The YouTube Files – Christmas With Channel 4.

Christmas With Channel 4 (Channel 4, 1982)

After taking a look back at how Christmas Day was covered by some ITV regions in the 80s, I thought that I would now review some continuity and adverts that were shown on Channel 4. On YouTube I have found some adverts from 25 December 1982. The significance of this is it was Channel 4’s first Christmas, and they hadn’t even been on air for two months at this point.

Also, these adverts were recorded in London, back in the days when Channel 4 really struggled to fill their advertising slots, indeed it’s possible that even on this day the breaks in some regions contained no adverts at all. There were no “programmes follow shortly” slides here though as all the breaks were filled, although it was clear that there wouldn’t be a huge amount of people watching. Here are some of the highlights. vlcsnap-00774

We begin with a trail for Boxing Day which has a strand called Fifties To The Fore, a great evening of nostalgia, featuring shows that would’ve been about 25 years old even then including sitcom The Larkins. Coming next though is Richard III, a very long film. Then we get the first break. As it turns out, the adverts would be rather repetitive, with some turning up five or six times. At least there were no PIFs featured here, and there’s no in-vision announcer (I think Channel 4 only ever used in-vision continuity for a very short time during closedowns in the early days). vlcsnap-00772

One regular advert is urging us to determine where to go on holiday next year, and there’s also some hair thing called Glints. We also get a lot of sale adverts, now there’s a surprise. However, most of the sales don’t start until the 27th in this year because the 26th was on a Sunday. My favourite of all of them was the one for Texas that featured some great Pac-Man-style graphics. vlcsnap-00778

After a trail, we see the nice Channel 4 Christmas ident, featuring the coloured blocks spinning around as usual, although this time against some sparkly baubles (along with a special version of “Fourscore”). Then we get some more breaks, mostly featuring TDK tapes with The Pink Panther, and Vogue Interiors, Debenhams, and just about everyone else want to tell us that they’re having a sale. Oh, and alcohol-free Barbican is great. vlcsnap-00777

With about a minute to go, we come to one of the more remarkable adverts, for Freddie Barrett, who it seemed advertised a lot in the early days of Channel 4, and after some breaks were uploaded to YouTube containing some of his low-budget adverts, he seemed to become something of a cult figure (I must admit that I don’t remember this campaign from first time round). vlcsnap-00780

What actually happens in his adverts is rather difficult to describe. They are all about five seconds long and consist of Barrett urging us all to come to his liquor bar in his unique style, because he needs our money, but seemingly not as much as Channel 4 needed his (it seems that his adverts ran regularly on the radio at this time too). How strange. Well it makes a change from OTV I suppose…

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