The Disney Channel is to launch Telugu and Tamil versions of its pre-school programming in India, while increasing its content to appeal to children of up to seven years old.

The new Disney Junior block, to be aired from 4 July between 11am and 12.30pm Monday to Friday, will now comprise Hindi, English, Telugu and Tamil strands. It replaces the Disney Playhouse block, which was aimed at two to five year olds – although retaining many of its programmes.

“Disney Junior will have the all-time favourites with exciting new content to age-up our pre-school offerings, focusing on two to seven year olds and their families,” says Natasha Malhotra, vice president and general manager, India, Walt Disney Television International.

“Playhouse Disney built a great base with pioneering content such as Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Disney Junior will further bolster the emotional connect that Disney has with kids and families across the country,” added Ms Malhotra.

The animated adventure series Jake and the Neverland Pirates – complete with Cryrus Broacha as the voice of Sharky and Sid Coutto as the voice of Bones - will kick off proceedings on the channel at 11am; followed by Mickey Mouse Clubhouse at 11.30 and The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That at midday.

Shows such as Handy Manny, Special Agent Oso and Little Einsteins, previously available on Disney Playhouse, will be included in the line-up. New short form content from the hugely popular Disney films Cars and Toy Story will also be introduced to Indian audiences, in the form of Car Toons and Toy Treats.

Rebecca Hawkes | 01-07-2011