The BBC Learning Zone was launched in October 1995 as an extension service of BBC Two, to free up more of their schedule. Previously, these educational programmes had been based on the channel in mornings and often until the early afternoon on weekdays. However, following the channel’s rebranding to the ‘2’ idents and the increased viewer perception that resulted from it, the channel was anxious to use more of their daytime for different programming. The Learning Zone was the solution to this problem.
The idea had been around for a while: by 1995 both ITV and Channel 4 were operating as 24 hour channels, freeing up their prime time and daytime schedules. The BBC had also had a go at producing specialist television overnight by launching BBC Select. This service played out encrypted programming for the professions (Doctors, Lawyers etc.) overnight between 1992 and 1994.
With thanks to Benriggers, for his contribution to this page.