MX23RW : Friday, August 28 06:24:42| >> :600:2635704:2635704:

10 defunct TV channels which deserve a comeback

We profile 10 defunct TV channels that deserve to make a comeback in 2020.

In 2020 - a world of on-demand viewing and major streaming services - the general trend is for channels to close down rather than launch, with Disney's portfolio of kids stations the latest to bite the dust.

It's a far cry from the halcyon days of 20 years ago, when digital TV was still relatively new and multichannel TV was a rapidly-increasing market in the UK.

Here, we pine for 10 sadly-deceased channels which we believe deserve (an admittedly highly unlikely) comeback in 2020.

Sky Soap logo© Sky

Sky Soap (1994-1999)

The UK's only TV channel dedicated to soaps, Sky Soap launched in 1994 as a spinoff from the popular soaps block of programming on the old Sky Channel (later rebranded as Sky One). Broadcasting on weekdays between 12pm and 4pm, Sky Soap's lineup consisted of reruns of UK soaps such as Emmerdale and Take The High Road and US soaps including Peyton Place and As The World Turns.

Sky Soap survived only a few months after the launch of Sky Digital, taking its last bow in April 1999.

.tv, The Computer Channel© Sky

.tv (1996-2001)

Originally known as The Computer Channel, .tv launched in 1996 in the early days of the internet, initially broadcasting for just two hours a night. The schedule had shows focussing on gaming, gadgets and computer programs and increasingly more programming based around the internet as the dot-com boom took hold.

.tv became supersized following the launch of Sky Digital in 1998, moving to broadcast hours of midday to midnight, but closed down almost five years to the day after its launch in 2001.

Rapture TV

Rapture TV (1997-2009)

Initially available on cable TV only, Rapture was an eclectic service dedicated to video gaming, extreme sports and dance music. The channel had a strong live element and was the first major TV gig for Jake Humphrey, now one of the top sport broadcasters in the country.

Rapture got a reputation for its numerous relaunches and changes of ownership over the course of its existence and, following a very public dispute with Sky over carriage terms, shut up shop for good in 2009.

CMT - Country Music Television© MTV

CMT (1992-1998)

CMT, aka Country Music Television, launched a European version of its popular US channel in 1992. The service showed non-stop country music videos but was blighted by poor availability in the UK - with patchy broadcast on satellite - and was wound down just before the launch of Sky Digital.

Since 2016 country music has found a home in the UK as part of the Spotlight TV channel.


L!VE TV (1995-1999, 2003-2006)

Launched in 1995 by Kelvin MacKenzie and Janet Street-Porter, L!VE TV was essentially a 24-hour TV version of a tabloid newspaper. Broadcasting live from the 24th floor of Canary Wharf, the service became renowned for its downmarket content such as Topless Darts, weather bulletins presented variously by women in bikinis and a dwarf bouncing on a trampoline, and softcore porn shows such as Red Shoe Diaries.

L!VE TV closed down in 1999 but re-emerged on Sky in 2003 with programmes from the broadcaster's archive, eventually morphing into the XXX channel Babeworld.

Granada Talk TV

Granada Talk TV (1996-1997)

A short-lived channel that failed to make it to a full year on the air, Granada Talk TV had a lineup of live viewer phone-in programmes alongside talkshows such as Sally Jessy Raphael. Notable broadcasters to get their first break on Granada Talk included Graham Norton, Sacha Baron Cohen and Natasha Kaplinsky.

The station was one of a flurry of Granada-branded services that launched in 1996, including lifestyle channel Granada Breeze (closed 2002), archive channel Granada Plus (closed 2002) and Granada Men & Motors (closed 2010).

The Weather Channel

The Weather Channel (1996-1998)

A short-lived UK version of the popular US network, The Weather Channel provided non-stop forecasts from the UK and around the world, including the signature "On The 8s" feature. Carol Kirkwood was one of the lead presenters on the channel, which lasted just two years before being shut down, having failed to gain sufficient traction in the UK market.


UK Play (1998-2002)

The latest addition to the burgeoning UKTV network in 1998, UK Play was envisaged as a TV version of BBC Radio 1, with a mix of music content and comedy programming - including a live daily show from Chris Moyles. Rebranded as Play UK a couple of years later, the service shut down in 2002 - and the 'Play' branding is now used for UKTV's on-demand catch-up service.

Other channels added to the UKTV portfolio in the late '90s included documentary channel UK Horizons (closed 2004), home and garden channel UK Style (eventually rebranded as HGTV), arts channel UK Arena (now operating as crime channel Alibi) and UK Gold Classics (now known as Dave).

Landscape Channel

Landscape Channel (1988-2003)

The Landscape Channel was a unique proposition, broadcasting video footage of stunning scenic views set to classical music. Funding issues forced it off UK screens in 2003, although it did continue to broadcast in Europe and made a short-lived comeback as a timeshare on another channel in 2010. As of this summer the service appears to have closed down for good.

Nickelodeon broadcasting live from the Trocadero in the mid-'90s

Nickelodeon's Pirate TV (1995)

So technically not a channel in its own right, we just had to include the short-lived Pirate TV strand on Nickelodeon. The kids channel - launched in the UK in 1993 - began broadcasting live continuity links from London's Trocadero centre in 1994 between the channel's official broadcast hours of 7am and 7pm. For a brief period in 1995, however, Nickelodeon aired for a secret bonus hour between 7pm and 8pm, dubbed Pirate TV.

The entirely live segment had a different presenter each day, with Nickelodeon's hosts at that time including Helen Chamberlain, Sarah Cawood, Mounya and Yiolanda, Rick Adams and Lucy Alexander. Pirate TV came to an abrupt end to make way for the Paramount Channel (now known as Comedy Central).


Follow us on Twitter @SMEntsFeed and like us on Facebook for the latest entertainment news alerts.

Share this article now:
Did you know...?
Judge Rinder of Judge Rinder
Read Next:
Judge Rinder wants to send "turd in the post" to Gal Gadot
Latest Entertainment Video

rhs 2.0
New TV Picks header

Friday, August 28

We LOVE Are You Being Served?: Channel 5, 9pm
A look back at Mrs Slocombe's pussy and all things Grace Brothers

Canada's Drag Race: BBC Three, from 6am
The penultimate episode features one Michelle Visage as the special guest judge

Lodgers for Codgers: Channel 4, 9pm
A unique suggestion for tackling the housing crisis sees youngsters move in with OAPs

Coronation Street: ITV, 7.30pm
Daniel encounters Nicky out with a client and embarrassment ensues...
Media Mole's Spotify playlist