Pokémon in the United Kingdom

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Pokémon in United Kingdom
Pokémon logo English.png
United Kingdom Flag.png
Flag of the United Kingdom
Language English
Continent Europe
Original anime airdates
EP001 March 29, 1999
AG001 June 6, 2004
DP001 February 4, 2008
BW001 February 27, 2011*
June 4, 2011*
XY001 October 19, 2013*
April 5, 2014*
SM001 November 20, 2016*
April 11, 2017*
JN001 May 25, 2020*
September 1, 2020*

The Pokémon franchise first reached the United Kingdom in 1999 with the release of Pokémon Red and Blue Versions and the airing of the anime dub, both in English.

Pokémon games

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 these titles having never been released in North America. Prior to release dates becoming simultaneous globally, the United Kingdom release dates tended to be some time after the American release dates, with the exceptions 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 English translation of Pokémon Sword and Shield contains some British slang such as "rubbish", "mum" and "chaps", as the Galar region is based on Great Britain.

Event Pokémon

Prior to Generation IV, event Pokémon were sporadically released in the United Kingdom. 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 introduction of Wi-Fi events in Generation IV has allowed UK players access to many events, including 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. Since Generation V, in-store events have become much more widespread across the country.

Pokémon anime

Sky One

Sky One logo since 2020

Sky One was a British pay television channel owned and operated by Sky, a subsidiary of Comcast[1], that first began broadcasting on April 26, 1982 and served (along with sister channel Sky Atlantic) as the flagship channel for Sky UK and Sky Ireland. The channel ceased broadcast on August 31, 2021, and was replaced with two new channels; Sky Showcase and Sky Max.

Season one of the anime first began airing on Sky One on March 29, 1999, on weekday mornings at 9am. Sky One was the first-run and main broadcaster for the Pokémon anime for the first seven seasons.

In May 2004, Sky One's first-run pay rights to the first three seasons expired, with 4Kids Entertainment signing a third-window deal with Cartoon Network to also air the seasons on the Toonami channel in addition to Sky One. Sky One retained the rights to first-run season seven.[2]

In 2005, 4Kids' deal with Cartoon Network was extended, which fully moved the pay-rights to new episodes of the Pokémon anime to Toonami starting from season eight.[3] Despite this, Sky One continued to rerun older episodes until their rights fully expired in the middle of 2008.

Sky Replay

Sky Replay (originally Sky One Mix, then Sky Mix and Sky Two) is a British pay television channel operated by Sky as a sister channel to Sky Showcase, Sky Max and Sky Witness, and repeats programmes from these three networks.

The channel launched in December 2002, and between then and the anime moving to Toonami, episodes were aired on Sky One Mix on an irregular basis.


ITV channel logo until 14 November 2022

ITV is a British free-to-air television network first launched on September 22, 1955[4]. The network is split into 14 regional licences and a "national breakfast time" licence. These licences were originally awarded to separate companies that would produce local programming for their region as well as sharing programmes across the network. However, these companies eventually merged and by 2015[5] the network was made up of three channels owned by two companies; ITV1 and UTV owned by ITV plc and STV owned by the STV Group (with the UTV channel being fully absorbed into the ITV channel in 2020). The two channels broadcast largely the same content, although there continue to be local news broadcasts in the 14 regional areas.

From 1999 to 2001 and in 2003, the Pokémon anime aired as part of the program SM:TV Live, a Saturday-morning children's television programme which aired between August 29, 1998 and December 27, 2003 across the ITV network. Between 1999 and 2001, the Who's That Pokémon? segment of anime episodes was replaced by former SMTV hosts Ant & Dec (and often other celebrity guests) performing a "PokéRap"[6] or "Pokéfight"[7] sketch instead.


Between January 1, 1993 and November 2009, the "national breakfast time" licence was held by GMTV (who were then acquired by ITV plc).

Between September 1999 and April 2003, GMTV would air the Pokémon anime each Saturday morning at 8:50am. During this time, episodes from season one, two and three were broadcast.

On June 6, 2004, season six began airing on GMTV's Sunday Up on the Roof block, with one new episode being shown every week up until Brave the Wave in mid-October that year when the show was removed following news of its cancellation.[8]

CITV logo since 2013


CITV (short for Children's ITV) was a late afternoon children's television block on the ITV network from January 3, 1983[9] until late 2006.

Beginning in 1999, Pokémon aired regularly during the block, starting with season one and two.

On 11 March 2006, CITV launched as a separate channel[10], owned and operated by ITV plc, that broadcasts from 6am to 9pm daily. Between 2006 and July 2010, the CITV channel (including Pokémon episodes) was often simulcast on ITV 4 during that channel's GMTV2 block.

Since its launch, the CITV channel has shown the terrestrial premiere of season nine and was the main British broadcaster for Pokémon the Series: Black & White, Pokémon the Series: XY, and Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon, including their respective movies. In the mid-2010s, CITV also reaired Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl and Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire, alongside their respective movies, and aired Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time & Darkness.

Between May 27, 2014 and May 30, 2014, all four episodes of Pokémon Origins aired on the channel and on April 9, 2016, to mark the beginning of series 19, a mini-marathon including the Mega Evolution Specials, movie three and movie 18 aired. On January 1, 2019, the channel held the UK television premiere of movie 21.

On April 23, 2020, it was announced that season 23 of the anime would air exclusively on rival channel POP[11] from September 1, 2020. With this, the show no longer broadcasts on CITV.


ITV Hub logo

ITV Hub (originally ITV Player) is an ad-supported streaming video on demand service, owned and operated by ITV plc, that launched as a unified service on December 5, 2008[12]. The service offers programmes shown on the ITV network and its sister channels (including CITV). The service is available via the ITV website and dedicated apps for iOS, Android or Smart TV devices.

Episodes of the Pokémon anime were available on the service for up to 30 days after their broadcast on the CITV channel. On September 1, 2020, season 23 began airing on POP, and Pokémon stopped being available on ITV Hub shortly thereafter.

Cartoon Network Too

Cartoon Network Too logo until May 2012
Main article: Cartoon Network

Cartoon Network Too was a British children's channel owned and operated by Turner Broadcasting System Europe (a subsidiary of WarnerMedia) that aired between May 24, 2007 and April 1, 2014 (having previously been broadcasting as Toonami since September 2003).

In May 2004, Toonami began re-airing the first three seasons of the anime as part of a new third-window deal with 4Kids Entertainment.[2]

Between May 11, 2005 and October 5, 2005, Pokémon Chronicles had its world premiere on the UK Toonami channel[3], and the channel then began airing season eight of the anime[13]. Toonami / Cartoon Network Too then went on to air seasons nine and ten as well as broadcasting episodes from previous seasons, beginning with season three.

In 2008 season 11 premiered on rival channel Jetix, although Cartoon Network Too continued to show repeats of older seasons until late 2010.

Disney XD

Disney XD logo
Main article: Disney XD

Disney XD (UK) was a British children's channel owned and operated by Disney Channels Worldwide that aired between October 2, 1996 and October 1, 2020[14]. Originally named Fox Kids, the channel was rebranded as Jetix in January 2005[15] and then as Disney XD in August 2009[16].

Beginning in late 2008, season 11 began premiered on Jetix as part of a global deal between Jetix Europe and The Pokemon Company International. The anime continued to be broadcast on the rebranded Disney XD up until season 17 in 2014, with the channel also airing movies 10 - 16 during this time. The series was then dropped by the channel and CITV became the exclusive home of season premieres until season 23.


POP logo
POP Player logo

POP, and sister channel POP Max, are British children's television channels owned and operated by Narrative Capital. POP launched on October 1, 2002 as Toons & Tunes before rebranding in May 2003. POP Max launched as Kix! on May 19, 2008 before rebranding in August 2017. Both channels were launched by CSC Media Group, which was acquired by Sony Pictures Television on August 15, 2014[17]. On May 25, 2021, Sony Pictures Television sold its UK channels to Narrative Capital[18].

On January 1, 2018, POP Max began airing episodes from Pokémon the Series: Black & White, and from October 29, 2018, episodes from Pokémon the Series: XY. These seasons were also then shown on POP, and beginning March 4, 2019, POP and POP Max started airing Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl followed by the original series in May 2019. In May 2020, POP began airing Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon, while POP Max re-aired Pokémon the Series: XY.

The POP website features a Pokémon Picture Puzzler sliding puzzle game based on Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon[19], as well as a page about the Pokémon 25th Anniversary[20].

On April 23, 2020 it was announced that POP would gain the exclusive first-run rights to the Pokémon anime[11], and on May 25, 2020 the first four episodes of season 23 aired on the channel as a preview. On September 1, 2020, the season premiered on the channel.

POP Player

POP Player is streaming video on demand service, owned and operated by Narrative Capital that launched on December 4, 2017. The service features shows from Tiny Pop, POP and POP Max and is available via dedicated apps for iOS, Android, PlayStation 4 and other Smart TV platforms[21].

POP Player features recently broadcast episodes of season 23 as well as a selection of ten episodes each from seasons 17 - 21.


The British Broadcasting Corporation is the world's oldest national broadcaster, having been founded on January 1, 1927, and is the primary public service broadcaster in the United Kingdom.[22] The BBC, and its subsidiary BBC Studios, operate several national and international television and radio services, extensive online services, and its BBC News division is the world's largest broadcast news organisation.

On July 20, 2021, the BBC acquired rights to Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl and Pokémon the Series: Black and White for BBC iPlayer and the rights to air the eight movies linked to those series on the CBBC channel as well as iPlayer.[23]

In July 2022, the BBC acquired rights to Pokémon the Series: Sun and Moon and the respective movies to the series.

BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer logo as of 2022

BBC iPlayer is a video on demand service, owned and operated by the BBC, that launched on December 25, 2007.[24] The service is available to television licence holders, offers programmes shown on the BBC's channels in the last 12 months, archived content, shows from Welsh language broadcaster S4C and programmes exclusively made or acquired for the platform.

Season 10 and season 11 of the Pokémon anime, alongside The Rise of Darkrai and Giratina and the Sky Warrior, were added to BBC iPlayer on August 2, 2021. Since then, additional seasons and movies have been added on a bi-monthly basis. Season 12 and Arceus and the Jewel of Life were added to iPlayer on October 22, 2021, followed on with Season 13, Season 14, Zoroark: Master of Illusions, Black—Victini and Reshiram and White—Victini and Zekrom on December 3, 2021. The final content to be added - season 14, season 15, and the movies Kyurem VS. The Sword of Justice and Genesect and the Legend Awakened, were added on February 18, 2022.

Season 20 alongside I Choose You! and The Power of Us were added to iPlayer on July 14, 2022. Season 21 was added on November 11, 2022.


CBBC logo

CBBC (short for Children's BBC) is a children's television channel owned by the BBC. The channel launched on February 11, 2002,[25] and broadcasts from 7am to 9pm daily. Between 1985 and 2013, CBBC was also a block on the BBC One and BBC Two channels with BBC Two reviving the block in 2017.

On August 7, 2021, the CBBC channel first aired The Rise of Darkrai,[26] followed by Giratina and the Sky Warrior on August 14, 2021.[27] The rest of the premieres wrapped up with Arceus and the Jewel of Life on October 23, 2021, and Zoroark: Master of Illusions on December 11, 2021.

For the Black and White movies, both versions of M14 premiered on different days in December 2021, with White—Victini and Zekrom airing on the 18th, and Black—Victini and Reshiram airing on the 21st. It is not yet announced when the other two movies will air right now.

The first four episodes of Series 10 premiered on CBBC on January 1, 2022, as part of a mini-marathon with Black—Victini and Reshiram. Two episodes aired on the channel's morning schedule every Saturday afterwards.

Series 11 began airing on February 14, 2022, with two episodes airing every weekday during the half term. The series has since aired in random blocks on the network.

Series 20 premiered on CBBC on July 25, 2022, with episodes airing every weekday during the summer holidays.

Other digital distribution

The Pokémon anime is also available on Pokémon TV, Prime Video, Google Play, YouTube, the iTunes Store and Now in the United Kingdom.

Service Available content
Pokémon TV.png
Pokémon TV
See: Pokémon TV
Prime Video logo.png
Prime Video
See: List of digital home video releases of Pokémon anime
ITunes Store Icon.png
iTunes Store
Google Play logo.png
Google Play
YouTube Logo 2017.png
Netflix logo.png
See: Netflix
Now TV logo.png


Pokémon movies

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.

Pokémon manga

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 is sold throughout the United Kingdom, with released matching those in the United States.

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, although it has seen a resurgence in recent years.

In 2020, the Pokémon Futsal was exclusively released in England.

Pokémon merchandise

Cover artwork of the first issue of the 2013 Pokémon Official Magazine available in the UK

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 collection of Pokémon memorabilia.[35]


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.

Date Location
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 Center London logo

Between October 18 and November 15, 2019, a temporary Pokémon Center opened at the Westfield London mall in White City, London[36] to celebrate the release of Pokémon Sword and Shield games; the Galar region in the games being based on the United Kingdom[37].


  • Pokémon Black and White were represented in the United Kingdom by The X Factor finalists One Direction, a boy band.[38] 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.[citation needed]

External links


  1. Comcast completes Sky deal - Financial Times (retrieved May 20, 2020)
  2. 2.0 2.1 3rd window UK deal for Pokemon - C21 Media (retrieved September 18, 2021)
  3. 3.0 3.1 4Kids in New U.K. Pokémon Deal - World Screen (archived from the original March 14, 2006; retrieved February 22, 2021)
  4. On This Day - 1955: New TV channel ends BBC monopoly - BBC News (retrieved May 20, 2020)
  5. ITV buys Irish broadcaster UTV for £100m - The Independent (retrieved May 20, 2020)
  6. B*Witched - PokéRap - SM:TV Live 2000 - VHS-Portal (YouTube) (retrieved May 20, 2020)
  7. Bryan Westlife Pokemon- Ant & Dec - Julesy83 (YouTube) (retrieved May 20, 2020)
  8. Up On The Roof Axed! - PKMN.NET (retrieved May 20, 2020)
  9. CITV set for classic kids TV weekend - BBC News (retrieved May 21, 2020)
  10. CITV to launch on Sky in May - Media 247 (archived from the original March 1, 2006; retrieved May 21, 2020)
  11. 11.0 11.1 The Pokémon Company International Reveals New Animation Trailer and Details for Pokémon Journeys: The Series - The Pokémon Company International (retrieved February 22, 2021)
  12. ITV's Catch Up rebranded ITV Player - Campaign (retrieved February 22, 2021)
  13. Toonami UK snags Pokémon: Advanced Battle - Bulbanews (retrieved February 22, 2021)
  14. Disney is eliminating Disney Channel in the UK, moving titles to Disney Plus - The Verge (retrieved February 22, 2021)
  15. ABC Cable Networks Group, Fox Kids Europe And Fox Kids Latin America Launch Jetix As New Global Action-adventure Kids Programming Business - Jetix Europe (archived from the original February 22, 2015; retrieved February 22, 2021)
  16. Jetix to become Disney XD - Digital Spy (retrieved February 22, 2021)
  17. Sony closes CSC deal, ups Kate Marsh - Television Business International (retrieved February 22, 2021)
  18. Sony Pictures Television U.K. Channels Sold to U.S. Investment Firm Narrative Capital - Variety (retrieved June 21, 2021)
  19. Pokémon Picture Puzzler - POP (retrieved February 22, 2021)
  20. Pokémon Day | Celebrate the 25th anniversary - POP (retrieved February 22, 2021)
  21. POP Player - POP (retrieved February 22, 2021)
  22. History of the BBC - 1920s - BBC (retrieved February 22, 2021)
  23. Pokémon is heading to the BBC for the first time as iPlayer catches series and movies - Licensing.biz (retrieved September 18, 2021)
  24. 5 years on: How the BBC iPlayer sparked a TV revolution - TechRadar (retrieved September 18, 2021)
  25. CBBC digital channels go live on Monday 11th February 2002 - BBC Press Office (retrived September 18, 2021)
  26. Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai - CBBC (retrived September 18, 2021)
  27. Giratina and the Sky Warrior - CBBC (retrived September 18, 2021)
  28. Watch Pokemon-Diamond And Pearl - Now TV (retrieved February 22, 2021)
  29. Watch Pokemon: Arceus And The Jewel of Life - Now TV (retrieved February 22, 2021)
  30. Watch Pokemon the Movie: White-Victini - Now TV (retrieved February 22, 2021)
  31. Watch Pokemon The Movie: Black-Victini - Now TV (retrieved February 22, 2021)
  32. Watch Pokemon The Movie: Kyurem Vs. The Sword of Justice - Now TV (retrieved February 22, 2021)
  33. Watch Pokemon The Movie: Genesect And The Legend Awakened - Now TV (retrieved February 22, 2021)
  34. Watch Pokemon Detective Pikachu - Now TV (retrieved February 22, 2021)
  35. The largest collection of Pokémon memorabilia - Guinness World Records
  36. A Pokémon Center Pop-Up Store Opens in London This October - Pokemon.com (retrieved February 22, 2021)
  37. We Interview Junichi Masuda and Shigeru Ohmori about Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield - Pokemon.com (retrieved February 22, 2021)
  38. X Factor star's One Direction revealed as ambassadors for Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version

The Pokémon franchise around the world
The Americas: BrazilCanadaLatin AmericaUnited States
Asia: Greater ChinaIndonesiaMalaysiaPhilippinesSingaporeSouth AsiaSouth KoreaThailandVietnam
Europe: AlbaniaBelgiumBulgariaCroatiaCzech RepublicDenmarkFinlandFranceGermanyGreece
HungaryIcelandIrelandItalyLatviaLithuaniaNetherlandsNorth MacedoniaNorwayPoland
PortugalRomaniaRussiaSerbiaSlovakiaSpainSwedenUkraineUnited Kingdom
Middle East: Arab worldIsraelTurkey
Oceania: AustraliaNew Zealand

Project Globe logo.png This article is part of Project Globe, a Bulbapedia project that aims to write comprehensive articles on the Pokémon franchise around the world.