▶ SUPER CHANNEL 1

Superchannel Launch - Complete and in full

30th January 1987 the launch of the first pan-European English-language satellite TV station, Super Channel. This is a 35-minute compilation of that first night on air. It's an amusing watch for many reasons. There's John Suchet referring to the ITN World News as a comprehensive information pack; there's Paul McDowell inviting us to join him in the Supersports studio; there are specially-recorded, in-character good-luck messages from Benny Hill and the cast of 'Allo 'Allo; there are the original ad breaks; and there's the opening ceremony, which includes a speech from Margaret Thatcher praising British television and, oddly, not letting on about how she was determined to screw it all up just a few short years later. Super Channel, of course, managed to screw itself up without even trying. For those who don't know, it was intended to be a sort of pan-European UK Gold (five years before UK Gold proper was created), showing the best of BBC and ITV programmes and some box-ticking specially-made Eurononsense, but due to unforeseen rights issues, it wasn't able to show half the programmes it had scheduled for its first few months, and it never really recovered. But at the time this compilation was made, they were pioneers and they really thought they were going to make it.

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