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BBC World Service Television

BBC World Service Television
Ident featuring the BBC One COW globe
Launched 11 March 1991[1]
Closed 16 January 1995
Owned by BBC
Picture format 4:3
Country UK
Broadcast area Worldwide
Replaced BBC TV Europe
Replaced by BBC World
BBC Prime

BBC World Service Television, often abbreviated to WSTV (World Service Television), was the name given to two of the BBC's international satellite television channels between 1991 and 1995. It was the BBC's first foray into worldwide television broadcasting. In Europe, it was the successor to BBC TV Europe, replacing it on 11 March 1991.[1] The service was also launched in Asia as a 24-hour news and information service with minor differences, a precursor to BBC World News, launched on 14 October 1991.[1]

Unlike BBC World Service, it was not funded by the British government with a grant-in-aid; instead, it was funded by commercial advertising.[1] Commercials were inserted locally by the cable or satellite providers. In the years that followed, the BBC would insert news headlines and other updates to fill the gaps, known as the break fillers.


  • Availability 1
    • Europe 1.1
    • Outside Europe 1.2
  • Presentation 2
  • Rebranding and reorganisation 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6



In Europe, BBC WSTV replaced BBC TV Europe on 11 March 1991 as the BBC's subscription-funded entertainment service.[1] Like BBC TV Europe, it was a mix of BBC1 and BBC2, but showed specially commissioned World Service News bulletins in place of the BBC's domestic ones (with the exception of the BBC Six O'Clock News, which was referred to in presentation as News from London). The BBC World Service News studio looked like the BBC's domestic news, though with different graphics and on-screen logo. The station also broadcast its own Children's BBC junctions from Presentation Studio A.

Outside Europe

Outside Europe, BBC WSTV was the name of the 24-hour news, information and current affairs service, launched in Asia on 14 October 1991, on STAR TV, available from Turkey to South Korea on AsiaSat.[1] Competing against CNN International, it showed current affairs and documentary programming from BBC One and BBC Two, in addition to BBC World Service News; the BBC's entertainment programming was aired on the STAR TV's flagship channel STAR Plus.

Following the acquisition of STAR TV by Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corporation, BBC World Service Television was removed from the satellite beam that broadcast into Hong Kong in July 1993,[2] although it could still be received in the rest of Asia, particularly India. [3]

Some WSTV programming was also carried in Africa on M-Net (launched in April 1992[1]), and in Canada on CBC Newsworld. The channel also began to experiment with programming as on 4 May 1992, the BBC began to broadcast programmes in other languages on the network.[1]


The channel from 1991 until c.1994 used the presentation device of a rotating world: the Computer Originated World, which had previously been used on BBC One between 1985 and 1991. The world symbol remained the same, but the legend at the bottom was altered to a BBC logo with an italic 'World Service' beneath. Promotional style and static programme captions mirrored that of BBC1 and 2 at the time and featured the globe symbol above a small BBC logo in the top left corner of promotions and on captions. The sidebar of captions featured a vague wispy line style, similar to that used by WSTV bulletins.[4] The channel also used a break bumper featuring the globe, and a promo bumper featuring the COW globe split into lines to the side and bottom.[5]

Around the time of the relaunch, BBC WSTV adopted a variation of the flag look later to be used by BBC World, which only featured a BBC logo.[6][7]

The channel had a permanent DOG of the BBC logo in the top right corner of the screen.[6]

Rebranding and reorganisation

On Thursday, 26 January 1995 at 19:00 GMT, BBC World Service Television was split into two new channels:

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Cain, John (1992). The BBC: 70 years of broadcasting. London: British Broadcasting Corporation. pp. 142, 143 and 151.  
  2. ^ Page, Bruce (24 August 2003). "Murdoch and China". Observer. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  3. ^ "BBC World Service India Rising". BBC India. 2007-02-07. Retrieved 2014-02-26. 
  4. ^ "BBC World Service TV 1992". YouTube. Retrieved 18 September 2011.  YouTube video of BBC WSTV continuity including idents, captions and promotions.
  5. ^ "BBC World Service Television". Intertel. Transdiffusion Broadcasting System. Retrieved 18 September 2011.  Contains images and video clips of News, Weather and break and promo bumpers.
  6. ^ a b Walker, Hayden. "BBC World 1991". TVARK. Retrieved 18 September 2011.  Contains news clips from the channel, and an ident used on BBC WSTV.
  7. ^ "BBC World". TV World. Retrieved 18 September 2011.  Contains images and previously video of BBC WSTV continuity.
  8. ^ "BBC World 1995". TVARK. Retrieved 18 September 2011.  Contains video of pre-launch caption, and of the simultaneous launch of BBC World and BBC Prime.

External links

  • BBC World Service Television idents at Transdiffusion
  • BBC World Service Television idents including past BBC World at TV World - Videos are no longer available
  • TVARK BBC World Service Television
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