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Auntie touts e-babysitting ... and no £15,000 in-app purchase shocks

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The BBC's kiddie TV wing, CBeebies, has turned out a "free" collection of mobile games for parents happy to let Captain Barnacles and the Alphablocks rear their children.

The games, bundled into the CBeebies Playtime app for Android and iOS, come from the broadcast side of the corporation so are funded from the television licence, but include games based around the Octonauts, Alphablocks, Tree Fu Tom and Something Special, and cope with the idea of multiple children sharing one device, too.

The inclusion of Something Special is interesting as Justin Fletcher (star of that show, and, it seems, most of the UK's kiddie TV) has his own iOS apps that sell for a couple of quid a time. But the BBC owns Something Special so it's touting a colouring game of its own, carrying the show's brand.

The BBC, affectionately known as Auntie in the UK, has long offered a handful of news and sport apps – and the always exciting Antiques Roadshow guess-the-value game, providing new ways to access existing content, but the Playtime app is more akin to the Flash content littered around the BBC's website.

The corporation is playing up the fact that CBeebies Playtime has no in-app purchasing (to stop young ones quietly racking up extortionate bills) and is free to download. It's funded by the telly tax, making it ideal for handing over to one's offspring with confidence assuming one has space for the 150MB download.

It's already in iTunes and Google Play; at the time of writing it hadn't turned up in the Amazon store but the BBC say it will be on those shelves later today. Windows Phone and BlackBerry users will just have to play with their children in the traditional manner. ®

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