in the cards being banned from some schools. Its popularity faded out as it was replaced by other popular crazes such as Yu-Gi-Oh! cards.
The United Kingdom receives some of the same Pokémon merchandise that is available in the United States, such as plush toys which have been released in major department chains, though merchandise given away in fast food restaurants has become non-existent, as the Pokémon movies are no longer shown at cinemas. Some collectibles, such as the Pokémon Advanced Action Cards, were sold in the UK and Europe but not in North America. Despite Pokémon's decline in popularity, merchandise can be found in UK stores, such as GAME and W H Smith.
A promotional CD-ROM was released in the UK newspaper Daily Express in 2001. When played in a CD player, it would play a sample of the song Gotta Catch 'Em All by 50.Grind. When played in a computer, additional features could be accessed, such as desktop wallpapers, the music video to Gotta Catch 'Em All, and other content.
A Pokémon Official Magazine was started up in 2004 in the United Kingdom. It was intended to have a quarterly release schedule, but it was cancelled after its second issue due to low sales. In February 2013, it was announced by Future Publishing that the Pokémon Official Magazine would be returning to the UK, with a publishing schedule of 13 issues per year. However, this was also soon cancelled after publishing 13 issues. A third Pokémon Official Magazine started on 29 March 2017. Pocket World magazine was also published in the United Kingdom, although it does not exclusively cover Pokémon, being made up of several other franchises that involve 'cartoon brands staring monsters' (such as Moshi Monsters, Bakugan and Redakai).
A UK Pokémon fan, Lisa Courtney, holds the Guiness World Record for having the largest Pokémon memorabilia.
An eight-city tour was held in the United Kingdom in commemoration of the Pokémon 10th Anniversary. ten event Pokémon were distributed at the events — Charizard, Pikachu, Articuno, Raikou, Entei, Suicune, Lugia, Ho-Oh, Latias and Latios. These ten Pokémon were chosen by Nintendo of Europe following a popularity poll earlier in the year. Other activities at the events included Pokémon Trading Card Game and Pokémon Trading Figure Game stations and anime episode screenings.
| October 14-15, 2006
|| Southampton, West Quay
| October 21-22, 2006
|| Manchester, Trafford Centre
| October 23-24, 2006
|| Newcastle, Metro Centre
| October 26-27, 2006
|| London, Lakeside
| October 28-29, 2006
|| Cardiff, Capitol
| November 4-5, 2006
|| Glasgow, Buchanan Galleries
| November 11-12, 2006
|| Milton Keynes, The Centre
| November 18-19, 2006
|| Birmingham, The Bull Ring
- Pokémon Black and White were represented in the United Kingdom by The X Factor finalists One Direction, a boy band. The group promoted the games through television commercials and concerts, and its members have been life-long Pokémon fans. They are one of a number of acts representing Nintendo as ambassadors in the United Kingdom, which has also included Jedward, JLS, and The Saturdays.