Department of Health sponsors The Simpsons in Change4Life initiative

LONDON - The Department of Health has agreed a deal with Channel 4 to sponsor The Simpsons, as part of its £75 million Change4Life initiative, which aims to reduce obesity in the UK.

View all eight Simpsons idents, plus credits

Created by M&C Saatchi, the idents will see the Aardman Animations-created Change4Life characters recreating the familiar image of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie sitting on the sofa at the beginning of each episode of The Simpsons.

The characters will at first be eating junk-food snacks including pizza and ice-cream, but these items will then disappear and be replaced with healthier alternatives such as fruit and vegetables.

The ads, which cost around £640,000, will be screened for the first time tonight, and will continue to run until Christmas Day.

The sponsorship deal was brokered by Manning Gottlieb OMD.

Earlier this year, the communications regulator Ofcom ruled that Domino's Pizza's sponsorship of The Simpsons breached the broadcasting code because it advertised junk food to children.