The fourth British television network and second commercial network, after the two BBC channels and ITV; also one of the big five UK TV channels to have been available free to air before the start of digital broadcasting.Not to be confused with 4chan.When British TV switched to UHF in the 1970s four frequencies were allocated to each transmitting site, but political wranglings kept the fourth channel vacant for many years, with all sorts of plans proposed in the meantime. Eventually, in 1982, Channel 4 was created by the Government to break the duopoly of The BBC and ITV, with a mandate to produce innovative, distinctive and arty programs. The initiative arrived just in time to take the final coveted terrestrial space (until years later when the development of technology allowed the creation of Channel Five). It is publicly owned like the BBC but unlike the BBC it does not get public funding. Until 1992 it was funded by the ITV companies, who in turn sold advertising on the channel. Since then it has been independent, funded by its own advertising revenue.In its early years it was mocked as "Channel Bore" for its perceived ultra-intellectual high-culture slant, and also mocked for its early red triangle on-screen graphic warning for potentially disturbing material, which many people viewed as a euphemism for Euroshlock. During the 1990s it moved in a more ratings-driven direction and came under sustained attack by Moral Guardians as "Channel Swore" or "pornographers to the nation" for the sexually-explicit and sexually libertarian nature of some of its comedy and drama programmes, including the debauched light-entertainment shows The Word and Eurotrash and the pioneering prime-time gay drama Queer as Folk. More recently it has become well-known as the British pioneer of Reality TV, including the UK version of Big Brothernote . This and other developments led to some criticism that it had become too ratings-driven and abandoned its traditional interest in the arts and quality documentaries.It now exists as a number of channels on cable and digital as well.
- Channel 4
- Channel 4 +1
- E4 (Entertainment 4)
- Film 4 (through whom they have produced a significant number of cinema films with their company Film4 Productions)
- More 4
- All of which have their own PlusOnes