WETA in Washington DC Launches WETA-UK – New 24 Hour British TV Network

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:

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Find out more information on their new website: WETA-UK.

Comments

  1. avatarKat W. says

    Huzzah! BBC America was great to begin with for me; A&E had stopped carrying decent British mysteries and our PBS station only aired Brit shows Saturday evening (still does).

    Then something changed…now all that is ever on BBC America is Gordon Ramsay or Top Gear. Really? If I wanted to watch reality TV, I would watch ANY channel from the US!!!

    So, I cannot wait for this new channel!!!! Hurry up and get to Oregon!!!

  2. avatarK. B. says

    Fantastic news! Glad that I live in the DC area, I can’t wait to watch.

    I still watch and enjoy BBC America, but I cannot for the life of me figure out why they show some of the shows they do. I mean, ST: TNG is not British tv. wth?

  3. avatarVal says

    Oh, I’m ELATED!!! In my glory! This is just THE best news ever, but……I may have to stay up 24/7 to catch everything! Thank you PBS & WETA. Haven’t looked at the Schedules yet, but am hoping that, perhaps we may get more BBC World News?? Hopefully, it is THE best news station ever! And am sooo looking forward to seeing Monarch of the Glen again, especially the last 2 series, which WETA didn’t show. I’ll be taping more than ever now! Oh, brilliant!
    One-Very-Happy-Ex-Pat!

  4. avatarPatricia says

    I was so excited and took your advice and suggested to my local PBS station to syndicate this channel, then shared the news with a Facebook group of Anglophiles. One of the members immediately informed me that a channel cannot be syndicated, only individual shows, etc., etc., etc She described much rigamarole in getting licenses, permissions, etc., in order for another PBS station to even request such. In essence, we might as well forget asking for the channel – too much red tape involved. I do hope she’s wrong but wanted you to be aware of this in case she isn’t. Thanks, Jonathan, for this site and all you do. BTW, my dream is to live in Cornwall…. Cheers!

  5. avatarMeg--The Cultural Attaché says

    In response to Patricia: We could hope for something in the same vein as PBS Create, which shows cooking, DIY, gardening, etc.

  6. avatarElaine says

    I Dish Satellite not carrying WETA/UK? I can’t find it and I’m so very disappointed. We never watch anything but Netflix for British shows and now that we’re at a friend’s house in DC, we were hoping Dish would carry the new WETA/UK channel.

  7. avatarDenise Courts says

    It’s great news! I love Doc Martin, M15, Vera, East Enders, New Tricks, Rosemary and Thyme, Prime Suspect, Downton Abbey etc… What’s not to like! I would like to see latest episodes of M15. Thanks and Lovely! Denise Courts

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