October 1999: At autumn programming presentations, the industry is amused to hear that Channel 4 has picked up options on Big Brother, a show that attempts to force people with borderline personality disorders over the edge. Nearly everyone had predicted it would bomb on British TV.
October 2003: But Big Brother is a runaway success, pulling in unheard-of audience shares for Channel 4. At an autumn programming presentation in 2003, the channel's then chief executive, Mark Thompson, apologises for its declining aspirations - but unveils a schedule giving pride of place to Shameless and which includes Flesh And The Devil, which explores sexuality in the Catholic Church, and Gay Parents To Be.
October 2004: Highlight of the autumn presentation this year is Channel 4's latest star import from the US: Desperate Housewives. A Channel 4 suit tells Campaign: "Desperate Housewives does feel like this is going to be an indulgent female watch."
November 2010: One of the first things that David Abraham had done on becoming the Channel 4 chief executive was to announce the channel would stop showing Big Brother. Some observers believed he also hoped to distance Channel 4 from exploitation TV and return it to its public-service ethos - but during the programming presentations (now known as "upfronts") for 2011, they note the presence in the schedules of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.
November 2011: At the latest upfront presentation, Channel 4 unveils Desperate Scousewives. Do you see what they've done here? They have taken the notion of Desperate Housewives, a franchise about ladies who are not getting enough, and on the other hand, the notion of the Scouser, a heritage franchise blending maudlin self-pity with tired-and-emotional volatility. And then what they've done is sort of rear-ended one into the other.
November 2012: Abraham continues to express his lack of enthusiasm for exploitation TV - and states his desire to return Channel 4 to its core values of "nurturing new talent and giving a voice to outsiders". Critics are bemused to see My Big Fat Gypsy Brother on the schedules, where naughty gypsies and gay members of the Catholic Christian Brothers are detained in a high-security compound in Poland. With hilarious consequences.
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
The games console as we know it is dead. When Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One earlier this week, it was clear that this was more than a device that would enable you to play Call of Duty or FIFA – this was, in Microsoft’s own words, “an all-in-one home entertainment system”.