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TV FOUR : 1978-1979
Graphics and text © Andy O'Brien

TV Four 1978

In the mid-70s plans were stepped up for a second independent television channel. The BBC realized it could no longer continue it's third channel, despite having made it available on the UHF bands in 1972. The government reahced a deal with the Corporation, in return for a licence fee increase, the frequency occupied by BBC 3 would be handed over to the IBA. BBC 3 ceased transmission in August 1978. On the evening of Monday the 16th October 1978, this slide came up. Designed to be different from ITV's startup cards and worded so that it could be used for evening transmissions and for the channel's new breakfast television!

TV Four 1978

This ident was known as 'Arts' and was used before programmes covering high culture.

TV Four 1978

Next was 'Lively Arts', for more populist shows.

TV Four 1978

Least satisfactory was 'Fact' which went before the news and various documentaries.

TV Four 1978

And everything else got 'Anything'.

TV Four 1978

The menus featured the minor innovation of using a still to illustrate each show as the announcer mentioned it. This menu gives an overview of a typical nights programmes. Some ancient imports (nice to see the Max Fleischer Superman cartoon get an airing) and a hastily dubbed Mexican comedy. As soon as TV Four became more confident El Chapulin Colorado was quietly dropped, then noisily reinstated as it's cult following howled with protest.

TV Four 1978

In fact it proved enough of a cult hit that TV Four bought another show by the creator of El Chapulin Colorado, Roberto Gomez Bolaños aka Chespirito. Strange that they bothered to dub the shows, but not translate the titles.

TV Four 1978

The titles of Britain's first ever breakfast television show. This got the channel it's biggest viewing figures, until the earnestness of the presentation overcame the public's curiosity and ratings plummeted.

TV Four 1978

The optical. The arrows moved in their respective directions and the letters vanished one by one.

TV Four 1978

And while the channel was dependent on ITV companies to provide much of it's original programming, the endcap maintained an air of independence.

TV Four 1979

It was all nearly over as soon as it began. The strike that took ITV off air also took out TV Four.

TV Four 1979

Behind the scenes, the troubled channel had been planning a relaunch, so TV Four turned the strike to it's advantage. The new look intended for January 1980 was brought forward to allow the channel to make a greater impact with it's return to the airwaves. The themed idents were simplified to two pictures each and entertainment shows were accompanied by this ident, 'Shows', illustrating some of TV Four's most popular programmes. The streamlining of the channel's onscreen name would be the first of two name changes in the station's first five years.

TV Four 1979

The new programme slide.

TV Four 1979

 

TV Four 1979

While TV Four was still dependent on imports and repeats, it was beginning to gain confidence in it's own programming. This lineup contained two risky ventures. Both the sketch comedy show at 11:30 and the discussion programme at Midnight were both broadcast live.

LAST UPDATE: 17th December 2003

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