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General information  

  • Starting date : 30/03/1997
  • Cessation place : London


  • Channel 5 (1997-2002)
  • Channel Five (2010-2011)
  • Five (2002-2010)
  • Five (2002-2011)


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Channel 5 (1997)

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Channel 5 is a television network that broadcasts in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1997, it was the fifth and final national terrestrial analogue network to launch. The station was branded as Five between 2002 and 2010. After his purchase of the station from RTL on 23 July 2010, Richard Desmond announced plans to invest more money in programming and return to the name Channel 5 with immediate effect, prior to an official relaunch on 14 February 2011 which was also applied to 5 News.

The new on-screen look for Channel 5 went live on 14 February 2011 with new idents, on-screen DOG and website address. The relaunch has also seen investment in a range of new programming with the debut of the nightly entertainment show, OK! TV. Audience figures for the relaunch were boosted with increased viewing figures for the main 5 News bulletins and improved figures for OK! TV in the 18:30 slot over its predecessor Live from Studio Five.

The channel is a general entertainment channel, with internally commissioned shows such as The Gadget Show and Fifth Gear appearing alongside numerous international programmes such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Neighbours and Home and Away. The channel has historically had the lowest audience of Britain's five terrestrial television channels, usually lagging well behind its main four terrestrial rivals with a viewing share of around 5%. During live football coverage, the channel often enjoys significantly larger audiences as high as 12%.

On 18 August 2011 Channel 5 launched a revived version of Big Brother UK, starting with Celebrity Big Brother followed by Big Brother 2011. The format has been refreshed and revamped with new hosts and an opulent new look has been given to the house. The first Channel 5 housemates to enter the house included Kerry Katona and twins Jedward. The launch show received 5.3 million viewers, giving the channel its highest-ever audience for an entertainment show.

Big Brother narrator Marcus Bentley is one of the announcers on the channel, combining roles he previously held on Channel 4.


 Pre-launch activity
Wolf Olins and Saatchi & Saatchi were the main companies behind the pre-launch advertising campaign: "Give Me 5". The channel would be both modern and mainstream. A logo (a numeric "5" within a circle) and visual motif (a "candy stripe" bar of colours) were used, and an attempt was made to establish a collection of Channel 5 faces; through the spring of 1997, billboards of Jack Docherty were displayed, along with other unknown characters.

A series of pre-launch screens were displayed on the frequencies Channel 5 would begin broadcasting on in the months before launch as well, including a trailer for the channel and information screens.

After an exhaustive re-tuning system, 65% of the population could view the channel by launch night.

 The launch
The channel's launch on 30 March 1997 at 18:00 featured the Spice Girls singing a re-written version of Manfred Mann's hit "5-4-3-2-1" as "1-2-3-4-5". Presenters Tim Vine and Julia Bradbury introduced the nation to the UK's fifth terrestrial channel with half an hour of previews.

The rest of the Channel 5 launch night schedule, along with the official viewing figures were as follows:

Overall, an estimated 2,490,000 tuned in to see Britain's fifth free network launch, a figure higher than that achieved by launch of Channel 4, fourteen and a half years earlier.

 Re-brand as Five
On 16 September 2002, Channel 5 re-branded to Five, in a multi million pound project directed by Trevor Beattie. The channel's director of marketing at the time, David Pullen, said:
This campaign set out to achieve three key objectives: to clarify the channel's creative strategy; to refresh the channel's on-screen identity; and to address the gap between the common perceptions of Five and the new reality of our programming - stimulating viewers' reappraisal of Five's programmes and brand.
Channel 5 was a name; 'Five' is a brand. 'Five' as a brand reflects the evolution the channel is undergoing in programming and in becoming a more confident and distinctive viewer proposition.

 Desmond takeover
Upon completing his takeover of Five on 23 July 2010, Richard Desmond remarked; "I prefer Channel 5 to Five, but... we haven't met with the team yet to discuss these sort of details". The day after, Desmond's Daily Express newspaper noted that the channel's name was to change: "From today the rather vague 'Five' reverts to the much more informative Channel 5". On 11 August 2010, Desmond confirmed the restoration of the name from 1997–2002, Channel 5. The restoration was revealed on television in 14 February 2011.

 Multi-channel strategy
British television has undergone a lot of change since Channel 5's launch with the huge growth in digital television. .

On 18 November 2005, it was announced that Five had bought a stake in DTT's pay-TV operator, Top Up TV. It was said that the investment may lead to the development of new free and pay services on DTT, and other platforms.

Following this, Five launched two new digital TV channels in autumn 2006 on Freeview, Sky and Virgin Media:

  • 5* Launched on 15 October 2006, providing pre-school shows under the Milkshake! banner as well as drama, films, soaps, popular factual and lifestyle shows. The channel originally launched as Five Life, in 2008 it was renamed to Fiver and 5* in 2011
  • 5USA Launched on 16 October 2006, offering drama, films, sport, comedy and youth programming from the USA. It originally launched as Five US, but in 2009, it changed from Five US to Five USA, and in 2011 to 5USA

Spin-offs from the broadcaster's existing hits are also aired on the sister channels.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Channel 5 (UK)", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.