This title considers aspects of the legacy that makes Film4 synonymous with a rejuvenated national cinema.
When Channel 4 was launched in 1982 its policy of commissioning new feature films for television broadcast and selective cinema release marked a shift in British film culture.
Widely credited with revitalising a moribund UK film industry, the initiative represented a new intervention on the part of a public service broadcaster and, in turn, redefined the place of film on television with landmark strands from Film on Four to The Eleventh Hour.
Channel 4 withstood early criticism from some industry voices and controversy aroused by its broadcast film provision; in 1987 its contribution to European cinema was recognised in the accolade of the Roberto Rosselini award at the Cannes film festival.
Since then the international box office successes of many Film4 titles (from My Beautiful Laundrette and The Crying Game to Four Weddings and Funeral and Slumdog Millionaire), have made Film4 synonymous with a rejuvenated national cinema and established television as a vital cornerstone of government film policy. This special issue investigates aspects of that legacy, casting a critical eye upon received wisdom, and drawing on new archival and interview material to offer a revisionist history of the broadcaster's rich and diverse contributions to British film culture.
It is indispensible to anyone with an interest in British film over the past 30 years.