Get in Contact

Justin Smith - Principal Investigator

Email: [email protected]

Tel: +44 (0)2932 845734

Ieuan Franklin - Research Assistant

Email: [email protected]

Tel: +44 (0)2932 845734

Twitter @channel4project


University of Portsmouth

School of Creative Arts, Film and Media

St Georges Building

141 High Street

Old Portsmouth



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Channel 4, British Film Culture and me

January 12th, 2011
In November 1982 I was working as Assistant TV Acquisitions Officer in the National Film Archive at the British Film Institute and freelancing for Time Out and a range of magazines and newspapers about film and TV.  I hadn’t been involved in any of the lobbying for the new channel, but awaited it with some [...]

An Open Letter to the Home Secretary

December 29th, 2010
On the desk in front of me as I as write is a half-page advertisement from The Times of 10 October 1979. This treasured clipping, now creased and yellowing, is headed ‘The Fourth Television Channel: An Open Letter to the Home Secretary’. Below a block of italicised text there is a signature list of more than [...]

FACE TO FACE: Justin Smith talks to Jeremy Isaacs

November 30th, 2010
JS:  Aside from your established track record in television, you’d done a stint as Head of the BFI Production Board in the late 1970s.  Was film always a personal passion?  What were your reasons for making it a part of your declared manifesto for the new fourth channel? JI: Well, there was an argument going [...]

The Channel 4 films of the 1980s: ‘A worrying new category’

November 9th, 2010
As Channel 4 draws the curtain on the eleven-year success of the Big Brother franchise,  it continues to reap the rewards of being the producer of some of the most popular shows on television, including teen dramas Skins and Hollyoaks and reality shows like The Secret Millionaire and Come Dine With Me. It has also [...]

Rose in the Pink

November 9th, 2010
Producer David Rose, Channel 4’s first Commissioning Editor for Fiction, was honoured at a ceremony on 20th April 2010 for his career contribution to British television drama and film.  The BFI Fellowship, the Institute’s most prestigious award, was presented by the current Controller of Film and Drama at Channel 4, Tessa Ross, before an audience [...]

Le Blog Française

November 9th, 2010
Festival du Film Britannique de Dinard, 6-10 October 2010 My first day at the 21st British film festival enabled me to catch a film part-funded by Film4 which won the special jury prize here two years ago. Boy A (2008), directed by John Crowley, stars Peter Mullan as Terry, a probation officer charged with protecting [...]

Balloon goes up on University’s Channel 4 Project

June 14th, 2010
The University of Portsmouth’s School of Creative Arts, Film and Media launched its major new research on Channel 4’s impact on British film culture at a special event on 19 May. This first major assessment of the output of Film Four is being led by Dr Justin Smith and Professor Paul McDonald. They won a [...]

News Archive

Blog Calendar

January 2011
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The University of Portsmouth's Channel 4 project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and run in partnership with the British Universities Film and Video Council.
University of Portsmouth British Universities Film and Video Council Arts and Humanities Research Council

I think the real difference [between films for television and cinema] is the kind of subject liable to be financed by Channel 4, which leads to some of the new British films being a bit lacking in the ambition one associates with a cinema film. There is a certain restriction of imagination or idea, rather than the feeling that if you make a film financed by television you have to restrict it in terms of technique and style. — Lindsay Anderson, 1989 (quoted in Block, Houseley et al. 2001)