Channel 5 started broadcasting to the nation (well most of it) at 6pm on March 30th 1997. The channel was dogged with problems before it even started. The terrestrial frequencies that had been allocated for the channel in most areas clashed with theose already used for video recorders. A massive retuning program started to make sure people could view the channel. Certain areas of the country couldnt recieve Channel 5 - one area, the south of England, will not receive the channel as it will interfere with French tv broadcasts.
 
A few weeks after the launch, Channel 5 started broadcasting free-to-air on the Astra satellite, so those with Sky boxes could recieve the channel. Channel 5 could basically be described as a terrestrial version of Sky One.


Click for larger image Pre-Launch Promo
1997
Click for larger image This is the pre-launch promo which viewers could use to tune in their tv sets to channel 5

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Click for larger image Pre-Launch Preview
1997
As the launch gets closer, the tuning-in promo now includes preview clips of forthcoming programmes...
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This leaflet from Channel 5 explains how to tune in


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some Channel 5 marketing materials used prior to the launch...




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Click for larger image Sky News
1997
Click for larger image Christopher Morris tells us more about the launch of Channel 5 that evening...

Click for larger image Channel 5 Launch
30.3.1997
Click for larger image Britain's latest channel finally arrives, and who else could open it but Britain's most famous Five-some, The Spice Girls, who sang a re-working of the 1960's hit "5-4-3-2-1"
 
Tim Vine and Julia Bradbury carried on the proceedings by explaining what '5' was all about.


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Click for larger image Channel 5 Launch - First advert break
30.3.1997
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Some pages from the Radio Times...


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Some pages from Channel 5's own magazine, available shortly after the launch


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Official Website
www.channel5.com