More TV Memories – The Channel 4 Daily.

The Channel 4 Daily (Channel 4, 1989-1992)

When Channel 4 launched in 1982, there wasn’t a breakfast slot, as programming usually began in the afternoon. Eventually their hours were extended, including when schools programmes began at 9:30am in 1987 after moving from ITV. But in April 1989, a breakfast service was launched, and the aim was to rival BBC Breakfast News and TV-am. They’d now be on air from 6am. What would The Channel 4 Daily have to offer?

First of all, there was the memorable opening sequence, featuring a lot of people opening their curtains, and the theme music, which featured some saxophone from Bob Holness. Well, probably. There were various features that were all at rather specific times, including news, business, and sport updates. Some of this was produced by ITN, and among the hosts were people who were already familiar with viewers including Carol Barnes and Dermot Murnaghan.

Most of these features would be introduced by spinning globes (which almost certainly must’ve had an influence on the look of The Day Today). Hosts were in “bureaus” around the world rather than studios, and this really was an attempt at creating “a newspaper on the television” every weekday. In addition to this, there were also features including film reviews, Countdown Masters, and cartoons.

This meant that this all came across as a three hour-long edition of News At Ten. The combination of all this seemed to be a little dry and reserved by Channel 4’s standards, and in September 1992, having not been hugely successful in the ratings, The Channel 4 Daily was replaced by the much more lively and alternative The Big Breakfast, which seemed much more like the kind of thing that should’ve been occupying this slot.

And what is the first part in the Channel 4 breakfast trilogy (along with The Big Breakfast and Rise) isn’t really remembered that much by comparison now, as viewers decided that this wasn’t really the only way that they wanted to start their day, although this did give us something of an insight of what the era of 24-hour news channels could be like.


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