Channel Programmes

It may be TV in miniature but it has a character of its own
Peter Knight. Daily Telegraph 17 June 1963.

The local flavour

No thoughts of grandeur at Channel right from the beginning. Well you can't have if one of your most popular programmes is called Island Farmer. For many years Channel Television was the only local broadcast media, and the various local programmes gained an audience share that could have only been dreamed about for similar programmes elsewhere (conversely some network fare such as Coronation Street struggled to find its usual audience). News and weather in French don't feature anywhere else on ITV either.

Channel has on occasion contributed to the network, for children (The Dodo Club), religion (Highway editions) and contributions to series such as About Britain. In the 1980s they also supplied series to Channel 4, such as Valued Opinion and Great British Isles. There was the time, explained below, when Channel was ITV.

All alone in 1979

One by one the ITV companies went dark in August 1979, affected by the spread of industrial disputes. Channel Television had separate agreements, recognising their basic financial insecurity. Deprived of network programmes the choice was between closing or putting out a locally originated service to maintain some kind of revenue stream, and the latter was the preferred option.

This `temporary' arrangement lasted over 70 days, and by the end there were signs that they were struggling for suitable available material. A typical day's programmes, taken from 1 October are outlined below:

Some interesting pointers come from this schedule. Firstly the main local news has been extended to an hour; generally it was limited to a maximum of thirty minutes before. Secondly a film of some kind was shown at 20:30 every night. Earlier in the strike The New Avengers was also stripped every evening. Other standbys were The Beverley Hillbillies, Mannix, Project UFO and, Little House on the Prairie. However was this any worse than the showing of 3-2-1 twice in the first three days of the restarted network schedules.

Don't forget ...

Oscar Puffin, the station mascot, who now has his own e-mail address.
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