We’re all familiar with the dream that was BBC America. When we heard about it, we immediately had visions of fine British TV dancing in our heads. We clamored for our cable companies to carry the channel. When they finally did and we had a chance to watch the channel… let’s say we were all mildly disappointed. Only part of the network is dedicated to actual British TV (though it’s starting to improve).
Enter the news we heard about today. This is some rather exciting news for British TV Fans. WETA, Washington DC’s largest PBS station, has announced that starting on June 2nd, 2012, they will launch a brand new 24 Hour British TV Station. All British TV, all the time. They will air a mix of older shows, new shows and specials imported directly from the UK.
This is great news for PBS viewers in the Washington DC area. Let’s hope they can syndicate this channel to other PBS stations.
Best of all, since it’s PBS, it will be commercial free – as British TV is meant to be aired.
Here are some details from the press release we were provided:
On June 2, WETA Television will be launching WETA UK, an innovative channel devoted to presenting British television programming at its best, around the clock, seven days a week. The new, local channel will feature classics, new favorites, and contemporary series currently airing in Britain.
WETA UK presents a full schedule of what audiences clearly relish: great entertainment programming featuring drama, action, intrigue, romance, mystery, and of course that trademark, wry British humor — all delivered with an accent from the Isles. The channel will be a top destination for viewers seeking the finest television offerings — from an array of major U.K. producers — including classics from the BBC. Among its many offerings, WETA UK will present a host of dramatic miniseries — including MI-5, Hustle, Waking the Dead, Primeval and New Tricks, several of which currently air in Britain — in addition to such popular classics as All Creatures Great and Small, Ballykissangel, vintage Doctor Who, Inspector Morse, Monarch of the Glen, Prime Suspect, Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes and productions from the series Masterpiece (including classics such as I, Claudius). Each Saturday night, the WETA UK Movie will present the best in feature film-length contemporary drama, and beginning this fall, WETA UK will feature major specials.
These programs will air alongside an impressive roster of British comedies new and old, such as Chef!, Doc Martin, Outnumbered, Miranda, Fawlty Towers, My Family, Vicar of Dibley, Keeping Up Appearances, To the Manor Born, Last of the Summer Wine, Waiting for God, Are You Being Served?, and Red Dwarf. Each Friday, WETA UK will present comedy programming around the clock. The channel will also include episodes of the original BBC series Antiques Roadshow, which helped inspire its namesake — and antiques mania — in America.
WETA UK is available free over the air on Channel 26.2 in Greater Washington. On subscription services, the channel can be found on Comcast 265, Cox 800, FiOS 474 and RCN 39.
I cannot possibly think of better news than this. Finally a TV station dedicated to British TV and actually committed to it. I really wish we lived in the DC area!
If you’re interested in getting this channel – I would write your local PBS station and tell them they should syndicate this station.
Here’s a video they sent us:
Find out more information on their new website: WETA-UK.