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Illawarra Mercury

Best of the British paytv

Author: DENISE EVERTON
Date: 02/04/1999
Words: 396
          Publication: Illawarra Mercury
Section: Applause
Page: 11
British television shows have etched themselves a solid place in the hearts of Australian audiences with their home-spun humour and rough-edged dramas.

The ability to laugh at themselves, find humour in the strangest situations and applaud the realities of life on the street mirrors the down-to-earth Aussie spirit.

We've laughed at the alcoholic meanderings of the Absolutely Fabulous team, been transported to unimaginable places with Dr Who and trudged the beat with the cops on The Bill.

Yet until now our diet of shows from the land of faggots and mushy peas has been tempered by ratings constraints on free-to-air television.

Not anymore.

From this month Austar is presenting Wollongong viewers with UK-TV, a channel dedicated to British entertainment.

Launched in 1996 through Foxtel, UK-TV is a joint venture between Foxtel, BBC Worldwide and Pearson Television.

Except for the mandatory 10-15 per cent of material sourced from Australia, the show covers only British productions and will form part of Austar's Deluxe package.

Many programs have not been seen in Australia before while some are old favourites.

Headlining the play list in 1999 are such new shows as Back Up (a drama about a close-knit squad of specially trained officers who handle the problems the police can't), Noah's Ark (a country veterinary practice), Heat of the Sun (a murder thriller set in the colonial high society of Kenya), Out of Hours (a doctor drama) and She's Out (Lynda La Plante's new series about a female criminal, six million pounds in diamonds and a dram to start life afresh).

The familiar programs include BlackAdder, Absolutely Fabulous, George and Mildred, EastEnders, The Bill, Minder, Rumpole of the Bailey, Open All Hours, To The Manor Born, The Morecambe and Wise Show and Bramwell.

Mini-series and specials include The Chamomile Lawn, Brideshead Revisited, Jack The Ripper, Les Miserables, A Very British Coup, Yes Minister and I Claudius.

UK-TV is one of six channels being offered on Austar for an additional cost each month.

The package also includes C7 Sports (covering AFL), ESPN (international sports service), Fox 8 (general entertainment), fx/fxm (movies and tv shows), Hallmark (made for television movies).

The deluxe package will be available to subscribers for 30 days, free of charge on a trial basis.

 
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