Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Sky One: A Eulogy

Sky Channel Ident

I'm old enough to remember when Sky One used to be called Sky Channel. 

However, it wasn't its original title. Opening in 1982, what eventually became Sky's main entertainment channel, started life as Satellite Television Ltd.

The channel's run as the 'oldest non-terrestrial TV channel in the UK' will end its run today when it will be shut down to make way for a couple of new channels: Sky Showcase and Sky Max.

My introduction to Sky Channel began shortly after Rupert Murdoch's News International launched Sky over here in the UK. My aunt and uncle were the first people I knew who owned a satellite dish. 

The only thing I can remember from the visit to my relative's home - in regards to my introduction to Sky Channel - was a commercial for WrestleMania V. A wrestler named Hulk Hogan showed up on the screen. I knew that man. He had wrestled on a special episode of the wrestling on ITV. As well as that, I remembered him from Rocky III.

I cannot recall telling my family that I knew Hulk Hogan. What I do remember is my uncle turning to me and saying 'you should get your parents to buy a satellite dish so you can watch that'.

Good idea!

Months later, after returning from a summer holiday to Malta, I came home and immediately fell asleep on the sofa. After waking up, my father had bad and good news to tell me.

'We had some letters whilst we were away,' he began. 'The first letter is from the cubs, the summer camp has been cancelled. The other letter is from The Sun - I've won a satellite dish in a competition I entered!'

I remember going into town with my dad to pick up the dish and having the box resting on a wall in the dining room waiting a few days until the company came to install it. Those days seriously felt like a drag. 

To cut a long story short, we had Satellite TV by late-August. The world of TV opened up a lot more from that day onwards. Introducing me to programmes that I still enjoy to this very moment.

As you've probably guessed, my interest in the American style of professional wrestling developed due to the addition of satellite television to our home. This is thanks to Sky Channel - or Sky One - which, at the time, hosted the weekly TV shows that were produced by the World Wrestling Federation. The channel also aired the major  events until they eventually moved to Sky Movies before switching to Sky Sports and then Sky Box Office.

The WWF's content is what I enjoyed the most on Sky One when you account for longevity, but there are other shows that played a part in my enjoyment of the channel.

The main one is 21 Jump Street. I've written countless times how that series is very dear to me. It first started airing on Sky Channel exactly a week after the dish was installed. I chose - from that day - to religiously follow the happenings on Jump Street. This lasted well into the early 1990's.

Sky One Ident

Another programme that I would watch on a weekly basis - starting from 1990 - was The Simpsons. It would air at 6:30PM on a Sunday and would lead in to the aforementioned 21 Jump Street, which would kick off at 7:00PM.

Back in the day, there were some fun programmes like Sky Star Search - a talent show hosted by Keith Chegwin. I also enjoyed Sky's version of the Sale of the Century game show. 

As I look back through writing this post, it's quite clear that a small part of my childhood was made up of enjoying the programming from Sky One.

There were many other programmes I watched on Sky One as I went from childhood to adulthood. Yes, even Beverly Hills 90210 deserves a shout-out, but that was not a series which was forced upon me on occasions.

In recent years, I found myself hooked on Arrow, which ended last year. I have been keeping up to date with the series' that spun-off from it, though. 

As well as Arrow, and it's spin-offs, I'm currently watching reboots of some of the 1980's programmes I enjoyed from the past like MacGyver and Magnum PI.

I also have been keeping up with SWAT - a reboot of a 70's series that I was aware of but had never seen.

I can't say I am going to miss Sky One. Why? Because I know I'll find the programmes I currently watch elsewhere. 

With that said - the fact that I can recall some personal memories simply by thinking back to programmes that I loved on Sky One (or Sky Channel!) should point to the strong chance that I'll never forget it.

Goodbye, Sky One. And thanks.

Sky One Ident

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