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Monthly column on the arts

The launch of the new TV channel BBC4 has been cautiously welcomed.

David Porter

Some see it as a move to shift the good stuff off terrestrial TV on to satellite and cable. Certainly this cable-less, satellite-deprived columnist wasn't happy on launch night when BBC4 paraded its goodies on BBC2. The gloom-sayers speculate that BBC2 is going down-market in search of a wider audience, in a licence-fee-driven recruitment campaign. Channel 4's film channel doesn't compete as such with Channel 4, and BBC Choice was never advertised as 'a place to think' - but that's how BBC4 is being promoted. Pardon me, but some of us have cherished BBC2 for years as a place to think (with occasional thoughtless lapses), and are pessimistic about the future.