Lifeline: Channel 4 programming

By Staff, campaignlive.co.uk, Thursday, 10 November 2011 08:00AM

Channel 4 can't seem to shake off its addiction to exploitation TV, despite what its chief executive says.

Desperate Housewives... non-Scouse prequel

Desperate Housewives... non-Scouse prequel

October 1999: At autumn programming presentations, the industry is amused to hear that Channel 4 has picked up options on Big Brother, a show that attempts to force people with borderline personality disorders over the edge. Nearly everyone had predicted it would bomb on British TV.

October 2003: But Big Brother is a runaway success, pulling in unheard-of audience shares for Channel 4. At an autumn programming presentation in 2003, the channel's then chief executive, Mark Thompson, apologises for its declining aspirations - but unveils a schedule giving pride of place to Shameless and which includes Flesh And The Devil, which explores sexuality in the Catholic Church, and Gay Parents To Be.

October 2004: Highlight of the autumn presentation this year is Channel 4's latest star import from the US: Desperate Housewives. A Channel 4 suit tells Campaign: "Desperate Housewives does feel like this is going to be an indulgent female watch."

November 2010: One of the first things that David Abraham had done on becoming the Channel 4 chief executive was to announce the channel would stop showing Big Brother. Some observers believed he also hoped to distance Channel 4 from exploitation TV and return it to its public-service ethos - but during the programming presentations (now known as "upfronts") for 2011, they note the presence in the schedules of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.

November 2011: At the latest upfront presentation, Channel 4 unveils Desperate Scousewives. Do you see what they've done here? They have taken the notion of Desperate Housewives, a franchise about ladies who are not getting enough, and on the other hand, the notion of the Scouser, a heritage franchise blending maudlin self-pity with tired-and-emotional volatility. And then what they've done is sort of rear-ended one into the other.

FAST FORWARD

November 2012: Abraham continues to express his lack of enthusiasm for exploitation TV - and states his desire to return Channel 4 to its core values of "nurturing new talent and giving a voice to outsiders". Critics are bemused to see My Big Fat Gypsy Brother on the schedules, where naughty gypsies and gay members of the Catholic Christian Brothers are detained in a high-security compound in Poland. With hilarious consequences.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

X

You must log in to use Clip & Save

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Additional Information

Campaign Jobs

  • Campaign Marketing Manager EMAP Competitive + Bonus, London (Greater) / London (East), London (Greater)
  • Exhibition Designers WRG Live Competitive salary and benefits package dependant upon experience, Manchester, Greater Manchester
  • Producer WRG Live Competitve salary and benefits package dependent upon experience, London (Central), London (Greater) / Manchester, Greater Manchester
  • Content Manager WRG Live Competitive salary and benefits package, Manchester, Greater Manchester
  • Studio Manager Blue Skies Marketing Recruitment £29000 - £32000 per annum, Warwickshire