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Too much reality

What kind of programmes should Channel 4 show? Its former boss gives his verdict

By Jeremy Isaacs   December 2006

With the BBC’s charter renewed and only the level of licence fee to be set, attention in the second half of 2006 has fixed on Channel 4. The question is asked, as it was in the beginning: what is 4 for? The 1980 Broadcasting Act said it was “to encourage innovation and experiment… in the form and content of programmes… to cater for interests that ITV did not… to provide overall a distinctive service.” It was also expected to pay its way, and its early programme mix aimed at both goals.

Channel 4 today, approaching its 25th birthday, is riding…

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