Happy 30th birthday Channel 4! What’s your favourite C4 programme?
Posted by Emma Munbodh
Entertainment news writer
November 2nd 2012 at 10:30
The home of the infamous Big Brother, the controversial Brookside and award-winning comedy Fresh Meat celebrates its 30th anniversary today.
To mark this rare occasion we’ve rounded up the channel’s most iconic moments to date.
Channel 4 launched back in November 1982 at precisely 4.42pm with daytime game show Countdown (Richard Whiteley and co-host Carol Vorderman pictured above). The channel’s speaker Paul Coia intoned: “Good afternoon, it’s a pleasure to be able to say to you: welcome to Channel 4”. Moments later Countdown presenter Richard Whiteley appeared on television screens across the UK. The classic game show received 3.37 million views on day one, and is still one of the channel’s most watched programmes.
Over the years, the innovative Channel 4 has screened a variety of hit shows to suit both popular and minority tastes, from So Graham Norton to Derren Brown specials. It also brought reality television to our screens through one of the most talked about TV series of the decade – Big Brother.
Aside from cringe-worthy television, Channel 4 has also aired some of the most scandalous programmes known to British television. The norm-breaking network broadcast the first lesbian kiss in 1994 on hit drama Brookside, which also instigated uproar two years later with the notorious and incestuous sibling sexual relationship.
Despite such controversy, Brookside reached record-breaking ratings with nine million viewers tuning into view the drama on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. After its axe in 2002, Channel 4 launched the teen soap Hollyoaks which has also featured provocative storylines like rape, child killings and Bulimia.
The broadcaster also branched into the digital TV world with its launch of FilmFour (now Film4) in 1998 and youth entertainment channel E4 in 2001. Film4 is now well known for screening weekly movie premieres, while E4 screens first runs of US hit dramas including Desperate Housewives and Gossip Girl. And let’s not forget, Channel 4 also brought us the nation’s favourite comedy – Friends.
Earlier this year the station sparked outrage over decisions to re-screen controversial documentary, Islam: The Untold Story. After its initial broadcast in August, the documentary received over 1,000 complaints with presenter Tom Holland receiving several angry messages on Twitter.
Nevertheless, the alternative Channel 4 remains true to its name in broadcasting controversial risk-taking television. The perfect example – the award winning Dispatches which recently investigated sleaze and corruption within the NHS.
Key Channel 4 events
- 1982: A fourth channel arrives and Countdown is the first programme to air
- 1992: Rebellious 90’s comedy The Word launches
- 1994: Light entertainment show The Big Breakfast takes off with presenters Chris Evans and Gaby Roslin
- 1994: The screening and public witnessing of Brookside’s notorious lesbian kiss takes place
- 1996: TFI Friday launches, standing for ‘Thank Four it’s Friday’
- 1999: Cult homosexual based drama Queer As Folk is aired
- 2000: Reality television explodes with the launch of Big Brother
- 2001: Controversial series Brass Eye makes its way to C4 screens
- 2010: The eye-opening documentary into the life of travellers begins Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
- 2012: Channel 4 becomes the official broadcaster of the London 2012 Paralympic games
What’s your favourite Channel 4 programme and why? Let us know below.
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