Gallery: France 

14 June 2001


National channel – now entirely advertising funded.

TF1 has the distinction of being (we believe) the only national flagship channel to be privatised in western Europe. The station was sold off in order to raise money – but there is still disquiet in France to this day over the decision. If you would choose to imagine it, the privatisation of TF1 was akin to BBC1 (and not BBC2 or BBC Radio) being sold to The Daily Telegraph or Trinity Mirror.

TF1 ident

TF1 ident

TF1 ident

TF1 ident

TF1 announcer

TF1 ident

TF1 announcer (poor DX reception of SECAM on a PAL TV)

TF1 ident (poor DX reception of SECAM on a PAL TV)

TF1 news (poor DX reception of SECAM on a PAL TV)

Antenne 2 (later France 2)

National channel – Licence fee & advertising

We start at Christmas 1990, with a very polished ident and announcer from the French second channel…

Antenne 2 ident

Antenne 2 announcer

Antenne 2 ident

…and flash back to 1986 and a less polished, and, to UK eyes, very avant guarde style for the channel.

She’s changed clothes and background colour, but the announcer is doing a double shift today, presenting daytime programmes (above) and closing down the station (left). Only the earrings remain the same.

The French are very protective of their culture, but the ravages of the 1980s could not be escaped no matter how hard you tried to do so. Miami Vice, tonight at 8.35pm.

The news at midday on one side and a closedown in progress on the other. All in pastel shades.

Watch France 2 menu and break bumper

A stylish change for modern presentation, as seen by this menu, breakbumper out and breakbumper in from 2002 – time and tide having waited for no one, A2 is now France2.

FR3 (later France 3)

Regional channel – Licence fee & advertising

Let’s start by bringing FR3 on air with a still caption of the ‘3’ symbol and an odd tuning signal.

After a fast-moving 3D ident, it’s time to look at what’s happening on Wednesday evening on FR3. The answer appears to be ‘nasty French singers’ but it could be ‘nasty French variety’.

The nastiness continues with a Scandinavian-style standard promotional style, this time advertising that awful British export, ‘Benny Hill’. Well, it was the 1980s, a decade that taste forgot.

A different style of promo, this one features a jigsaw of ‘3’ symbols splitting apart to reveal the programme excerpt underneath – in this case, alternative dance.

A look at the regions themselves in the final programme before closedown.

RTF (later became TF1)

National channel – Licence fee & limited state advertising

RTF Television announcer

RTF Television

Gallic fashions and design in the 1960s, as RTF celebrates the move in to colour 625 to replace b&w 819.

RTF2 (later became A2)

National channel – Licence fee.

RTF2 ident

RTF2 ident

RTF2 ident

RTF2 ident

RTF2 ident

RTF2 ident

The design style of RTF2 is very interesting. Despite the unusual Gallic twist to the actual layout, this ident is surprisingly similar to Rediffusion London and BBC2. All three were launched in the same month in 1964.


Pay-TV channel

Later to become a suite of channels and eventually an entire platform (much like Sky in the UK) in the Netherlands, Spain and France itself, Canal+ had more modest beginnings as a terrestrial pay-TV channel, taking the UHF frequencies formerly used by the defunct La Cinq commercial channel.

La Cinq

Private national channel

Whilst some countries spent years arguing over whether to introduce commercial television, those whose state channels had carried adverts for a long time debated the possible introduction of private, unregulated television. In France, this meant the populist La Cinq. The channel didn’t prosper and eventually went bankrupt.

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You Say

2 responses to this article

Rudy Évrard 2 April 2021 at 7:26 am

hello, you got it wrong, the picture here is ORTF channel 2, not channel 1.

The public company went like this :
Just after the war it was Télévision Française
then RDF, the RTF
in the 60’s they added a second channel, both were called RTF, differenciate by channel 1 or 2.
later they became ORTF, and channel 2 got colour.
In early 70’s channel 3 started.
Mid 70’s channel 1 became TF1, channel 2 Antenne 2, channel 3 FR3.
colour was slowly added to TF1 from 1976 to 1984.
TF1 was sold to private company in 1987.
way later public company created new channels
etc etc

Rudy Évrard 2 April 2021 at 7:29 am

Canal+ had more modest beginnings as a terrestrial pay-TV channel, taking the UHF frequencies formerly used by the defunct La Cinq commercial channel.

this one is wrong too.
Canal + was created in 1984, taking over old 819 lines black and white TF1 frequencies on VHF mostly.
La Cinq was created in 1986 on brand new frequencies.

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