“Can you imagine it? A channel that shows nothing but films!”

It being precisely 20 years since Sky Television arrived in the UK, here’s a special photo clippage collection hailing from the station’s early what-would-the-neighbours-think era.

1) Down at Waterloo station, Frank Bough is on hand to greet commuters with a video wall that tries to make five channels look like fifty-five.


2) Back at HQ, Rupert perches on a draped box to join Andrew Neil in pushing the ‘Push This Button To Make TV Channel Start’ Button:


3) Rupert and Alan sign a 10-year lease for the Astra satellite (real size pictured):


4) Meet the team! Andrew, Peter, Alistair, Derek, Penny, Tony, Kay and Bob:


5) Forward a few years, and Sky is ready to be floated on the stock exchange. Sam Chisholm and Anna Walker threaten to be upstaged by what everyone’s really interested in…that’s right – the news that shares will be between 233p and 268p!


6) Jeremy Guscott and Roger Black receive their application forms for shares in British Sky Broadcasting Group plc. Well, that’s what it says here.


7) The Premier League arrives, in the shape of BSkyB cheerleader Liniette Bertelsen, in the capable hands of Messrs Salako, Le Saux, Mabbutt, Cundy and Merson:



4 Responses to “Can you imagine it? A channel that shows nothing but films!”

  1. Simon says:

    Ah, Anna Walker – Sky tried so hard for so long to make out she was the face of the network, and now where is she?

  2. Chris Hughes says:

    The Sky Strikers! But why did they make Gary Mabbutt dress up as a goalkeeper?

    Loving that reference to Sky Arts in picture 2. Shame it didn’t turn up until 2007.

    Selling a lease on the Astra satellite should definitely be a task on the next season of The Apprentice.

  3. Steve Williams says:

    Indeed, not just Sky Arts in that picture but the Disney Channel as well, which didn’t turn up for nearly a decade.

    Why did Tony Blackburn get in the Sky News publicity? What did he do on it? The latest news to the beat of a thousand pop classics?

    At my parents’ house I’ve got a copy of TV Guide, the old Sky TV guide (I dunno why, we’ve never had Sky) from 1990, and they desperately try and hype up the biogs of all the Sky News presenters, including the brilliant line “Alistair Yates spent many years presenting his own three-hour current affairs show on Northsound Radio called The Alistair Yates Show”. What a coincidence they managed to find a man called Alistair Yates to host it!

    That TV Guide is mental, actually, they have full listings of the Sky channels, and then, as it was pre-deregulations, highlights of the terrestrial channels, and these are incredibly bitchily written. There’s a preview of the C4 adaptation of Don’t Quote Me which announces “Tonight’s panellists are old bore Barry Cryer and tedious Observer columnist Sue Arnold”. It’s all very high-faluting, seemingly forgetting what channels the magazine actually promoted.

  4. Tony Currie says:

    Re – picture #2….. taken on opening night of the “3-channels-plus-Eurosport” Sky. A very posh affair at Sion Park with a chamber quartet playing and nice food. 30 seconds to go and Rupert and Andrew are looking slightly uncomfortable since they clearly realise too late that nobody has stage-managed an actual ‘happening’. (No button to press…) My wife Karin and Clare Rayner decide to solve the problem and the two start very loudly counting down and fortunately the assembled VIP guests take the hint and join in.

    Tony Blackburn was there because he hosted a daily pop show on Sky Channel (it became Sky 1 a bit later) and since I was one of the only people he knew at the party he remained glued to Karin and me for most of the night. We spent much of it indulging in discussion about our mutual love of American radio jingles. Clare gave us a lift home. It was quite a night.

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