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When Channel 4 wasn’t just Bake Off and Benefits Street

It was once part of a golden era of the popular avant-garde

By Sam Thompson  

Acceptable Levels

Since becoming a corporation in 1993, Channel 4 has striven towards more mainstream appeal. The result today is depressing viewing: 12 different property shows, endless repeats of US sitcoms, and increasingly bizarre forms of reality TV—the less said about Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners or Britain’s Biggest Hoarders the better. Its anti-establishment politics has almost disappeared, to be replaced with the stereotyping of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and Benefits Street. The cosy comfort-viewing of the Great British Bake Off, which it nabbed from…

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