David Abraham, Chief Executive, Channel Four Television: “A licence to be different”
Channel Four was born with a unique mandate. It was to be a public service channel, but self-funding, from advertising. Above all, it was founded with the mandate of “being different”: creating new types of programming, cultivating creativity and originality, and avoiding safe standard formats.
Channel 4 brought reality TV into Britain in the form of Big Brother, spawning a genre that defined the era. Keen to move on, it pushed the envelope in programming, taking risks that sometimes failed, sometimes succeeded, but never succumbed to being “safe”.
Channel Four News eschewed the traditional formula: one hour long, it analysed issues in greater depth than the mainstream bulletins, and under Jon Snow developed a reputation for forensic questioning and challenging the establishment view.
This evening, David Abraham talks about what it takes to nurture originality and creativity; taking risks, and the future of television, and will be followed by a reception.