Leeds nostalgia: Channel 4 launches with Countdown in 1982

1994''Carol Vorderman and Richard Whiteley celebrate the 1500th edition of Countdown.
1994''Carol Vorderman and Richard Whiteley celebrate the 1500th edition of Countdown.
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Dateline: November 1982...

This month back in 1982, Channel 4 launched and the first show to broadcast was Countdown, which was filmed in Leeds for 27 years up to 2009.

The anniversary is noteworthy because the publicly owned broadcaster only recently announced it will set up its new regional headquarters in the city.

The original presenter of Countdown was the late Richard Whitley, who died suddenly aged 61 in June 2005. His long term partner, Kathryn Apanowicz, recently called for the new Channel 4 headquarters to be named in his honour.

It’s also worth noting, especially in today’s TV-saturated world, that prior to Channel 4, there were just three channels, BBC1, BBC2 and ITV. Channel 4 was created to give people more choice. It remains publicly owned and essentially under the auspices of the Government, although a large part of its revenue comes from commercial advertising.

Over the years, a number of prime ministers, including Margaret Thatcher, Sir John Major and Tony Blair have considered privatising it.

As for Richard Whiteley, he presented Countdown for 23 years and was known for his jolly, avuncular style... and his natty dress sense.