British Satellite Broadcasting

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Group.png British Satellite Broadcasting  Rdf-icon.png
HeadquartersMarco Polo House, London, England, UK
Typecommercial
A London based satellite television company

British Satellite Broadcasting (BSB) was a television company headquartered in London, which provided direct broadcast satellite television services to the United Kingdom. It started broadcasting on 25 March 1990.

The company was merged with Sky Television in November 1990 to form British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB).[1][2]

Background

For a brief but brilliant moment at the dawn of the 1990s, a new broadcaster emerged with the promise of high quality, high brow and high fidelity programming beamed down direct from the skies. That company, British Satellite Broadcasting, made its final transmission barely six months after its first, but during those memorable months between March and November 1990 gave an early TV platform for, among many others, “everyone who was anyone in Nineties comedy”.

The likes of Chris Morris, Chris Evans and Armando Iannucci got their big TV breaks on BSB, as did respected sports commentator Jeff Stelling. Jools Holland had his own show, as did Keith Allen on the Galaxy Channel – one of five offered with the BSB package. Ultimately, in a battle reminiscent of the famed Betamax vs VHS showdown a decade before, the economically struggling BSB would be forced to merge with its lower brow competitor Sky Television, to form British Sky Broadcasting. The only things to remain would be rusting Squarials on the sides of houses and a bulging archive of quality shows ripe for repeats and home release.

So why are there no DVDs of Holland’s "The Happening" sitting alongside his "Later…" titles, or reruns of topical comedy show "Up Yer News" alongside "Have I Got News For You" and "Drop The Dead Donkey"?

Sadly, and shockingly considering the relative recency, the BSB archive is in a sorry state. Research is ongoing, but it seems the vast majority, perhaps even all, of the programming broadcast by BSB is currently missing. This is where TV historian Ian Greaves comes in, leading a campaign to recover the lost BSB archive, working alongside classic TV organisation Kaleidoscope. His investigations are turning up previously missing material feared lost for ever, but, there is still a lot to uncover.[3]



References