Video: Channel Snore to the Fore

Britain's new, experimental network rides high on low ratings

Even in a country where "highbrow" and "television" are not mutually exclusive terms, Britain's Channel 4 seemed to be courting disaster. Created in November 1982 as an experimental alternative to the existing networks, its programming -- heavy on arts and politics -- caused it to be dubbed "Channel Snore" and "Channel Bore" by early critics. Conservatives railed against its alleged left-wing bias, but no one seemed to be paying enough attention to care. The audience for Channel 4's nightly newscast was so tiny that its anchorman, Peter Sissons, quipped that it would have been cheaper to call viewers individually and read...

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