Friday, November 02, 2007

Happy birthday Channel 4 - 25 years old today

Chanell 4 logo and a candle - happy 25th birthday

Many happy returns to Channel 4 which started broadcasting to those in the UK who could receive it at 4.45pm back on 2 November 1982.

My early memories of Channel 4 include:

  • Treasure Hunt (with Kenneth Kendall, Anneka Rice, and a couple of helicopters, Keith the pilot and Graham the cameraman)

  • UK basketball shown on a Tuesday (?) night in the early days when the schedule wasn't terribly full and advertisements weren’t too plenty! The little I know about the rules of basketball is a result of Channel 4.

There were other shows that made their mark over the years (notable to me anyway):

  • Wanted. Back in 1996/7, the show was based around two runners travelling through England, Scotland and Wales for one week on the run from a tracker. The public were encouraged to be on the lookout and phone in leads to help the tracker find them. The runners had to travel a certain distance each day and complete certain tasks, so they couldn’t stay holed up in a friend’s house all week.

    In an age when video links and outside broadcasts were difficult and expensive, the runners had to spend an hour in a phonebox at the end of the week (during the live show), not that the extra technology bolted onto the phone box and the OB van around the corner made them a sitting target for the tracker!

    Presented by Richard Littlejohn and KGB defector Oleg Gordievsky (who later received a CGB), the show went on to win a Silver Rose at Montreux in 1997, the same year as Cold Feet won the Rose D’Or.

  • Lost - perhaps the show with the most potential and the least impact. Back in 2001, three two-member teams were dropped off near each other in unknown locations with only a backpack of clothes and their wits to help them. Followed by a cameraman who couldn’t help them (but could often slow them down) they had to race back to London. Successful teams went on to compete in the next race.

    Lost by Nikki ArendThere was an interesting book by Nikki Arend to accompany the late night series that diarised the team's travels, commented on the exploits of the competing teams and revealed the workings of the show. Wikipedia describes the teams being:

“abandoned in Northern Russia, Mali, Venezuela, Quebec and Azerbaijan. The teams had to race back to Trafalgar Square, London, except in the Azerbaijan episode, where the destination was the Angel of the North statue in Gateshead.”

You can check out the animated C4 logo and relive the original theme music “Fourscore” over at Channel 4 at 25 along with lots of archive shows that are freely available (to PC users!) on 4oD until mid-November.

S4C logo

Oh, and a belated happy birthday to S4C which celebrated a quarter of a century of broadcasting in Wales yesterday!

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