By Russ J Graham

Channel Television logo

Channel Television/CTV - Channel Islands Communications (Television) Limited
Channel Islands: 1962-2002 (Lost identity)

Baby of the class

The establishment of independent television in the Channel Islands was difficult from the beginning.

Doubts persisted up to (and beyond) launch day about the station's financial viability with such a small catchment area Technical problems with the Fremont Point transmitter almost scuppered the planned station - picking up an off-air signal from far-away Westward required a relay system that locals objected to, and conservationists were not pleased with the chosen site for the transmitter itself. Even the legality of the UK's Television Act being implemented in the Channel Islands was questioned by a population generally not in favour of the new service.

But Channel Television persisted. And, remarkably, still persists. Always the last company for everything - even colour, thanks to UHF transmissions being even more difficult to establish than VHF had been - Channel always relied on the kindness of strangers. Westward, TVS and Meridian all provided programmes in their time for the little company that hung off the edge of the ITV map.

The three 'big brother' stations provided network programmes for free, and also local programmes as fillers where required. When the company first started, ABC had provided money, technical expertise and staff, for very little in return. All companies rallied round to prop Channel up during its formative years.

There was no need to, but once ITV companies were like that. And Channel was the luckiest of all.

On Screen

Still from Channel ident Still from Channel ident Still from Channel ident Still from Channel ident Still from Channel ident

The unusual, shall we say, Channel ident, and also one of the most long-lived, thanks to the delay in converting the islands to UHF and therefore colour.

The lions head appears, zooms back and then each hexagon appears in turn to build the entire 'lion'.

Still from Channel 25 years ident Still from Channel 25 years ident Still from Channel 25 years ident Still from Channel 25 years ident Still from Channel 25 years ident

The special version of the CTV ident from 1987 - designed to celebrate 25 years of the station.

Still from CTV ident

The standard ident of the time is also seen here - the same as the special version, minus the '25'.

Still from CTV ident Still from CTV ident Still from CTV ident Still from CTV ident Still from CTV ident

The 1990s version, making use of CGI techniques but not changing the symbol itself - or the oddly low position of symbol in the final frame.

For some reason, I have a feeling that, had I grown up in the Channel Islands at the time of this ident, it would have given me nightmares.

Whilst most idents cited for scaring children usually did it by looking faintly like something else - ATV becomes a wasp - or by looming up on you unexpectedly - Yorkshire, latter-ABC, and a particularly nasty Granada breakbumper from the early days of colour all spring to mind - this one is different.

There's something innately portentous and creepy about it. It flies away from you, with music that seems to be leading up to something. Colours fly in, stab at it, and fly out again. Finally it comes to rest in the bottom two thirds of the screen - creepily out of place by normal standards.

I can't put my finger on why, but this ident - which has nothing wrong with it per se - would have scared me. It does now, anyway.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Transdiffusion Broadcasting System in general.

This article and its multimedia are copyright. Some rights reserved.

Article ©2004 Russ J Graham

Compilation ©2004 Transdiffusion Broadcasting System

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