Friday, 29 February 2008

When satellite was young

These days, it's hard to believe that not so long ago there were only 4 TV channels readily available to us in the UK, BBC1 and 2, ITV and C4 or if you were in Wales like me S4C. Then a company in Luxembourg put a satellite in orbit, the satellite was called Astra and among the variety of channels was one called The Sky Channel, this eventually became Sky 1 and was joined by Sky Movies, Sky News and Sky Sports all broadcast in the clear.

In with these channels were things like RTL which was a German version of Sky and broadcast some interesting programmes on a Saturday night, one of these was called Ein Manner Magazin and was basically the old Electric Blue videos dubbed into German and then there was Tutti Frutti.

It had a huge following in the UK despite the fact it was in German and nobody understood it. Basically, the contestants answered questions and then took their clothes off, there were dancing girls that took their clothes off and that was about it really. The show was broadcast again on UK TV but the presenter had changed and they dubbed over the original sound so that the presenter had a Welsh accent.
There were some clips of the show on You Tube but these have been taken down for copyright reasons.

 Then there was a channel called Lifestyle, which in the evening became the Lifestyle Satellite Jukebox, this showed Music Videos and some of it's revenue came from people calling in to vote for a particular track, the more calls the more often the track was played,.

Sam Fox was on quite a lot as were Whitesnake, ZZ Top and Alice Cooper videos, then a woman by the name of Sabrina released a track called Boys Boys Boys and this became one of the most requested tracks.

One night, they played an absolutely diabolical track by what was described by a friends wife as "those German tarts", the track was called Hello and the band and I use the term very loosely was called Twinkle, this track became the most popular one for months until eventually the channel closed down due to lack of funds.

One of the other popular film channels was called Filmnet, this broadcast a similar selection of films as Sky Movies but was an encrypted channel, there were many pirate decoders available for it and the main reason for it's success in the UK was that on a Wednesday night and a Saturday night they broadcast a selection of adult films including Deep Throat, these were totally uncut and were one of the great selling points for satellite systems.

Eventually companies realised that they could make money out of adult content and the Adult Channel was born, this was followed by Television X and many others.

It's not the same these days, the likes of Tutti Frutti and others were quite innocent in comparison to the output on todays channels, but these programmes paved the way and increased satellite sales in the UK.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

The Company Store

In the late 90s, I started work for a company called Falcon Business Services, this was part of a group of companies called The Company Store Group and we basicaly setup limited companies both UK and offshore. Falcon Bus Services as we were once called at a Christmas party dealt primarily with accountants and solictors while The Company Store dealt with the public in general.
Falcon dissapeared and The Company Store took over all it's business and in 2000, myself and the rest of the staff were treated to a night out a Granada Studios. Drink was drunk, dancing was attempted and then we went home.

These were good people and it's shame that the company once again went into liquidation some time later.

In the meantime, have a look at some pictures from the night.