Here’s the second and final part of my memories of TV channels that are no longer on Freeview.
Marketplace. I don’t remember much about this one, it was only on air for a few hours a day, yet another shopping channel I think.
Men and Motors. A long-running channel aimed at men which showed repeats of The Professionals a lot that was eventually replaced by ITV4.
Nuts TV. A spin-off from the now closed men’s magazine featuring documentaries about football and things like that.
Price-Drop TV. Is it really all over? Bid’s great companion channel which has now gone to the great TV screen in the sky. Quiz Call. Another phone in and win channel. This one was enjoyable to watch for a little while as it had some good presenters but some of the puzzles were ridiculous. Sky Sports News. I used to enjoy watching this channel when it featured Soccer Saturday with Jeff Stelling, but I didn’t watch it much apart from that as it usually just consisted of news of the latest footballers to be injured.
Sky Three. This channel was eventually replaced by Pick.
Sky Travel. I didn’t watch this one much but it was good when they occasionally had an around the world feature showing you live pictures from various countries.
Smile TV. Another channel with awful quiz and Babestation-style programming which was made on a budget of about 10p.
Teachers’ TV. This channel only ever seemed to be on air really late at night. It featured programming about education but barely anybody saw it because it was niche to say the least and it’s long since closed.
Thomas Cook TV. Another travel channel offering you deals on holidays.
TMF. This was a good channel at first showing various pop videos, but after a while they just started showing regular programming all the time until they were replaced by Viva. TV News. Another channel that only seemed to be on for a short time every day,
TV Travel Shop. Yet another channel wanting to sell you a holiday.
UK History. A channel featuring historical documentaries, sort-of still going now under the name Yesterday.
UKTV Bright Ideas. A spin-off of the UK Style-type channels featuring loads of house makeover shows and not much else.
Virgin1. The replacement for FTN.
Viva. This was another music channel that didn’t seem that interested in showing many pop videos, it’s been recently replaced by Spike.
Xtraview. Finally, an odd one this. When subscription service Top-Up TV was on Freeview, for a short while there was a channel where if you phoned the number on-screen you would be given a code. If you entered the code on your remote control it would unlock the channel for the night which was showing a selection of what you could get on the service, so for example you could watch UK Gold for a few hours for free.
I’ve had a Freeview box ever since the launch in November 2002. A while ago I had an idea to write a piece on here called “The A-Z Of Freeview” where I would have a look at the current line-up and share my memories of watching various channels. However I’ve barely watched channels such as Al Jazeera so I thought that I wouldn’t have much to say. So I decided that it would be a much more interesting idea to have a look back at some channels that are no longer available on Freeview and have a think about what happened to them. This will be in two parts. It isn’t going to be a comprehensive list, it won’t include channels such as text services, blank screens, Top-Up TV channels and radio stations, and I’ve probably forgotten at least one I wanted to write about, it’s just the TV channels that I remember that for whatever reason have come and gone.
ABC1. A spin-off from the American channel ABC. It showed various imports but every time I watched they seemed to be showing the sitcom Home Improvement.
Argos TV. A shopping channel spin-off from the department store. I did watch occasionally when I noticed that a few ex-Bid presenters where among the line-up but it didn’t last long.
BBC Choice. A channel that had been around since the earliest days of digital TV and was replaced by BBC3 in 2003.
Bid TV. I still can’t believe it really. This was a very enjoyable channel to watch, for a bit. Big Deal. The last gasp of the quiz channel boom, and again seemingly featuring lots of ex-Bid presenters on the lineup. One of the last times I watched if you could phone in and find a correct answer you would win £10. Unsurprisingly they closed not long after. Bonanza Bonanza. A terrible channel showing scratched copies of public domain out of copyright 50-year-old TV shows, which every time I watched seemed it to be the same episode of The Lucy Show. How strange.
CBM. This channel actually didn’t even launch. I think it was going to be a film channel but we never found out.
Channel One. A renamed Virgin1. Not to be confused with the 90s cable channel of the same name.
Chart Show TV. A music channel that I liked that was a relative of The Chart Show, but it was only available for a short time and now it’s only on Freeview in Manchester which isn’t of much use to me.
CNN International. A news channel that was only on Freeview for a few hours so it always frustrated viewers when a news story was starting to develop and then they went off air for the night.
Five Life. The first additional channel from Five, which was then renamed Fiver before becoming 5*.
FTN. A channel featuring shows from various channels including Challenge and Living. They seemed to show the Australian sitcom Kath And Kim a lot before they started to show classic game shows like The Krypton Factor and Bullseye. As this was before Challenge itself came to Freeview it gave the ratings a big old boost before being replaced by Virgin1. The Hits. This channel had a playlist of the latest pop videos and you’d phone in to select what one you’d like to watch. Replaced by 4Music but The Hits Radio continues on Freeview.
Ideal Extra. A spin-off from shopping channel Ideal World if you hadn’t had enough bargains already.
ITN. A news channel that closed in 2005 after competing with BBC News 24 and Sky News.
ITV Play. A quiz channel that was enjoyable when they showed Quizmania for hours on end before it was taken off air.
JML. A infomercial-type channel which every time I turned it on seemed to be flogging something called the Exakt Saw. Call now! Lottery Xtra. Something to do with the National Lottery, it was only on for an hour a day.
I’ll return with part two next.