Wednesday, June 12, 2002

SWITCHING OFF: Following the demise of and Rapture, the first music channel that people actually watched is to close. Play UK (ne UK Play) is coming off the air, after a disappointing sets of viewing figures. Owners Flextech are likely to use the space to create another UK Style type channel, or maybe a History one. Hamstrung by a tricky balance between comedy and music. The comedy caused problems as the BBC library (source of the commercial channel's programming) just didn't have enough new stuff in it to keep Play fresh - even the most diehard fans of Vic and Bob might feel a twenty-ninth outing of Shooting Stars to be pushing it a little - while the music programming did throw up some interesting things - Manni, ex-Stone Roses, current Primals, hosting a new music show that went unnurtured and unrewarded for its efforts; Play Loud, which while walking the Kerrang beat attempted to do more than simply go "video, video, video." But, sadly, it never took; moving from the music part of the Sky programme guide to the general segement made things worse; a reluctance to spend money culled original programming like Top of the Pops at Play; and then ITV Digital folded, and the one place where the channel could do well (it only had MTV to compete with on Monkey Vision) disappeared. We'll miss it. And we'll miss the Larry Sanders omnibus.

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