|Broadcast area||United Kingdom and Ireland|
|Picture format||1080i HDTV (downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)|
|Timeshift service||Channel 4 +1|
|Owner||Channel Four Television Corporation|
|Launched||2 November 1982|
|All 4||Watch live|
|TVPlayer||Watch live (UK only)|
Watch live (UK and Ireland only)
|Virgin TV Anywhere|
Channel 4 is a British free-to-air public service television network. Its headquarters are in London, with a National HQ[ clarification needed ] in Leeds and creative hubs in Glasgow and Bristol.
It began its transmission on 2 November 1982, the day after Welsh language broadcaster S4C's launch. The channel was established to provide a fourth television service in the United Kingdom; at the time the only other channels were the licence-funded BBC 1 and BBC 2, and a single commercial broadcasting network ITV. It is publicly-owned and advertising-funded; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA),the station is now owned and operated by Channel Four Television Corporation, a public corporation of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which was established in 1990 and came into operation in 1993. In 2010, Channel 4 extended service into Wales and became a UK-wide television channel.
Before Channel 4 and S4C, Britain had three terrestrial television services: BBC1, BBC2, and ITV. The Broadcasting Act 1980 began the process of adding a fourth; Channel 4 was formally created, along with its Welsh counterpart, by an act of Parliament in 1982. After some months of test broadcasts, it began scheduled transmissions on 2 November 1982 from Scala House, the former site of the Scala Theatre.
The notion of a second commercial broadcaster in the United Kingdom had been around since the inception of ITV in 1954 and its subsequent launch in 1955; the idea of an "ITV2" was long expected and pushed for. Indeed, television sets sold throughout the 1970s and early 1980s often had a spare tuning button labelled "ITV 2" or "IBA 2". Throughout ITV's history and until Channel 4 finally became a reality, a perennial dialogue existed between the GPO, the government, the ITV companies and other interested parties, concerning the form such an expansion of commercial broadcasting would take. Most likely, politics had the biggest impact in leading to a delay of almost three decades before the second commercial channel became a reality.
One clear benefit of the "late arrival" of the channel was that its frequency allocations at each transmitter had already been arranged in the early 1960s, when the launch of an ITV2 was anticipated.This led to very good coverage across most of the country and few problems of interference with other UK-based transmissions; a stark contrast to the problems associated with Channel 5's launch almost 15 years later. "ITV2" is not to be confused with ITV's digital television channel launched in 1998.
At the time the fourth service was being considered, a movement in Wales lobbied for the creation of dedicated service that would air Welsh language programmes, then only catered for at "off peak" times on BBC Wales and HTV. The campaign was taken so seriously by Gwynfor Evans, former president of Plaid Cymru, that he threatened the government with a hunger strike were it not to honour the plans.
The result was that Channel 4 as seen by the rest of the United Kingdom would be replaced in Wales by Sianel Pedwar Cymru (S4C) ("Channel Four Wales"). Operated by a specially created authority, S4C would air programmes in Welsh made by HTV, the BBC and independent companies. Initially limited frequency space meant that Channel 4 could not be broadcast alongside S4C, though some Channel 4 programmes would be aired at less popular times on the Welsh variant; this practice continued until the closure of S4C's analogue transmissions in 2010, at which time S4C became a fully Welsh channel. With this conversion of the Wenvoe transmitter group in Wales to digital terrestrial broadcasting on 31 March 2010, Channel 4 became a UK-wide television channel for the first time.
Since then, carriage on digital cable, satellite and digital terrestrial has introduced Channel 4 to Welsh homes where it is now universally available.
The first voice heard on Channel 4's opening day of 2 November 1982 was that of continuity announcer Paul Coia who said: "Good afternoon. It's a pleasure to be able to say to you, welcome to Channel Four."Following the announcement, the channel headed into a montage of clips from its programmes set to the station's signature tune, "Fourscore", written by David Dundas, which would form the basis of the station's jingles for its first decade. The first programme to air on the channel was the teatime game show Countdown , produced by Yorkshire Television, at 16:45. The first person to be seen on Channel 4 was Richard Whiteley, with Ted Moult being the second. The first woman on the channel, contrary to popular belief, was not Whiteley's Countdown co-host Carol Vorderman, but a lexicographer only ever identified as Mary. Whiteley opened the show with the words: "As the countdown to a brand new channel ends, a brand new countdown begins." On its first day, Channel 4 also broadcast soap opera Brookside , which often ran storylines thought to be controversial; this ran until 2003.
At its launch, Channel 4 committed itself to providing an alternative to the existing channels, an agenda in part set out by its remit which required the provision of programming to minority groups. In step with its remit, the channel became well received both by minority groups and the arts and cultural worlds during this period under founding chief executive Jeremy Isaacs, where the channel gained a reputation for programmes on the contemporary arts. Channel 4 co-commissioned Robert Ashley's television opera Perfect Lives ,which it premiered over several episodes in 1984. The channel often did not receive mass audiences for much of this period, however, as might be expected for a station focusing on minority interest. During this time Channel 4 also began the funding of independent films, such as the Merchant Ivory docudrama The Courtesans of Bombay .
In 1992, Channel 4 faced its first libel case by Jani Allan, a South African journalist, who objected to her representation in Nick Broomfield's documentary The Leader, His Driver and the Driver's Wife .
In September 1993, the channel broadcast the direct-to-TV documentary film Beyond Citizen Kane , in which it displayed the dominant position of the Rede Globo television network, and discussed its influence, power and political connections in Brazil.
After control of the station passed from the Channel Four Television Company to the Channel Four Television Corporation in 1993, a shift in broadcasting style took place. Instead of aiming for minority tastes, it began to focus on the edges of the mainstream, and the centre of the mass market itself.It began to show many US programmes in peak viewing time, far more than it had previously done. It gave such shows as Friends and ER their UK premières.
In the early 2000s, Channel 4 began broadcasting reality formats such as Big Brother and obtained the rights to broadcast mass appeal sporting events like cricket and horse racing. This new direction increased ratings and revenues.
In addition, the corporation launched a number of new television channels through its new 4Ventures offshoot, including Film4, At the Races, E4 and More4.
Partially in reaction to its new "populist" direction, the Communications Act 2003 directed the channel to demonstrate innovation, experimentation and creativity, appeal to the tastes and interests of a culturally diverse society, and to include programmes of an educational nature which exhibit a distinctive character.
On 31 December 2004, Channel 4 launched a new look and new idents in which the logo is disguised as different objects and the 4 can be seen in an angle.
Under the leadership of Freeview founder Andy Duncan, 2005 saw a change of direction for Channel 4's digital channels. Channel 4 made E4 free-to-air on digital terrestrial television, and launched a new free-to-air digital channel called More4. By October, Channel 4 had joined the Freeview consortium.By July 2006, Film4 had likewise become free-to-air and restarted broadcasting on digital terrestrial.
Venturing into radio broadcasting, 2005 saw Channel 4 purchase 51 per cent of shares in the now defunct Oneword radio station, with UBC Media holding on to the remaining shares. New programmes such as the weekly, half-hour The Morning Report news programme were among some of the new content Channel 4 provided for the station, with the name 4Radio being used. As of early 2009, however, Channel 4's future involvement in radio remained uncertain.
On 2 November 2007, the station celebrated its 25th birthday. It showed the first episode of Countdown, an anniversary Countdown special, as well as a special edition of The Big Fat Quiz and using the original multicoloured 1982–1996 blocks logo on presentation and idents using the Fourscore jingle throughout the day.
In November 2009, Channel 4 launched a week of 3D television, broadcasting selected programmes each night using stereoscopic ColorCode 3D technology. The accompanying 3D glasses were distributed through Sainsbury's supermarkets.
On 29 September 2015, Channel 4 revamped its presentation for a fifth time; the new branding downplayed the "4" logo from most on-air usage, in favour of using the shapes from the logo in various forms. Four new idents were filmed by Jonathan Glazer, which featured the shapes in various real-world scenes depicting the "discovery" and "origins" of the shapes. The full logo was still occasionally used, but primarily for off-air marketing. Channel 4 also commissioned two new corporate typefaces, "Chadwick", and "Horseferry" (a variation of Chadwick with the aforementioned shapes incorporated into its letter forms), for use across promotional material and on-air.
On 31 October 2017, Channel 4 introduced a new series of idents continuing the theme, this time depicting the logo shapes as having formed an anthropomorphic "giant" character.
Before the digital switch-over, Channel 4 raised concerns over how it might finance its public service obligations afterward. In April 2006, it was announced that Channel 4's digital switch-over costs would be paid for by licence fee revenues.
On 28 March 2007, Channel 4 announced plans to launch a music channel "4Music" as a joint venture with British media company EMAP, which would include carriage on the Freeview platform. On 15 August 2008, 4Music was launched across the UK. million.Channel 4 announced interest in launching a high-definition version of Film4 on Freeview, to coincide with the launch of Channel 4 HD. However, the fourth HD slot was given to Channel 5 instead. Channel 4 has since acquired a 50 per cent stake in EMAP's TV business for a reported £28
In June 2017, it was announced that Alex Mahon would be the next chief executive, and would take over from David Abraham, who left in November 2017.
On 25 September 2021, Channel 4 and several of its sub-channels went off air after an incident at Red Bee Media's playout centre in west London. Channel 4, More4, Film4, E4, 4Music, The Box, Box Hits, Kiss, Magic and Kerrang! were impacted, with the incident still affecting a number of the channels on 30 September 2021.The London Fire Brigade confirmed that a gas fire prevention system at the site had been activated, but firefighters found no sign of fire. Activation of the fire suppression system caused catastrophic damage to some systems, such as Channel 4's subtitles, signing and audio description system. An emergency back-up subtitling system also failed, leaving Channel 4 unable to provide access services to viewers. This situation was criticised by the National Deaf Children's Society, who complained to the broadcasting watchdog. A new subtitling, signing and audio description system had to be built from scratch. The service eventually began to return at the end of October. In January 2022, Ofcom announced that it would be investigating Channel 4 for failing to meet its subtitling quota on the Freesat satellite service.
On 23 December 2021, Jon Snow presented Channel 4 News for the last time, after 32 years as a main presenter on the programme, making Snow one of the UK's longest-serving presenters on a national news programme.
Channel 4's parent company, Channel Four Television Corporation, was considered for privatisation by the governments of Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair. As of 2016 [update] , the future of the channel was again being looked into by the government, with analysts suggesting several options for the channel's future. As of June 2021, the government of Boris Johnson was considering selling the channel.
On 4 April 2022, the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport acknowledged that ministerial discussions were taking place regarding the sale of Channel Four Television Corporation. The channel’s chief executive, Alex Mahon, expressed disappointment at this, saying that its vision for the future was "rooted in continued public ownership".
Channel 4 was established with, and continues to hold, a remit of public service obligations which it must fulfil. The remit changes periodically, as dictated by various broadcasting and communications acts, and is regulated by the various authorities Channel 4 has been answerable to; originally the IBA, then the ITC and now Ofcom.
The preamble of the remit as per the Communications Act 2003 states that:
The public service remit for Channel 4 is the provision of a broad range of high quality and diverse programming which, in particular:
- demonstrates innovation, experiment and creativity in the form and content of programmes;
- appeals to the tastes and interests of a culturally diverse society;
- makes a significant contribution to meeting the need for the licensed public service channels to include programmes of an educational nature and other programmes of educative value; and
- exhibits a distinctive character.
The remit also involves an obligation to provide programming for schools,and a substantial amount of programming produced outside of Greater London.
Channel 4 was carried from its beginning on analogue terrestrial, which was then the standard means of television broadcast in the United Kingdom. It continued to be broadcast through these means until the changeover to digital terrestrial television in the United Kingdom was complete. Since 1998, it has been universally available on digital terrestrial, and the Sky platform (initially encrypted, though encryption was dropped on 14 April 2008 and is now free of charge and available on the Freesat platform) as well as having been available from various times in various areas, on analogue and digital cable networks.
Due to its special status as a public service broadcaster with a specific remit, it is afforded free carriage on the terrestrial platforms,in contrast with other broadcasters such as ITV.
Channel 4 is available outside the United Kingdom; it is widely available in Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland.The channel is registered to broadcast within the European Union/EEA through the Luxembourg Broadcasting Regulator (ALIA).
Since 2019, it has been offered by British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) to members of the British Armed Forces and their families around the world, BFBS Extra having previously carried a selection of Channel 4 programmes.
The Channel 4 website allows Internet users in the United Kingdom to watch Channel 4 live on the Internet. In the past some programmes (mostly international imports) were not shown. Channel 4 is also provided by Virgin Mobile's DAB mobile TV service, which has the same restrictions as the Internet live stream had. Channel 4 is also carried by the Internet TV service TVCatchupand was previously carried by Zattoo until the operator removed the channel from its platform.
Channel 4 also makes some of its programming available "on demand" via cable and the Internet through All 4.
During the station's formative years, funding came from the ITV companies in return for their right to sell advertisements in their region on the fourth channel.
As of 2022 [update] , it breaks even in much the same way as most privately run commercial stations through the sale of on-air advertising, programme sponsorship, and the sale of any programme content and merchandising rights it owns, such as overseas broadcasting rights and domestic video sales. For example, as of 2012 [update] its total revenues were £925 million with 91 per cent derived from sale of advertising. It also has the ability to subsidise the main network through any profits made on the corporation's other endeavours, which have in the past included subscription fees from stations such as E4 and Film4 (now no longer subscription services) and its "video-on-demand" sales. In practice, however, these other activities are loss-making, and are subsidised by the main network. According to Channel 4's last published accounts, for 2005, the extent of this cross-subsidy was some £30 million.
The change in funding came about under the Broadcasting Act 1990 when the new corporation was afforded the ability to fund itself. Originally this arrangement left a "safety net" guaranteed minimum income should the revenue fall too low, funded by large insurance payments made to the ITV companies. Such a subsidy was never required, however, and these premiums were phased out by the government in 1998. After the link with ITV was cut, the cross-promotion which had existed between ITV and Channel 4 also ended.
In 2007, owing to severe funding difficulties, the channel sought government help and was granted a payment of £14 million over a six-year period. The money was to have come from the television licence fee, and would have been the first time that money from the licence fee had been given to any broadcaster other than the BBC. However, the plan was scrapped by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Andy Burnham, ahead of "broader decisions about the future framework of public service broadcasting". The broadcasting regulator Ofcom released its review in January 2009 in which it suggested that Channel 4 would preferably be funded by "partnerships, joint ventures or mergers".
Channel 4 is a "publisher-broadcaster", meaning that it commissions or "buys" all of its programming from companies independent of itself. It was the first UK broadcaster to do so on a significant scale; such commissioning is a stipulation which is included in its licence to broadcast.In consequence, numerous independent production companies emerged, though external commissioning on the BBC and in ITV (where a quota of 25 per cent minimum of total output has been imposed since the Broadcasting Act 1990 came into force) has become regular practice, as well as on the numerous stations that launched later. Although it was the first British broadcaster to commission all of its programmes from third parties, Channel 4 was the last terrestrial broadcaster to outsource its transmission and playout operations (to Red Bee Media), after 25 years in-house.
The requirement to obtain all content externally is stipulated in its licence. [ citation needed ] Thus, although Channel 4 does not produce programmes, many are seen as belonging to it.Additionally, Channel 4 also began a trend of owning the copyright and distribution rights of the programmes it aired, in a manner that is similar to the major Hollywood studios' ownership of television programmes that they did not directly produce.
It was established with a specific intention of providing programming to groups of minority interests, not catered for by its competitors, which at the time were only the BBC and ITV.
Channel 4 also pioneered the concept of 'stranded programming', where seasons of programmes following a common theme would be aired and promoted together. Some would be very specific, and run for a fixed period of time; the 4 Mation season, for example, showed innovative animation. Other, less specific strands, were (and still are) run regularly, such as T4 , a strand of programming aimed at teenagers, on weekend mornings (and weekdays during school/college holidays); Friday Night Comedy, a slot where the channel would pioneer its style of comedy commissions, 4Music (now a separate channel) and 4Later , an eclectic collection of offbeat programmes transmitted in the early hours of the morning.
For a period in the mid-1980s, some art-house films (dubbed by Channel 4's critics as being pornographic) would be screened with a red triangle graphic in the upper right of the screen.
The following is a list of the 10 most watched shows on Channel 4 since launch, based on Live +28 data supplied by BARB,and archival data published by Channel 4.
|Rank||Programme or film||Viewers (millions)||Date|
|1||A Woman of Substance||13.85||4 January 1985|
|2||Big Brother||13.74||27 July 2001|
|3||A Woman of Substance||13.20||3 January 1985|
|4||Four Weddings and a Funeral||12.40||15 November 1995|
|5||A Woman of Substance||11.55||2 January 1985|
|6||The Great British Bake Off||11.21||22 September 2020|
|7||Gregory's Girl||10.75||8 January 1985|
|8||The Great British Bake Off||10.54||30 October 2018|
|9||The Great British Bake Off||10.13||31 October 2017|
|10||The Great British Bake Off||10.03||27 August 2019|
During the station's early days, the screenings of innovative short one-off comedy films produced by a rotating line-up of alternative comedians went under the title of The Comic Strip Presents . The Tube and Saturday Live/Friday Night Live also launched the careers of a number of comedians and writers. Channel 4 broadcast a number of popular American imports, including Roseanne , Friends , Sex and the City , South Park and Will & Grace . Other significant US acquisitions include The Simpsons , for which the station was reported to have paid £700,000 per episode for the terrestrial television rights.
In April 2010, Channel 4 became the first UK broadcaster to adapt the American comedy institution of roasting to British television, with A Comedy Roast .
In 2010, Channel 4 organised Channel 4's Comedy Gala , a comedy benefit show in aid of Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital. With over 25 comedians appearing, it billed it as "the biggest live stand up show in United Kingdom history". Filmed live on 30 March in front of 14,000 at The O2 Arena in London, it was broadcast on 5 April.This has continued to 2016.
In 2021, Channel 4 decided to revive The British Comedy Awards as part of their Stand Up To Cancer programming. The ceremony, billed as The National Comedy Awards was due to be held in the Spring of 2021 but was delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic until 15 December 2021 and then cancelled a week before it was due to be held, due to concerns over the Omicron variant.The National Comedy Awards was not the only live comedy event that was part of the channel's Christmas schedule that was effected by these concerns as Joe Lycett: Mummy’s Big Christmas Do! was also postponed, with the 22 December show now due to air as a pilot for a new series called Mummy's House Party in Spring 2022.
Channel 4 has a strong reputation for history programmes and documentaries. Its news service, Channel 4 News , is supplied by ITN whilst its long-standing investigative documentary series, Dispatches , gains attention from other media outlets. Its live broadcast of the first public autopsy in the UK for 170 years, carried out by Gunther von Hagens in 2002 and the 2003 one-off stunt Derren Brown Plays Russian Roulette Live proved controversial.
A season of television programmes about masturbation, called Wank Week , was to be broadcast in the United Kingdom by Channel 4 in March 2007. The series came under public attack from senior television figures, and was pulled amid claims of declining editorial standards and concern for the channel's public service broadcasting credentials.
FourDocs was an online documentary site provided by Channel 4. It allowed viewers to upload their own documentaries to the site for others to view. It focused on documentaries of between 3 and 5 minutes. The website also included an archive of classic documentaries, interviews with documentary filmmakers and short educational guides to documentary-making. It won a Peabody Award in 2006.The site also included a strand for documentaries of under 59 seconds, called "Microdocs".
Channel 4 is obliged to carry schools programming as part of its remit and licence.
Since 1957 ITV had produced schools programming, which became an obligation.In 1987, five years after the station was launched, the IBA afforded ITV free carriage of these programmes during Channel 4's then-unused weekday morning hours. This arrangement allowed the ITV companies to fulfil their obligation to provide schools programming, whilst allowing ITV itself to broadcast regular programmes complete with advertisements. During the times in which schools programmes were aired Central Television provided most of the continuity with play-out originating from Birmingham.
After the restructuring of the station in 1993, ITV's obligations to provide such programming on Channel 4's airtime passed to Channel 4 itself, and the new service became Channel 4 Schools, with the new corporation administering the service and commissioning its programmes, some still from ITV, others from independent producers.
In March 2008, the 4Learning interactive new media commission Slabovia.tvwas launched. The Slabplayer online media player showing TV shows for teenagers was launched on 26 May 2008.
The schools programming has always had elements which differ from its normal presentational package. In 1993, the Channel 4 Schools idents featured famous people in one category, with light shining on them in front of an industrial-looking setting supplemented by instrumental calming music. This changed in 1996 with the circles look to numerous children touching the screen, forming circles of information then picked up by other children. The last child would produce the Channel 4 logo in the form of three vertical circles, with another in the middle and to the left containing the Channel 4 logo.
A present feature of presentation was a countdown sequence featuring, in 1993 a slide with the programme name, and afterwards an extended sequence matching the channel branding. In 1996, this was an extended ident with timer in top left corner, and in 1999 following the adoption of the squares look, featured a square with timer slowly make its way across the right of the screen with people learning and having fun while doing so passing across the screen. It finished with the Channel 4 logo box on the right of the screen and the name 'Channel 4 Schools' being shown. This was adapted in 2000 when the service's name was changed to '4Learning'.[ citation needed ]
In 2001, this was altered to various scenes from classrooms around the world and different parts of school life. The countdown now flips over from the top, right, bottom and left with each second, and ends with four coloured squares, three of which are aligned vertically to the left of the Channel 4 logo, which is contained inside the fourth box. The tag 'Learning' is located directly beneath the logo. The final countdown sequence lasted between 2004 and 2005 and featured a background video of current controversial issues, overlaid with upcoming programming information. The video features people in the style of graffiti enacting the overuse of CCTV cameras, fox hunting, computer viruses and pirate videos, relationships, pollution of the seas and violent lifestyles. Following 2005, no branded section has been used for schools programmes.[ citation needed ]
From the outset, Channel 4 did not conform to the expectations of conventional religious broadcasting in the UK. John Ranelagh, first Commissioning Editor for Religion, made his priority 'broadening the spectrum of religious programming' and more 'intellectual' concerns.He also ignored the religious programme advisory structure that had been put in place by the BBC, and subsequently adopted by ITV. Ranelagh's first major commission caused a furore, a three-part documentary series called Jesus: The Evidence . The programmes, transmitted during the Easter period of 1984, seemed to advocate the idea that the Gospels were unreliable, Jesus may have indulged in witchcraft, and that he may not have even existed. The series triggered a public outcry, and marked a significant moment in the deterioration in the relationship between the UK's broadcasting and religious institutions.
Numerous genres of film-making – such as comedy, drama, documentary, adventure/action, romance and horror/thriller – are represented in the channel's schedule. From the launch of Channel 4 until 1998, film presentations on C4 would often be broadcast under the "Film on Four" banner.
In March 2005, Channel 4 screened the uncut Lars von Trier film The Idiots , which includes unsimulated sexual intercourse, making it the first UK terrestrial channel to do so. The channel had previously screened other films with similar material but censored and with warnings.
Since 1 November 1998, Channel 4 has had a digital subsidiary channel dedicated to the screening of films. This channel launched as a paid subscription channel under the name "FilmFour", and was relaunched in July 2006 as a free-to-air channel under the current name of "Film4". The Film4 channel carries a wide range of film productions, including acquired and Film4-produced projects. Channel 4's general entertainment channels E4 and More4 also screen feature films at certain points in the schedule as part of their content mix.
On 8 March 2007, Channel 4 screened a documentary, The Great Global Warming Swindle stating that global warming is "a lie" and "the biggest scam of modern times".The programme's accuracy were disputed on multiple points, and commentators criticised it for being one-sided, observing that the mainstream position on global warming is supported by the scientific academies of the major industrialised nations. There were 246 complaints to Ofcom as of 25 April 2007, including allegations that the programme falsified data. The programme was criticised by scientists and scientific organisations, and various scientists who participated in the documentary claimed their views had been distorted.
Against Nature : An earlier controversial Channel 4 programme made by Martin Durkin which was also critical of the environmental movement and was charged by the UK's Independent Television Commission for misrepresenting and distorting the views of interviewees by selective editing.
The Greenhouse Conspiracy : An earlier Channel 4 documentary broadcast on 12 August 1990, as part of the Equinox series, in which similar claims were made.Three of the people interviewed (Lindzen, Michaels and Spencer) were also interviewed in The Great Global Warming Swindle .
In the Alternative Christmas address of 2008, a Channel 4 tradition since 1993 with a different presenter each year, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a thinly veiled attack on the United States by claiming that Christ would have been against "bullying, ill-tempered and expansionist powers".
The broadcast was rebuked by human rights activists, politicians and religious figures, including Peter Tatchell,Louise Ellman, Ron Prosor and Rabbi Aaron Goldstein. A spokeswoman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: "President Ahmadinejad has, during his time in office, made a series of appalling anti-Semitic statements. The British media are rightly free to make their own editorial choices, but this invitation will cause offence and bemusement not just at home but among friendly countries abroad".
However, Channel 4 was defended by Stonewall director Ben Summerskill who stated: "In spite of his ridiculous and often offensive views, it is an important way of reminding him that there are some countries where free speech is not repressed...If it serves that purpose, then Channel 4 will have done a significant public service".Dorothy Byrne, Channel 4's head of news and current affairs, said in response to the station's critics: "As the leader of one of the most powerful states in the Middle East, President Ahmadinejad's views are enormously influential... As we approach a critical time in international relations, we are offering our viewers an insight into an alternative world view...Channel 4 has devoted more airtime to examining Iran than any other broadcaster and this message continues a long tradition of offering a different perspective on the world around us".
4Talent is an editorial branch of Channel 4's commissioning wing, which co-ordinates Channel 4's various talent development schemes for film, television, radio, new media and other platforms and provides a showcasing platform for new talent.
There are bases in London, Birmingham, Glasgow and Belfast, serving editorial hubs known respectively as 4Talent National, 4Talent Central England, 4Talent Scotland and 4Talent Northern Ireland. These four sites include features, profiles and interviews in text, audio and video formats, divided into five zones: TV, Film, Radio, New Media and Extras, which covers other arts such as theatre, music and design. 4Talent also collates networking, showcasing and professional development opportunities, and runs workshops, masterclasses, seminars and showcasing events across the UK.
4Talent Magazine is the creative industries magazine from 4Talent, which launched in 2005 as TEN4 magazine under the editorship of Dan Jones. 4Talent Magazine is currently edited by Nick Carson. Other staff include deputy editor Catherine Bray and production editor Helen Byrne. The magazine covers rising and established figures of interest in the creative industries, a remit including film, radio, TV, comedy, music, new media and design.
Subjects are usually UK-based, with contributing editors based in Northern Ireland, Scotland, London and Birmingham, but the publication has been known to source international content from Australia, America, continental Europe and the Middle East. The magazine is frequently organised around a theme for the issue, for instance giving half of November 2007's pages over to profiling winners of the annual 4Talent Awards.
An unusual feature of the magazine's credits is the equal prominence given to the names of writers, photographers, designers and illustrators, contradicting standard industry practice of more prominent writer bylines. It is also recognisable for its 'wraparound' covers, which use the front and back as a continuous canvas – often produced by guest artists.
Although 4Talent Magazine is technically a newsstand title, a significant proportion of its readers are subscribers. It started life as a quarterly 100-page title, but has since doubled in size and is now published bi-annually.
Since the 2010s, Channel 4 has become the public service broadcaster most likely to amend their schedule at short notice, if programmes are not gaining sufficient viewers in their intended slots. Programmes which have been heavily promoted by the channel before launch and then have lost their slot a week later include Sixteen: Class of 2021. This was a fly-on-the-wall school documentary which lost its prime 9pm slot after one episode on 31 August 2021, even with a 4 star review in The Guardian. Channel 4 moved the next episode to a late night (post-primetime) slot on a different day and continued to broadcast the remainder of the four-part series in this timeslot.Also in 2021, the channel launched Epic Wales: Valleys, Mountains and Coast, a version of their More4 documentaries The Pennines: Backbone of Britain, The Yorkshire Dales and The Lakes and Devon and Cornwall. set in Wales. Epic Wales: Valleys, Mountains and Coast. was initially broadcast in a prime Friday night slot at 8pm, in the hour before their comedy shows, but was dumped by the channel before the series was completed and replaced by repeats. In February 2022, the channel scheduled a new version of the show under the title Wonderous Wales with a Saturday night slot at 8pm but after one episode, they decided to take this series out of their schedule, moving up a repeat of Matt Baker: Our Farm in the Dales to 8pm and putting an episode of Escape to the Chateau in Baker's slot at 7pm. Other programmes moved out of primetime in 2022, include Mega Mansion Hunters Channel 4's answer to Selling Sunset which saw its third and final episode moved past midnight, with repeats put in the schedule before it.
A new series of Unreported World was due to start on 18 February 2022with a report by Seyi Rhodes in South Sudan, but was dropped due to an extended storm report on Channel 4 News. When the programme was rescheduled for following Fridays, it was dropped again as Channel 4 News was extended due to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Winter Paralympics: Today in Beijing is due to take the Unreported World slot from 11 March 2022 though this sports programme may also be moved around the schedule to continue the extended news programmes reporting on the conflict. The invasion of Ukraine has also prompted Channel 4 to acquire and schedule the comedy series Servant of the People as a last minute replacement. The programme stars the current President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy as an ordinary man who gets elected to run the country, and will be shown on 6 March 2022 along with the documentary Zelenskyy: The Man Who Took on Putin.
In addition to these shows, O.T. Fagbenle's sitcom Maxxx was pulled from their youth TV channel E4, after one episode from the series had been broadcast on 2 April 2020, with Channel 4 deciding to keep the series off-air until Black History Month, with the series now going out on the main channel from October 2020.
Since its launch in 1982, Channel 4 has used the same logo which consists of a stylised numeral "4" made up of nine differently-shaped blocks. The logo was designed by Martin Lambie-Nairn and his partner Colin Robinson and was the first channel in the UK to depict an ident made using advanced computer generation (the first electronically generated ident was on BBC2 in 1979, but this was two-dimensional). It was designed in conjunction with Bo Gehring Aviation of Los Angeles and originally depicted the "4" in red, yellow, green, blue and purple. The music accompanying the ident was called "Fourscore" and was composed by David Dundas; it was later released as a single alongside a B-side, "Fourscore Two", although neither reached the UK charts. In November 1992, "Fourscore" was replaced by new music.
In 1996, Channel 4 commissioned Tomato Films to revamp the "4", which resulted in the "Circles" idents showing four white circles forming up transparently over various scenes, with the "4" logo depicted in white in one of the circles.
In 1999, Spin redesigned the logo to feature in a single square which sat on the right-hand side of the screen, whilst various stripes would move along from left to right, often lighting the squared "4" up. Like previous "Circles" idents from 1996 (which was made by Tomato Films), the stripes would be interspersed with various scenes potentially related to the upcoming programme.
The logo was made three-dimensional again in 2004 when it was depicted in filmed scenes that show the blocks forming the "4" logo for less than a second before the action moves away again.
In 2015, the logo was disassembled completely to allow the blocks to appear as parts of a nature scene, sometimes featuring a strange dancing creature and sometimes being excavated for scientific study, one being studied under a microscope and showing a tardigrade. The second wave of these idents, launched in 2017, depict a giant creature made of the "4" blocks (made to look almost like a person) interacting with everyday life, sometimes shouting the "Fourscore" theme as a foghorn.
The Lambie-Nairn logo was the first logo of Channel 4, used from its launch on 2 November 1982 until 1996, lasting for fourteen years. The logo was re-introduced for one day only on 22 January 2021, to promote Channel 4's new five-part drama, It's a Sin , which focused on the 1980s AIDS crisis.It was additionally used once on 28 December 2020 as a commemoration for Lambie-Nairn, who had died three days earlier.
Channel 4 has, since its inception, broadcast identical programmes and continuity throughout the United Kingdom (excluding Wales where it did not operate on analogue transmitters). At launch this made it unique, as both the BBC and ITV had long-established traditions of providing regional variations in their programming in different areas of the country. Since the launch of subsequent British television channels, Channel 4 has become typical in its lack of regional programming variations.
A few exceptions exist to this rule for programming and continuity:
Part of Channel 4's remit covers the commissioning of programmes from outside London. Channel 4 has a dedicated director of nations and regions, Stuart Cosgrove, who is based in a regional office in Glasgow. As his job title suggests, it is his responsibility to foster relations with independent producers based in areas of the United Kingdom (including Wales) outside London.
Channel 4 is available in Ireland, with adverts specifically tailored towards the Irish market. The channel is registered with the broadcasting regulators in Luxembourg for terms of conduct and business within the EU/EEA while observing guidelines outlined by Ireland's BAI code. Irish advertising sales are managed by Media Linkin Dublin. Where Channel 4 does not hold broadcasting rights within the Republic of Ireland such programming is unavailable. For example, the series Glee was not available on Channel 4 on Sky in Ireland due to it broadcasting on Virgin Media One within Ireland. Currently, programming available on All 4 is available within the Republic of Ireland without restrictions. Elsewhere in Europe the UK version of the channel is available.
With ITV plc pushing for much looser requirements on the amount of regional news and other programming it is obliged to broadcast in its ITV regions, the idea of Channel 4 taking on a regional news commitment has been considered, with the corporation in talks with Ofcom and ITV over the matter.Channel 4 believe that a scaling-back of such operations on ITV's part would be detrimental to Channel 4's national news operation, which shares much of its resources with ITV through their shared news contractor ITN. At the same time, Channel 4 also believe that such an additional public service commitment would bode well in on-going negotiations with Ofcom in securing additional funding for its other public service commitments.
In mid-2006 Channel 4 ran a six-month closed trial of HDTV, as part of the wider Freeview HD experiment via the Crystal Palace transmitter to London and parts of the home counties,including the use of Lost and Desperate Housewives as part of the experiment, as US broadcasters such as ABC already have an HDTV back catalogue.
On 10 December 2007, Channel 4 launched a high-definition television simulcast of Channel 4 on Sky's digital satellite platform, after Sky agreed to contribute toward the channel's satellite distribution costs. It was the first full-time high-definition channel from a terrestrial UK broadcaster.
On 31 July 2009, Virgin Media added Channel 4 HD on channel 146 (later on channel 142, now on channel 141) as part of the M pack.On 25 March 2010 Channel 4 HD appeared on Freeview channel 52 with a placeholding caption, ahead of a commercial launch on 30 March 2010, coinciding with the commercial launch of Freeview HD. On 19 April 2011, Channel 4 HD was added to Freesat on channel 126. As a consequence, the channel moved from being free-to-view to free-to-air on satellite during March 2011. With the closure of S4C Clirlun in Wales on 1 December 2012, on Freeview, Channel 4 HD launched in Wales on 2 December 2012.
The channel carries the same schedule as Channel 4, broadcasting programmes in HD when available, acting as a simulcast. Therefore, SD programming is broadcast upscaled to HD. The first true HD programme to be shown was the 1996 Adam Sandler film Happy Gilmore . From launch until 2016 the presence of the 4HD logo on screen denoted true HD content.
On 1 July 2014, Channel 4 +1 HD, an HD simulcast of Channel 4 +1, launched on Freeview channel 110. It closed on 22 June 2020 to help make room on COM7 following the closure of COM8 on Freeview. On 22 June 2020 Channel4+1 HD and 4Seven HD were removed from Freeview.
On 20 February 2018, Channel 4 announced that Channel 4 HD and All 4 would no longer be supplied on Freesat from 22 February 2018.Channel 4 HD returned to the platform on 8 December 2021, along with the music channel portfolio of The Box Plus Network.
All 4 is a video on demand service from Channel 4, launched in November 2006 as 4oD. The service offers a variety of programmes recently shown on Channel 4, E4, More4 or from their archives, though some programmes and movies are not available due to rights issues.
Channel 4 originally licensed an ancillary teletext service to provide schedules, programme information and features. The original service was called 4-Tel, and was produced by Intelfax, a company set up especially for the purpose. It was carried in the 400s on Oracle.In 1993, with Oracle losing its franchise to Teletext Ltd, 4-Tel found a new home in the 300s, and had its name shown in the header row. Intelfax continued to produce the service and in 2002 it was renamed FourText.
In 2003, Channel 4 awarded Teletext Ltd a ten-year contract to run the channel's ancillary teletext service, named Teletext on 4.The service closed in 2008, and Teletext is no longer available on Channel 4, ITV and Channel 5.
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Freeview is the United Kingdom's sole digital terrestrial television platform. It is operated by DTV Services Ltd, a joint venture between the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky and transmitter operator Arqiva. It was launched on 30 October 2002, taking over the licence from ITV Digital which collapsed that year. The service provides consumer access via an aerial to the seven DTT multiplexes covering the United Kingdom. As of July 2020, it has 85 TV channels, 26 digital radio channels, 10 HD channels, six text services, 11 streamed channels, and one interactive channel.
BBC Two is a British free-to-air television network owned and operated by the BBC. It covers a wide range of subject matter, with a remit "to broadcast programmes of depth and substance" in contrast to the more mainstream and popular BBC One.
S4C is a Welsh-language free-to-air television channel. Launched on 1 November 1982, it was the first television channel to be aimed specifically at a Welsh-speaking audience. S4C's headquarters are based in Carmarthen, at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s creative and digital centre, Yr Egin. It also has regional offices in Caernarfon and Cardiff. As of 2019–20, S4C had an average of 101 employees. S4C is the fourth-oldest terrestrial television channel in Wales after BBC One, ITV and BBC Two.
ITV Channel Television, previously Channel Television, is a British television station which has served as the ITV contractor for the Channel Islands since 1962. It is based in Jersey and broadcasts regional programme for insertion into the network ITV schedule. Until November 2011, Channel Television was one of four ITV companies independent from ITV plc alongside the two STV regions in Scotland and UTV in Northern Ireland. The station has been owned by ITV plc since 2012 and the licence was transferred to ITV Broadcasting Limited in March 2017.
Regular television broadcasts in the United Kingdom started in 1936 as a public service which was free of advertising, while the introduction of television and the first tests commencing in 1927. Currently, the United Kingdom has a collection of free-to-air, free-to-view and subscription services over a variety of distribution media, through which there are over 480 channels for consumers as well as on-demand content. There are six main channel owners who are responsible for most material viewed.
ITV is a British free-to-air television channel owned and operated by the British media company ITV plc. It provides the Channel 3 service across the country except in the central and northern areas of Scotland where STV provides the service.
ITV2 is a British free-to-air television channel owned by ITV Digital Channels, a division of ITV plc. It was launched on 7 December 1998. For a number of years, it had the largest audience share after the five analogue terrestrial stations, a claim now held by its sister service ITV3 both of which are freely available to a majority of households.
UTV is the ITV region covering Northern Ireland, ITV subsidiary and the former on-air name of the free-to-air television channel serving the area. It is run by ITV plc and is responsible for the regional news service and other programmes made principally for the area.
Digital terrestrial television in the United Kingdom encompasses over 100 television, radio and interactive services broadcast via the United Kingdom's terrestrial television network and receivable with a standard television set. The majority of digital terrestrial television (DTT) services, including the five former analogue channels, are broadcast free-to-air, and a further selection of encrypted pay TV services are also available.
More4 is a British free-to-air television channel, owned by Channel Four Television Corporation. The channel launched on 10 October 2005. Its programming mainly focuses on lifestyle and documentaries, and it also shows dramas and comedies, though often late at night.
Freesat is a British free-to-air satellite television service, first formed as a joint venture between the BBC and ITV plc. The service was formed as a memorandum in 2007 and has been marketed since 6 May 2008. Freesat offers a satellite alternative to the Freeview service on digital terrestrial television, with a broadly similar selection of channels available without subscription for users purchasing a receiver.
ITV HD is a British free-to-air high-definition television channel operated by ITV plc, the company which is contracted to provide 13 ITV services across the UK. ITV HD simulcasts them in high-definition. ITV HD is available to view in England, Wales and the Scottish Borders on Freesat via channel 103, Freeview channel 103, Sky channel 103, Virgin Media channel 103 and in Switzerland on SwisscomTV.
STV is a Scottish free-to-air television channel owned by STV Group and is a part of the ITV network.
High-definition television in the United Kingdom is available via cable, IPTV, satellite and terrestrial television. The first high-definition broadcasts began in late 2005 and since then the number of channels available to view has grown to a maximum of 87 that can be viewed on pay-TV service, Sky.
W is a British free-to-air television channel owned by BBC Studios. It originally launched on 7 October 2008 as Watch and was a pay television channel. On 15 February 2016, the channel was rebranded as W. The channel currently broadcasts crimes, dramas, game shows and documentaries.
Freeview is the name for the collection of free-to-air services on the Digital Terrestrial Television platform in the United Kingdom. The service was launched at 5 am on 30 October 2002 and is jointly operated by its five equal shareholders – BBC, ITV, Channel 4, BSkyB and transmitter operator Arqiva. This article documents the history of the Freeview service, from its inception up to the present.
Channel 5 is a British free-to-air television network launched in 1997. It is the fifth national terrestrial channel in the United Kingdom and is owned by Channel 5 Broadcasting Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of American media conglomerate Paramount Global, which is grouped under Paramount Networks UK & Australia division.
This is a timeline of the history of the British television network ITV.
This is a timeline of the history of Channel 4.
This is a timeline of the history of Ulster Television. It provides the ITV network service for Northern Ireland.