Q: Who do you think might have uttered the following in what context?:

“At one point virtually every factual series, whether it was education, youth, religion or current affairs included the women camped on Greenham Common, even my over 60s show”.

The answer is the late Naomi Sargant, first ever Senior Commissioning Editor of Educational Programmes at Channel 4. The quote is in a book I’ve been reading called “The Making of Channel 4” by history academic Peter Caterall.

Who would think it now that 4 has been reduced to a freakshow channel of celebrity talent shows because the original reality format has turned too boring foir the Heat generation eg Wifeswop and Big Brother. I’ll admit I watched Celeb BB for the first time this series last night but drew the line at the reality style documentary on Gazza’s mental health issues which would be an exercise in morbid fascination too far. The subject has attacked the show for turning his twelve year old against him in the Telegraph. Hardly “cutting edge” stuff but lazy programming.

Instead I flicked over to witness the escalation of events in Gaza in a bout of pre-election pre-Obama macho stuff from the Israeli government. I can’t imagine any similar content straying anywhere outside the news on Channel 4 these days. Its sister channels of wall-to-wall Friends also seem to have departed from the ideals in the quote in the book from ex-station controller Liz Forgan:

“The injection of argument rather than just opinions, the admission to the screen of large numbers of black and Asians, The Tube making Top of the Pops look like a vicarage tea party, and the new deal with the film business through Film on Four, some marvellous drama – in all those ways Channel 4 did completely shake up British television.”

Can’t think of how to end this post so I will leave you with a youtube clip of 1980s alternative act Eyeless in Gaza. It’s called “Veil Like Calm”.

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