Satellite telly in Britain has been around since 1978, however Sky Channel broadcasting Australian Rules football and looped episodes of The Untouchables to a few enthusiasts with giant dishes in their back garden doesn’t really count. The satellite age didn’t really kick-off here until 1989 when a Rupert Murdoch-injected Sky Television went head-to-head against BSB. The stark difference between the two services was perhaps best symbolised by their radically different satellite dish designs: Sky’s was an ugly, wire-meshy, nobbly affair made by the bloke who ran Amstrad, whereas the BSB squarial was of a majestic white, adhering to that aesthetic so beloved of home make-over programmes – clean, sleek lines. Undoubtedly the squarial was the more elegant of the two but whose carried the most popular service? Well BSB offered state-of-the art D-MAC satellite technology and an eclectic mix of arts, sport and entertainment programming, but for those who chose Sky there was unlimited ALF, 21 Jump Street and The Price is Right .
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Creamguide's Pick of the Day
Very soon on BBC4 we’ll be hearing two of the best singles of 1979 courtesy of Sparks, and wonderfully Ron and Russell are still going strong to this day, forty years after their first hit. They’re another act who were far more popular here in the UK than in their home country, as we took the pair to our hearts and made them proper pop stars even though they were one of the oddest acts you’ll ever see. Given they’ve just released a new greatest hits album which we think is the first time all their best stuff across all their albums has been on one record (though it doesn’t have Now That I Own The BBC on it, alas), it’s the perfect occasion for Stuart Maconie to pay tribute with a host of celebrity fans.
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Points of View
- In 'Dimbleby’s exit poll: what’s behind the BBC’s election selection?', Applemask says: "To be fair, Pebble Mill literally had cancer."
- In 'Tiswas', Paul Hughes says: "Great article about a great show, but it’s a shame there’s no mention of Matthew Butler, the little lad who used to sing Bright Eyes dressed..."
- In 'Pages from Ceefax', Mick says: "BBC Micro graphics ordered to resemble mid-70s resolutions and typeset for in-computer compatibility using bolt-on tuner. Interesting case of..."
- In 'Paddington', Mick says: "When Mr. Curry barges into the family’s new ‘shedna’ to hog its maiden voyage, Paddington pours snow down the chimney in well-deserved..."
- In 'Five to Eleven', Mick says: "Well, come on, it made me think. Titles came on, I’d say ‘Right, nearly lunchtime’."