• The role of early Channel 4 commissions in the development of the freelance film and television workforce in Scotland

    Published on: 7 December 2022

    The Scottish screen sector is a prolific hub for feature film, high-end TV, and factual television production, valued at more than £500 million per year, according to the national screen unit, Screen Scotland. With a freelance pool of 3,400 people across creative and craft roles, the sector has gained an international reputation for its highly… continue reading.

  • Channel 4 and Woke Neoliberalism

    Published on: 7 December 2022

    The story of Channel 4 is also the story of the unexpected relationship between neoliberalism and identity politics. In the 1980s, the channel was widely seen as a forum for cultural counter-attack against Margaret Thatcher’s free-market authoritarianism. Forty years on, things look very different. Could it be that the radical cultural politics of the era… continue reading.

  • What was that channel for? Remembering the origins of Channel 4

    Published on: 7 December 2022

    Introduction In his 1979 McTaggart lecture to the Edinburgh International Television Festival, the distinguished TV producer Jeremy Isaacs (2005) spoke optimistically about Britain’s fourth television service that he said would galvanize the UK’s independent TV production sector widening opportunities for new and minority audiences. Isaac’s hopes for the fourth service were shared by a Conservative… continue reading.

  • Sunday Sunday Here Again: Indian Cinema on Channel 4

    Published on: 7 December 2022

    In the early 1980s, the price of a cinema ticket in Britain was approaching £2, compared to the cost of an annual black and white television licence at £15. Films such as The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Superman II (1980) and E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (1982), came and went unseen, particularly for families from low-income… continue reading.

  • Beyond the Snowman: Channel 4 and Christmas broadcasting

    Published on: 7 December 2022

    The Christmas season is a very significant time for broadcasters, who are keen to offer entertainment that both makes a statement about their organisation and wins favour with audiences in terms of ratings. Channel 4’s approach to seasonal broadcasting makes a fascinating case study in this respect. Various media scholars have pointed out the eclectic… continue reading.

  • The Channel 4 Daily and Channel 4 News in War and Peace, 1989-92

    Published on: 7 December 2022

    It rained solidly everywhere across the UK and the rest of Europe on 25 September 1992 (with parts of Northern Ireland excepted), as the black, black clouds on the final weather report on the Channel 4 Daily showed (1). The pathetic fallacy for the demise of a great, but failed, experiment was clear — although… continue reading.

  • Channel 4 at 40

    Published on: 7 December 2022

    The UK’s Channel 4 turns 40 on 4 November 2022. How can we assess the achievements (and failures) of this unique broadcasting initiative? The UK’s fourth TV channel was set up by a Conservative government to be innovative in the form and content of programmes. Now it is just one small group of channels among… continue reading.


    Published on: 6 July 2022

    Welcome to ViewFinder Issue 120: Arena This term we will be exploring the landmark BBC arts and culture series Arena. Rightly included in Broadcast Magazine’s 50 most influential programmes of all time as well as the BFI’s 100 BBC Gamechangers, Arena has been essential viewing for the culturally curious since its 1975 launch. Always innovative… continue reading.


    Published on: 6 July 2022

    Anthony Wall worked on the landmark BBC arts and culture series Arena for 40 years, starting as a researcher in 1978 before moving on to producing and directing. A crucial figure in Arena’s development and direction he became the longest-serving Series Editor, taking over the role from Alan Yentob in 1985 together with Nigel Finch… continue reading.

  • Attitude, Alchemy, and Archive – Arena’s Arts Television and its Fight for Survival

    Published on: 5 July 2022

    With the demise of the terrestrial version of the South Bank Show (ITV, 1978 – 2010; Sky Arts, 2012 - ), the BBC’s flagship arts programme Arena survives as the oldest established arts documentary strand on public service television. Launched in October 1975 on BBC Two, the past 47 years have seen the series evolve,… continue reading.