I got up this morning to find another excellent message from my friend in Japan, Philip McLean. Philip posed a question: Ever heard of Rediffusion's Starview, Britain's first cable TV channel? I had heard of Rediffusion but was not aware of their cable channel in England. Philip explained, 'It ran from 1981 to 1984 (before and during the emergence of rental video) but was available in only 5 towns throughout England, as a trial service I guess. They (Rediffusion) used to publish booklets for each month displaying the films they were going to broadcast, which you'd pick up at their shop in town. I first saw Escape from Alcatraz and Bronco Billy here, and I think it was their British TV début. Escape from Alcatraz was shown in April 1982 and Bronco Billy in February 1983.'
Excellent information Philip, I had a look on the internet this morning and also found this:
The Home Office had granted several experimental licenses to broadcast subscription television services, of which Rediffusion received licenses for five areas, Burnley, Hull, Pontypridd, Reading and Tunbridge Wells. Starview was the first of these services launch on 9 September 1981. Its schedules were mostly made up of feature films, initially with two films per evening and additional screenings at the weekends. Other early UK cable services started around the same time were Showcable (Visionhire/BBC Enterprises), SelecTV and Cinematel (Radio Rentals/Thorn EMI).
Philip provided these fantastic images from Rediffusion's monthly magazine. If it wasn't for people like Philip, these rare ads would have disappeared into obscurity, we really appreciate it Philip and thank you for sharing them.