Campaigning for Innovation and experiment on Channel 4

Holdsworth, Claire and Stoneman, Rod (2017) Campaigning for Innovation and experiment on Channel 4. In: Mulvey, Laura and Clayton, Sue, (eds.) Other Cinemas: Politics, Culture and Experimental Film in the 1970s. London : IB Tauris. pp. 313-318. ISBN 9781784537180


A concise account that supplements topics only briefly mentioned in other contributions to the anthology Other Cinemas, this piece provides a factual overview of the establishment and early context surrounding the fourth British terrestrial television channel, Channel 4 (C4), which started broadcasting in 1982. With its dedicated ‘Independent Film and Video Department’, C4 opened air-time to more diverse content through its alternative model, which, rather than making programmes in-house, operated as a ‘publisher-broadcaster’ by buying-in and commissioning work. Developed following a series of interviews/conversations between Holdsworth and former deputy Commissioning Editor at the Channel, Professor Rod Stoneman (National University of Ireland, Galway) this co-authored overview (1,300 words) observes how the Channel’s initial founding remit stemmed from an ethos towards innovation that owed much to the experimental ‘independent’ and ‘workshop’ artistic film and video sectors that emerged in 1970s Britain. This chapter is supplemented by two contributions to the book (a chapter on the IFA and another short section on the Workshop Declaration) as well as a chronology (all written by Holdsworth).

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