The TV of the 1980’s

The 1980’s were the decade that finally saw a challenge to the established terrestrial networks of BBC and ITV dominance. Satellite and Cable television were on the way but it would not be until the very end of the decade that they were fully launched boosting the channel choice from 4 (in most areas but not all) to levels that he British public had never experienced before. Media commentators and experts fell into two camps. On the one hand it was thought that the increased competition would inspire the channel to produce better programmes. The detrators said it would result in nothing but soap operas and gameshows and the edgy, risky innovative Television the 80’s had brought would be lost.

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In the 1980s two huge television events occurred. This was the weddings of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Andrew to Lady Sarah Ferguson. Covered wall to wall all day by both networks this kind of lockout of entertainment was soon to be a thing of the past (or so it was thought).  The introduction of Channel 4 had made massive waves. As part of the ITV network it offered a credible alternative and an outlet for more fringe elements of society (even though it’s first televised show was the pensioner friendly Countdown, still it;s longest serving show).  It brought previously banned films to the screen and a huge amount of foreign language films on a regular basis. It was not afraid to address social issues and whilst the BBC and ITV still soldered on it pushed the boundaries with youth and ethinc programming.

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