Tag Archives: House MD

Channel 5 – Terrestial TVs enfant terrible has come of age…

13 Oct

The Easter weekend of 1997 saw the launch of the UK’s fifth terrestial Channel, tapping in to the zeitgeist of the time it was launched by the Spice Girls.

After the fanfare and publicity of the launch the real work started and this meant fighting for audience share with the four existing terrestrial channels (BBC1, BBC2, ITV and Channel 4) as well as an ever increasing number of satellite and cable channels.

The battle was fierce, their well-funded terrestrial competitors with a customer base built up over decades were not going to be dislodged easily and the initial audience figures showed this with Channel 5 languishing with only 2.3% of the viewing audience.

In the chase for audience share the channel gradually morphed into what the tabloids christened Channel Filth or as a programming executive of Channel 5 was quoted when describing their programming output as  three F’s,  football, films and what can be best described as the present continuous tense of the f-word.

The style of programming reached its zenith in 2000 with the infamous reality TV show ‘Naked Jungle’ which introduced us not only to totally naked contestants but distressingly a totally naked host, Keith Chegwin.  The show almost ended Chegwin’s career and unleashed a wave of moral outrage against Channel 5.

Channel 5 has moved on from those dire days the football is still there occasionally, there are still films, but the third F is now  F for Foreign TV shows and good quality shows as well.  The CSI franchise, Law & Order, House MD, The Shield, Breaking Bad, The Mentalist  have introduced great US TV shows to the UK and have seen a solid and sustained rise in Channel 5’s audience share.

Are you a fan of Channel 5? What’s your best programme?