Today, we know Sky One as one of the leading lights in the UK’s televisual world, bringing countless hours of entertainment to millions of people all across the nation. Such is the level of success the channel has enjoyed over the years, it’s now seen alongside BBC 1 & 2, ITV and Channel 4 as one of the biggest and best entertainment channels around. But how did the channel get started, what’s coming to the service soon and what are the shows you should be watching right now?
Join us as we share all!
A Brief History of Sky 1
Sky 1 launched on the 26th of April, 1982, as Satellite Television Ltd. Incredibly, this unappealing sounding channel was Europe’s first ever cable and satellite channel, broadcasting from the ground-breaking Orbital Test Satellite, high above the earth’s atmosphere.
The goal was to sell the channel to cable operators across the continent, but they quickly discovered that ratings were lower than expected. Advertising began to drop and the station was struggling financially, even struggling to meet the basic transmission costs. It was an unsustainable system, but the efforts of Satellite Television Ltd hadn’t gone unadmired.
On the 27th of June, 1983, the shareholders of the young service agreed a deal which, for £5m, would give News International a controlling stake of 65%. News International, famously headed by Rupert Murdoch, immediately set about turning the fortunes of the company by extending the broadcasting hours and expanding the service to the United Kingdom.
On the 16th of January, the service was rebranded as Sky Channel – the first step in its journey towards Sky One.
Sky Channel began importing a number of American programmes to supplement the schedule, as well as launching a range of home grown UK efforts including music programmes with Gary Davies, Tony Blackburn, Pat Sharp and Anthea Turner. Kids programming also became a priority, with Fun Factory and DJ Kat Show both launching at roughly the same time.
By the 8th of June 1988, the scale of Sky Channel was proving to be a problem, and Murdoch announced his plans to extend Sky Channel’s service to 4 channels, thus creating the Sky Television network we know and love today. Sky Channel, Sky News, Sky Movies and Eurosport were the four channels, and Sky Channel quickly launched yet more programming.
This latest wave had hits like The Price is Right, Sky By Day and much more. Later, the channel would add WWF Wrestling and boast a compelling blend if entertainment, sport, fashion and gossip.
Finally, on June 31st 1989, the channel was renamed Sky 1 and shuttered in most European countries, leaving only its UK and Ireland operations. It was to be the last rebrand the channel would ever go through, and paved the way towards Sky One becoming one of the UK’s biggest entertainment channels.
Over the next 27 years, Sky One built up a reputation as a premier entertainment channel thanks to exclusive rights for programming like The Simpsons and Malcolm in the Middle – both of which propelled gigantic numbers of tea-time viewing on the channel.
Eventually, Sky One would move away from being a Sky Television exclusive and join the ranks of competitors like Virgin and BT, both of whom offer the service as standard. Sky have taken the view that by getting their content (and adverts) in front of the eyes of customers on competing services, they have a much greater chance of adding to their own ranks.
Who is Sky One targeted at?
Sky consider Sky One to be their platform for everybody. It’s their family platform, with tea-time programming designed to appeal to everyone and early evening entertainment programmes which bring the best of UK comedy to our screens.
Although it doesn’t have the serious drama of Sky Atlantic or the compelling dramas of Sky Living, Sky One plays host to amazing adventures, superb superhero programmes and some of the best British comedy around, making it the perfect place for the whole family to enjoy together.
Sky One’s Top Shows
As previously mentioned, Sky One is home to much of the best TV that the world has to offer, but what programmes should you be tuning in to on a weekly basis? Here’s some of our favourites.
- Harry Hill’s Tea Time – Harry Hill returns! The hilarious comedy creation is back on TV after the riotous TV Burp with a new spoof cookery programme called Tea Time. Mixing his usual blend of absurdist whimsy and slapstick, Harry Hill’s Tea Time is a smash hit.
- The Flash – Based on the DC comic book of the same name, The Flash is the story of the world’s fastest man, Barry Allen, as he attempts to save the world, his city and his friends from evil menace. Soon to end its third series, there’s a lot to love about The Flash.
- Trollied – Trollied didn’t make a huge splash when it debuted in 2011, but show found an audience nonetheless. Now, 6 seasons in, it’s become a firm favourite as millions tune in to enjoy the hilarious misadventures of those who work in fictional supermarket Valco.