British Tv Programmes Sold Abroad Assignment

The British TV shows that are watched all over the world

Making TV shows is big business for the UK. Tens of millions of viewers around the world follow Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Who and other iconic British characters.

And interest is growing. Sales of British television shows around the world rose to $1.7 billion (£1.3 bn) in 2015/16. Flip through the gallery to see British TV's biggest global hits.

The British TV shows that are watched all over the world

Sherlock – Set in modern-day London, "Sherlock" is one of the best-loved British programs worldwide. The fourth season of this contemporary adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's detective stories has sold to 230 territories around the world.

The show has spawned fan sites around the world. South Korean pop group SHINee even released an EP and single titled "Sherlock" in 2012, inspired by the show.

The British TV shows that are watched all over the world

Planet Earth II – The original series of "Planet Earth" first broadcast in 2006, narrated by English veteran broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough.

Each episode of the nature documentary ventured into a different habitat, from tropical rainforests to the icy poles. Ten years later, Attenborough returned to present the sequel.

"Planet Earth II" sold to 154 territories, with both series now licensed to a total of 233 territories.

The British TV shows that are watched all over the world

The Weakest Link – Quiz show "The Weakest Link" sees a team of contestants answering general knowledge questions for money. At the end of each round contestants vote out the weakest team member, and host Anne Robinson utters the catchphrase, "You are the weakest link, goodbye."

The original British version broadcast in the UK from 2000 to 2012, and the format sold to just under 100 countries.

The British TV shows that are watched all over the world

Doctor Who – Sci-fi show "Doctor Who" revolves around the adventures of an extraterrestrial Time Lord who travels through space and time in a TARDIS (which looks like a 1960s police phone box) to fight a host of enemies.

The cult series was first broadcast from 1963 to 1989, and was revived in 2005. It has since been distributed to over 200 territories around the world, amassing a loyal following of "Whovians."

The British TV shows that are watched all over the world

Victoria – Costume drama "Victoria" chronicles the first few years of the reign of Queen Victoria, from her ascension to the throne at age 18 in 1837, to her marriage to her cousin Prince Albert, and the birth of their child.

While screenwriter Daisy Goodwin drew inspiration from Queen Victoria's own diaries, she has taken a few liberties by painting a more passionate and modern version of the young queen.

The first series (2016) drew in an average of 7.7m viewers in the UK and has been sold to more than 150 countries.

The British TV shows that are watched all over the world

Top Gear – Global smash hit motoring show "Top Gear" has been around since 1977, but was relaunched and rebranded in 2002. The famous line-up of hosts -- Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May -- provided comic relief for 22 series to an audience of 350 million viewers worldwide.

In 2015 Clarkson was dismissed following a "fracas' with a producer, and, together with Hammond and May, quickly signed up to present a new car show on Amazon, while "Top Gear" continued with new hosts on the BBC.

At its height, "Top Gear" showed in 214 territories worldwide and was the most widely watched factual television program in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Various local versions of the show have been produced in Australia, Russia, France, China and South Korea.

The British TV shows that are watched all over the world

Great British Bake Off – This quintessentially British baking show, where participants compete in various baking tasks, complete with humor, fun, and sexual innuendo aplenty, is followed by viewers in approximately 200 territories around the world.

"The Great British Bake Off" format has been reproduced in over 20 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Denmark, India and Ukraine.

The French version ("Le Meilleur Patissier") features a grueling two hours of baking each week, and the Turkish version ("Ver Firina") comes with an additional side of dancing.

The British TV shows that are watched all over the world

Downton Abbey – Period drama "Downton Abbey" follows the romances and fortunes of the fictional aristocratic Crawley family and their servants at a grand Yorkshire estate.

Set between 1912 and 1926, it delves into the dealings of the aristocrats upstairs and the servants downstairs, and how their lives intertwine.

It's shown in 250 territories worldwide. There's even a "Downton Abbey" exhibition touring the world, kicking off in Singapore earlier this year. Highclere Castle, where the series is filmed, is now a tourist attraction in its own right.

The British TV shows that are watched all over the world

Mr Selfridge – Another period drama, "Mr Selfridge" tells the story of the American founder of London department store Selfridges.

Set from 1908 to 1928, the show follows Harry Selfridge's attempts to make his store a success, as well as as his and financial troubles, and his ultimate unraveling.

It was first broadcast in 2013 and has since been sold to over 150 countries.

The British TV shows that are watched all over the world

Peppa Pig – This cartoon television series aimed at young children follows Peppa, her family and friends as they play in the mud, snort, and go about their daily lives.

The program is shown in 180 countries. There is a heap of "Peppa Pig" merchandise on the market, from stuffed toys to video games and even food, clothing and jewelry.

There is even a dedicated Peppa Pig World within a family theme park in Hampshire, England, with over 60 Peppa-themed attractions. Milan, Italy, is home to another attraction, Il Mondo Di Peppa Pig, in a theme park.

The British TV shows that are watched all over the world

Who Wants to be a Millionaire? – The original British "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" game show, where host Chris Tarrant ran contestants through a series of multiple choice questions leading up to the million-pound question, debuted in 1998.

Since then, over 100 different local versions have been produced all over the world, from Afghanistan to Vietnam.

The British TV shows that are watched all over the world

Midsomer Murders – Detective drama "Midsomer Murders" is set in the bucolic fictional English county of Midsomer and features a healthy dose of dramatic comedy.

It is based on the "Chief Inspector Barnaby" book series by Caroline Graham, and adapted by author and scriptwriter Anthony Horowitz.

First broadcast in 1997, "Midsomer Murders" has sold in over 220 territories, and goes by the name "Inspector Barnaby" in some countries.

The British TV shows that are watched all over the world

Poldark – This adaptation of Winston Graham's romantic novels takes place in 18th century Cornwall, in south-west England, and follows ex-soldier Ross Poldark as he returns from war to discover he has lost his childhood sweetheart to his cousin.

His unlikely relationship with his strong-willed servant Demelza plays out against the backdrop of the sweeping Cornish coastline.

An earlier version of "Poldark" was broadcast between 1975 and 1977. The new series debuted in 2015 and has been sold to over 150 countries.

The British TV shows that are watched all over the world

Pop Idol – Reality singing competition "Pop Idol" was created by British TV executive Simon Fuller in 2001.

After two seasons, "Pop Idol" was axed and replaced by series judge Simon Cowell's "The X Factor." But the "Pop Idol" format was still adapted in just under 50 countries, and the ever popular "American Idol" version reportedly sold to 150 territories.

Notable winners include UK "Pop Idol" winner, Will Young, and "American Idol" winner Kelly Clarkson, both pictured above.

The British TV shows that are watched all over the world

X Factor – This hugely popular talent show created by Simon Cowell (right) sees singers compete for a recording contract. Since the original British version released in 2004, winners like One Direction, Leona Lewis, Olly Murs, Little Mix and Ella Henderson have gone on to sell millions of records.

Globally, 147 territories have tuned in to the UK version of "The X Factor," and there are 51 local versions around the world, from Albania to New Zealand.

In 2013, Indonesia produced "The X Factor: Around The World," a special featuring contestants and judges from various versions.

The British TV shows that are watched all over the world

Bob the Builder – Animated television show, "Bob the Builder" follows building contractor Bob and his colleague Wendy as they complete their construction tasks. The series debuted in 1999 and remained unchanged until 2015 when Bob's world transitioned from stop-motion animation to CGI.

Bob's famous catchphrase (and the title of the hit theme song) is "Can we fix it?" to which his team responds with "Yes we can!"

Since launching in the UK in 1999 "Bob the Builder" has been translated into multiple languages and has aired in over 30 countries.

For the wider media in the United Kingdom, see Media of the United Kingdom.

This article needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(December 2013)

Television in the United Kingdom started in 1936 as a public service which was free of advertising. Currently, the United Kingdom has a collection of free-to-air, free-to-view and subscription services over a variety of distribution media, through which there are over 480 channels[nb 1] for consumers as well as on-demand content. There are six main channel owners who are responsible for most viewing. There are 27,000 hours of domestic content produced a year at a cost of £2.6 billion.[nb 2] Since 24 October 2012, all television broadcasts in the United Kingdom are in a digital format, following the end of analogue transmissions in Northern Ireland. Digital content is delivered via terrestrial, satellite and cable as well as over IP.

Broadcast television providers[edit]

Free-to-air, free-to-view and subscription providers are available, with differences in the number of channels, capabilities such as the programme guide (EPG), video on demand (VOD), high-definition (HD), interactive television via the red button, and coverage across the UK. The UK's five most watched channels, BBC One, BBC Two, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, are available from all providers.

Broadcast television is distributed as radio waves via terrestrial or satellite transmissions, or as electrical or light signals through ground-based cables. In the UK, these use the Digital Video Broadcasting standard. Most TVs sold in the UK come with a DVB-T (terrestrial) tuner for Freeview – a rare thing in Europe[citation needed]. Set-top boxes are generally used to receive channels from other providers. Most services have also integrated their broadcast TV services with additional video streams distributed via the Internet, or through their own Internet Protocolnetwork.

ProviderYearsFree or payNo. broadcast channelsHouseholdsOn demandNotes
Terrestrial
Freeview2002–Free50+ (TV)
24 (radio)
19,200,000[1]
Q4 2012
YesCatch-up TV available via Freeview Play devices
Sure TV2013–Broadcast: Free
IPTV: Pay
Broadcast: As FreeviewUnknownYesHybrid Freeview + pay TV service. Guernsey, Jersey and Isle of Man only
YouViewUnknownBroadcast/catch-up: Free
IPTV: Pay
Broadcast: As FreeviewUnknownYesHybrid Freeview and catch-up service
Optional pay services via BT TV, TalkTalk TV or Plusnet broadband
Satellite
Freesat2008–Free115 (TV)
38 (radio)[nb 3]
2,100,000[1]
Q4 2012
Yes
Freesat from Sky1998–Free + PPV240+ (TV)
80+ (radio)[2]
597,000[3][nb 4]
Q4 2008
No
Sky1998–Pay400+ (TV)
160+ (radio)
11,245,000[4]
September 2014
Yes
Cable
Virgin Media2006–Pay250+ (TV)[5]
35+ (radio)
3,780,000
April 2013
Yes

Digital terrestrial television[edit]

Main article: Digital terrestrial television in the United Kingdom

See also: List of DTT channels in the United Kingdom

Digital terrestrial television launched in 1998 as a subscription service named ONdigital. Since October 2002, the primary broadcaster is Freeview, which is free of charge to view.

YouView is also distinctly marketed although it provides the same free channels as Freeview as it uses the same transmitter network.

The TV channels are transmitted in bundles, called multiplexes, and the available channels are dependent on how many multiplexes are transmitted in each area. 3 multiplexes, carrying channels from BBC, ITV, Channel 4, S4C, Channel 5 as well as radio, are available to 98.5% of the population from 1,154 transmitters. A further 3 multiplexes transmit to 90% of homes from 80 transmitters, and another 2 multiplexes are available to 76% of homes from 30 transmitters. The terrestrial service consisting of just the 3 public service multiplexes, available to 8.5% of the population, is informally called 'Freeview Light' by some websites. In Northern Ireland, a multiplex carrying channels from the Republic of Ireland is available to 90% of Northern Irish homes from 3 transmitters. Local TV and radio is available from an additional multiplex at 42 transmitters. [6][7][8]

Catch-up TV services such as BBC iPlayer are available via the broadband connection of both Freeview and YouView receivers. On YouView, subscription TV services from BT, TalkTalk, Plusnet, and global streaming services can also be received via the broadband connection. SureTV is a similar service in Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.

Cable television[edit]

See also: Cable television by region § United Kingdom

There were many regional companies when cable television services were developed in the late 1980s and 1990s. Today they have amalgamated to become Virgin Media, which is available to 55% of households[9]. Cable TV is a subscription service normally bundled with a phone line and broadband.

WightFibre operates on the Isle of Wight, however acts as a distributor for Sky and YouView instead of having an integrated TV service.[10]

Satellite television[edit]

See also: Satellite television by region § United Kingdom and Ireland, and List of free-to-air channels at 28°E

There are three distinctly marketed direct-broadcast satellite (DBS) services (also known as direct-to-home (DTH), to be distinguished from satellite signals intended for non-consumer reception).

Sky TV is a subscription service owned by Sky plc, which launched in 1998 as SkyDigital. Compared to the previous analogue service, it provided more channels, widescreen, interactive TV and a near video on demand service using staggered start times for pay-per-view content. Innovations since have included high definition, 3d TV, a digital video recorder, the ability to view recordings on other devices, remote operation via the Internet to add recordings, and on demand content via the satellite receiver's broadband connection of both Sky and 3rd party TV. The Sky subscription also includes access to Sky Go, which allows mobile devices and computers to access subscription content via the Internet.

Freesat from Sky, is a free satellite service owned by Sky plc. Existing Sky TV customers can end their ongoing subscriptions, and opt for the Free-To-View viewing card, giving them the Freesat from Sky service. Freesat from Sky does not provide digital recording or video on demand. Freesat from Sky has more channels than Freesat, which are mostly international or shopping channels. The on-screen programme guide lists subscription channels even thought they can't be viewed.

Freesat is a free satellite service created jointly by the BBC and ITV. In contrast to Freesat from Sky, it does not need a viewing card. Like Sky, it provides high definition content, digital recording and video on demand via the broadband connection. The on-screen programme guide lists the available channels, rather than encrypted channels which need a subscription to view.

Freesat, Freesat from Sky and Sky TV transmit from SESAstrasatellites at 28.2° east (Astra 2E/2F/2G). As the satellites are in geostationary orbit, they are positioned above the earth's equator(0°00′N28°12′E / 0°N 28.2°E / 0; 28.2 (Satellites transmitting Sky TV, Freesat and Freesat from Sky to the UK and Ireland)) approximately 35,786 km above mean sea level; this places them above the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Internet video services[edit]

See also: IPTV, Internet television, List of Internet television providers, Mobile TV, and Category:Internet television

TV via the Internet can be streamed or downloaded, and consist of amateur or professionally produced content. In the UK, most broadcasters provide catch-up TV services which allow viewing of TV for a window after it was broadcast. Online video can be viewed via mobile devices, computers, TVs equipped with a built in Internet connection, or TVs connected to an external set-top-box, streaming stick or games console. Most of the broadcast TV providers have integrated their set-top-boxes with Internet video to provide a hybrid broadcast and online service.

Catch-up services[edit]

Since 2006, UK channel owners and content producers have been creating Internet services to access their programmes. Often, these are available for a window after the broadcast schedule. These services generally block users outside of the UK.

Service nameOwnerBroadcast channels with catch-upCatch-up periodAdditional contentStreamedDownloadFree/PaySite
All 4Channel Four Television CorporationChannel 4, E4, More4, 4seven, 4Music30 daysYesYesYesFree[11]
BBC iPlayerBBCBBC channels, S4C30 daysYesYesYesFree[12]
ClicS4CS4C7 daysNoYesNoFree[13]
ITV HubITV plcITV, ITV2-4, ITVBe, CITV30 daysNoYesWith subscriptionStreaming: Free
Optional subscription
[14]
My5Viacom International Media Networks EuropeChannel 5, 5USA, 5STAR, 5Spike30 daysYesYesNoFree[15]
Sky GoSky UKUp to 65 channels[16]UnknownBox sets with additional subscriptionYesWith additional subscriptionSubscription[17]
STV PlayerSTV GroupSTV, STV230 daysNoYesNoFree[18]
UKTV PlayUKTV MediaDave, Really, Yesterday, Drama30 daysYesYesNoFree[19]

Online video services for professionally-produced content[edit]

There are numerous online services targeting the UK, offering a combination of subscription, rental and purchase options for viewing online TV. Most are available via any Internet connection, however some require a specific broadband connection. Some services sell 3rd party services, such as Amazon's Prime Video. For brevity, the following table does not include catch-up-only or amateur-only services, individual channels, distributors of illegal or adult content, services which solely redistribute free broadcast channels, or services which don't target the UK.

ServiceOwnerAvailabilityOn-demand TVScheduled channels/streams (IP)DownloadsUHDNotes
FreeSubscriptionRentalPurchaseFreeSubscriptionPPV
All 4Channel 4 Television CorpInternetYesNoNoNoYesNoNoYesNo
BBC iPlayerBBCInternetYesNoNoNoYesNoNoYesTest content
BT TVBT GroupBT BroadbandNoYesYesYesNoYesUnknownNoUnknown
Curzon Home CinemaCurzon CinemasInternetNoNoYesNoNoNoNoNoUnknown
DisneyLifeDisneyInternetNoYesNoNoNoYesNoUnknownUnknown
EE TVBT GroupEE BroadbandNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoUnknownOn-demand content via 3rd party services
Google PlayGoogleInternetNoNoYesYesNoNoNoYesUnknown
HayuNBC UniversalInternetNoYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
iTunesAppleInternetNoNoYesYesNoNoNoYesYes
My 5Viacom Int'l Media NetworksInternetYesNoNoNoNoNoNoUnknownUnknown
NetflixNetflixInternetNoYesNoNoNoNoNoNoYes
NOW TVSky UK LtdInternetNoYesNoNoNoYesUnknownUnknownUnknown
Plusnet TVBT GroupPlusnet BroadbandNoNoNoNoNoYesNoNoNo
Prime VideoAmazon.com, IncInternetNoYesYesYesNoYesUnknownYesYesStreamed channels via 3rd party subscriptions
Sky GoSky UK LtdInternetNoYesNoNoYes
(Sky News)
YesUnknownUnknownUnknownSubscription fee included in Sky TV (satellite) subscription
Sky Sports MobileSky UK LtdInternetNoNoNoNoNoYesNoUnknownUnknown
Sky StoreSky UK LtdInternetNoNoYesYesNoNoNoYesUnknown
TalkTalk TVTalkTalk GroupTalkTalk BroadbandNoNoYesYesNoNoNoYesUnknown
TV PlayerSimplestreamInternetNoYesNoNoYesYesNoNoNo
UKTV PlayUKTV MediaInternetYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoUnknown
YouTube MoviesGoogleInternetNoNoYesYesNoNoNoYesUnknown

Channels and channel owners[edit]

See also: List of British television channels and Category:Television channels in the United Kingdom

Viewing statistics[edit]

Most viewed channels[edit]

The Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (BARB) measures television ratings in the UK. As of November 2017, the average weekly viewing time per person across all broadcast channels was 24 hours 16 minutes. 12 channels have a share of total viewing time across all channels of ≥ 1.0%. [20]

ChannelOwnerFree/PayWeekly viewing time per person (hours:minutes)Share of total viewing time (%)
BBC 1BBCFree5:2822.55
ITV or STVITV plc or STV GroupFree3:1513.38
BBC 2BBCFree1:265.91
Channel 4Channel 4 Television CorpFree1:104.83
Channel 5ViacomFree0:543.81
ITV HDITV plcFree0:463.15
ITV 3ITV plcFree0:261.78
ITV 2ITV plcFree0:241.66
E4Channel 4 Television CorpFree0:181.22
CbeebiesBBCFree0:171.17
DramaUKTV MediaFree0:171.16
Film4Channel 4 Television CorpFree0:161.12

Most viewed channel groups[edit]

For October 2017, there are 9 channel owners with a total viewing share across their channels of ≥ 1.0% (although BARB has separated Viacom channels into two groups, and it's unclear whether STV Group channels are included with ITV plc channels)

Channel ownerShare of total viewing time (%)Top 3 channels
BBC32.27BBC 1, BBC 2, Cbeebies
ITV plc21.84ITV, ITV HD, ITV2
Channel 4 Television Corp10.76Channel 4, Film4, E4
Sky UK7.86Pick, Sky 1, Sky Sports Main Event
Viacom: Channel 5 channels6.39Channel 5, 5 USA, Spike
UKTV Media5.35Drama, Dave, Really
Discovery2.16Quest, Quest Red, TLC
Viacom1.95Comedy Central, Nick Jr, Nick Jr 2
CBS1.47CBS Reality, Horror Channel, CBS Action
CSC Media Group1.29True Entertainment, Pop, True Movies

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)[edit]

Main article: BBC

See also: Category:BBC television channels in the United Kingdom

The BBC is the world's oldest and largest broadcaster, and is the country's principal public service broadcaster. The BBC is funded primarily by a television licence and from sales of its programming to overseas markets. It does not carry advertising. The licence fee is levied on all households that watch or record TV as it's being broadcast[23] and the fee is determined by periodic negotiation between the government and the BBC.

Its first analogue terrestrial channel, the BBC Television Service, launched in 1936. It rebranded to BBC 1 in 1964, the same year that BBC 2 launched, the UK's third analogue terrestrial channel after ITV. Both channels styled as BBC One and BBC Two from 1997. BBC News 24 launched as an analogue cable channel in 1997, later rebranding to BBC News. BBC Parliament, which was originally an analogue cable channel known as The Parliamentary Channel, was acquired by the BBC in 1998. From 1998 onwards the BBC started digital TV transmissions, launching new channels and broadcasting via satellite in addition to terrestrial and cable. BBC Three closed as a broadcast channel in 2016, continuing as an Internet video service.

Public service channelsCommercial channels
Free channelsBBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four, BBC News, BBC Parliament, CBBC, CBeebies, BBC Alba, BBC Red ButtonSee UKTV for the BBC's jointly owned commercial channels
Subscription channelsNone
Internet TV servicesBBC Three, BBC iPlayer

Independent Television (ITV)[edit]

Main article: ITV (TV network)

See also: Category:ITV franchisees, ITV plc, and List of ITV channels

ITV (Independent Television) is the network of fifteen regional commercial television franchises, founded in 1955 to provide competition to the BBC. ITV was the country's first commercial television provider funded by advertisements, and has been the most popular commercial channel through most of its existence. Through a series of mergers, takeovers and relaxation of regulation, thirteen of these companies are now owned by ITV plc; the other two are owned by STV Group. ITV plc, the operator of all English, Welsh, Southern Scotland and Channel Island franchises, had branded the channel as ITV1 since 2001, with regional names being used prior to regional programmes only since 2002. The ITV name was restored in 2013. ITV plc also operate the Northern Ireland franchise under the UTV brand name. STV Group, which operates the two other Scottish franchises, has now unified the regions under the single name of STV. ITV has been officially known as Channel 3 since 1990, although this is seldom used to identify itself.

ITV plc also operates digital channels ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, ITVBe, ITV Encore and CITV, some with HDTV streams. ITN, a subsidiary, currently holds the national news franchise, and ITV Breakfast operates the breakfast franchise.

ITV plcSTV Group
Free channelsITV, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, ITVBe, CITVSTV, STV2
Subscription/pay-per-view channelsITV2 HD, ITV3 HD, ITV4 HD, ITV Encore, ITV Box OfficeNone
Internet TV ServicesITV HubSTV Player

Channel 4[edit]

Main article: Channel 4

See also: Channel Four Television Corporation

Launched in 1982, Channel 4 is a state-owned national broadcaster which is funded by its commercial activities (including advertising). Channel 4 has expanded greatly after gaining greater independence from the IBA, especially in the multi-channel digital world launching E4, Film4, More4, 4Music and various timeshift services. Since 2005, it has been a member of the Freeview consortium, and operates one of the six digital terrestrial multiplexes with ITV as Digital 3&4. Since the advent of digital television, Channel 4 is now also broadcast in Wales across all digital platforms. Channel 4 was the first British channel not to carry regional variations for programming, however it does have 6 set advertising regions.

With Bauer Media Group, Channel 4 jointly owns a range of music channels under the Box Plus Network banner.

Channel 4 channelsBox Plus Network
Free channelsChannel 4, More4, Film4, E4, 4sevenThe Box, Box Upfront, Box Hits, 4Music, Kiss, Magic, Kerrang!
Subscription/pay-per-view channelsNoneNone
Internet TV ServicesAll 4Box Plus Network

Viacom[edit]

Main article: Viacom

See also: Channel 5 (UK)

Channel 5 was the fifth analogue terrestrial channel to launch, in March 1997. Due to constraints with the available UHF frequencies at the time, many households had to retune their video recorders, which shared the frequency on their RF output with the frequency used by Channel 5's new broadcasts. Channel 5 was the first terrestrial channel to also broadcast via satellite. From 2006 onwards, Channel 5 would launch new digital channels and an Internet on-demand service. After changing ownership several times, in May 2014 Channel 5 and its sister channels would be acquired by Viacom, an American media conglomerate.[24]

By the time it acquired Channel 5, Viacom already operated a large number of subscription channels in the UK, including the MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central channels, which are available via Sky TV, Virgin Media and NOW TV. In terms of viewing share, the combined viewing across Viacom's free and subscription channels make Viacom the UK's fourth largest broadcaster, after BBC, ITV plc and Channel 4 Corp, according to BARB's viewing figures for January 2018.[25]

Free channelsChannel 5, 5Star, 5USA, 5Spike, 5Select
SubscriptionMTV, VH1, MTV Base, MTV Classic, MTV Dance, MTV Hits, MTV Music, MTV Rocks, Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, Nick Jr., Nick Jr. Too, Comedy Central, Comedy Central Extra, BET
Internet TV ServicesMy5

Local television in the United Kingdom[edit]

Further information: Local television in the United Kingdom

On 18 January 2011, then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and SportJeremy Hunt announced his intentions to set up a network of local television stations across the UK. The initial plan was to create a network of local television stations, connected through a national backbone. This plan would create a television network similar to that of the network-affiliate model in the United States and Canada.[26] In June 2011, however, it was announced that the national spine plan would be scrapped, and a 'bottom-up' approach would be followed instead, where stations are individually licensed.[27]

Richard Horwood, a former Trinity Mirror executive, announced that when the local television stations are first licensed, he intends to create a television network called Channel 6; this will be a network of local television stations, with Channel 6 supplying the prime time schedule (similar to the American network-affiliate model).[28] Another operator, which has announced its intentions to set up a network of local television stations with a television network connecting them, is City TV Broadcasting. That company says it is basing its operations on the Citytv television system in Canada, but there does not appear to be any official affiliation with the latter's owner, Rogers Communications. City TV is initially bidding on a station to be based in Birmingham.[29]

Sky[edit]

Main article: Sky plc

See also: Category:Sky plc television channels

Sky operates a satellite television service and numerous television channels including Sky One, Sky Two, Sky News, Pick, Challenge, Sky Atlantic, Sky Living, Real Lives, Sky Arts, Sky Cinema and Sky Sports.

UKTV[edit]

Main article: UKTV

See also: Category:UKTV channels

UKTV is a joint venture between the BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, and Discovery Inc. Both companies additionally wholly own a number of other channels, broadcast domestically or internationally.

Channels under the joint venture are Alibi, Drama, Dave, Eden, Gold, Good Food, Really, Home, W, Yesterday plus a number of timeshift and high-definition services.

Programming[edit]

British television differs from other countries, such as the United States, in as much that programmes produced in the United Kingdom do not generally have a long 'season' run of around 20 weeks. Instead, they are produced in a series, a set of episodes varying in length, usually aired over a period of a few months. See List of British television series.

100 Greatest British Television Programmes[edit]

Main article: 100 Greatest British Television Programmes

100 Greatest British Television Programmes was a list compiled in 2000 by the British Film Institute (BFI), chosen by a poll of industry professionals, to determine what were the greatest British television programmes of any genre ever to have been screened. Although not including any programmes made in 2000 or later, the list is useful as an indication of what were generally regarded as the most successful British programmes of the 20th century. The top 10 programmes are:

100 Greatest TV Moments[edit]

100 Greatest TV Moments was a list compiled by Channel 4 in 1999. The top 10 entries are:

List of most watched television broadcasts[edit]

Main article: List of most watched television broadcasts

In 2005, the British Film Institute compiled a list of programmes with the biggest audience since 1955. The top 10 are:

A pavement dug up revealing the cables underneath. The green box is a common sight in areas with cable coverage, as are manhole covers enscribed with CATV.
Satellite dishes on a wall in Hackney, London. The small oval dishes are most likely being used for viewing British services, and are known as Minidishes. The larger dishes are most likely being used for viewing satellite services from outside the UK.

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