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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Channel 4 to put thousands of hours of old TV online for free

If you missed such thought-provoking documentaries such as The Boy with Seven Faces, or Body Shock: Head of a Girl, Body of a Donkey, rest assured — Channel 4 has you covered.

The ass print in your sofa is likely to get sizeably more cavernous from 25 June, when much of the old content only available to
Windows users through the 4oD desktop app, will appear at Channel4.com
— previously only a catchup service — for Mac, Linux and PC users alike.

Over 4,000 hours of archived Channel 4 TV is to be made available online for free, from Time Team, Location, Location, Location and Brookside, to Trigger Happy TV, Shameless and Queer As Folk. The full service is expected to launch on 3 July.

It’ll be completely ad-supported, meaning you can sit and watch an entire series of Father Ted or Smack the Pony, as long as you don’t also mind sitting through some unskippable pitches for your time and cash.

What you won’t get is an entire archive of everything Channel 4 has broadcast since its inception — don’t expect to see some bizarre, experimental three-part documentary from the 80s on there. What’s to be available is “defining content”, Channel 4 told us this morning, and for the most part, anything that hits 4oD catch-up will stay online for good.

The BBC iPlayer has offered series catch-up functionality while later episodes are still being broadcast, but it has yet to glue that content to the site indefinitely once the series has finished.

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