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The Television Will Be Revolutionised

Channel 4 and the 1982 Workshop Declaration

The Television Will Be Revolutionised

A season of oppositional films from Channel 4’s first decade: a radical, game-changing era that opened doors for diverse voices in cinemas and on British television.

Channel 4 began life in 1981 with a remit to provide innovative broadcasting, and to challenge the mainstream BBC/ITV duopoly. Under the1982 Workshop Declaration, the Channel agreed to fund and screen films from the ‘alternative’ film and video collectives – known as workshops.

Working closely with trade unions, Labour local authorities, political groups, women’s organisations and ethnic minority communities, by 1988, some 44 workshops had had films funded and screened by Channel 4.

So began a decade of experiment with politically progressive and aesthetically avant-garde documentaries and dramas screened on British television, which continued until 1990. The gateways had been opened to film-makers from diverse and regional backgrounds, and new voices found greater opportunities to share their stories.


Part of The Art of Change

Our 2018 season explores how the arts respond to, reflect and potentially effect change in the social and political landscape.