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Big Centre TV

Big Centre TV
Launched 28 February 2015 (2015-02-28)
Owned by Kaleidoscope TV Limited
Picture format 576i (16:9 SDTV)
Audience share Local TV Macro Network:[Note 1]
0.01% (September 2015 (2015-09), BARB)
Slogan Local Stories with a Global Reach
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Broadcast area
Headquarters The Goldmine Centre, Walsall
Website .tv.bigcentrewww
Freeview Channel 8
Virgin Media Channel 159
Streaming media
Big Centre TV Online stream (UK Only)

Big Centre TV is a local television station based in Walsall, in the United Kingdom. It serves Birmingham, the Black Country, Wolverhampton, Solihull and Walsall. The station was launched at 6 pm on 28 February 2015 on Freeview Channel 8, and is owned and operated by Kaleidoscope TV Limited in partnership with the BBC and Walsall Studio School, where the channel's headquarters are based.


  • Overview 1
    • Launch 1.1
  • Programming 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Kaleidoscope, a Midlands-based voluntary organisation specialising in television history, were granted a licence to establish a local television station in November 2014, following the collapse of City8, a proposed station centred on the Birmingham area, which went into administration after failing to secure sufficient funding.[1][2] Kaleidoscope were given ten minutes notice that their bid had been successful before an official announcement was made by the regulatory body Ofcom.[3]

The new license, initially known as Kaleidoscope TV, was given an Ofcom deadline of Saturday 28 February 2015 to launch.[4] Big Centre TV is jointly run by Kaleidoscope owner Chris Perry and former ATV announcer and television executive Mike Prince, the station's director of programming who was previously involved with the aborted City8 license.[5]

Big Centre TV's studios at the Goldmine Centre in Walsall are shared with the town's studio school, where students are able to gain work experience with the channel as part of their studies.[6]

In April 2015 it was reported that the Canadian media company Trek 2000 had invested in Big Centre TV as it sought to gain a foothold in the British television market.[7]


The station launched at 6 pm on Saturday 28 February 2015, preceded by a testcard and music, ending with the Electric Light Orchestra's "Mr. Blue Sky". Opening night programming included an hour-long introduction to the channel, a special edition of the station's news programme The Midland, a 1981 episode of Crossroads and coverage of an ice hockey league match.[3][8] These were aired alongside two of the station's feature programmes, Life Stories and Project M.[9]

The first news bulletin attracted criticism from Birmingham Mail TV critic Roz Laws, who noted that many of the reports concerned stories from several days before the channel's launch.[3] The news bulletin was also beset by technical problems, with poor sound quality and an out-of-focus studio camera. The Black Country-based Express & Star observed that the launch programme had been "more corporate video than glitz and glamour" consisting of the channel's executives "sitting in front of their computers and discussing a business plan before the station was blessed by a clergyman".[10] However, responding to the criticism, channel director Chris Perry argued that Big Centre TV's teething problems were similar to those experienced by the larger channels, and urged viewers to stay with the station.[10]


Big Centre TV is required to produce at least 41 hours a week of first-run local programming, including news, sport, features, entertainment and children's output.[11] The channel also airs at least ten hours a week of programming from Kaleidoscope's extensive archives.[2]

The station's regional news programme, The Midland, airs each evening at 5.30 pm alongside a two-hour breakfast show and two half-hour bulletins at 1 pm and 9 pm and at weekends.[12] Sports coverage includes extended highlights of bowls, wrestling, darts and boxing alongside a daily magazine show, Extra Time.[12][13] The station's head of news is former ITV Central journalist Bob Hall, who hosts the breakfast edition of The Midland.[13]

Feature programming includes Cuppa TV, Brummywood Yammywood, Land Rover Live and Life Stories, alongside bespoke children's shows such as The Bostin' Bear Club and Our House.[14] Big Centre TV's music output includes the new music showcase Soundcheck, Caribbean family show WASSIFA and the Asian programme Music Box. A short religious epilogue, Reflections, airs during daytime news programmes and the feedback show Postbag.

Alongside both in-house and independent productions, Big Centre TV also carries some programming from other local television stations around the UK. The channel also has access to an extensive archive of programming, including the children's television series Ivor the Engine, Jack Hargreaves' rural documentary series Out of Town, and the surviving episodes of Midlands-based soap opera Crossroads.[12][13]

However, as the channel went on air, plans to repeat Crossroads were at the centre of a disagreement over the amount of royalties to be paid to its former actors – Paul Henry (who played Benny Hawkins) threatened to take legal action over the issue.[15] On 30 March 2015, the Birmingham Mail reported that after the BBC sacked presenter Jeremy Clarkson from its motoring show Top Gear, Land Rover Live producer Matt Cooper offered Clarkson a role on the show.[16]


  1. ^ Audience data for Local TV channels across England, Wales & N. Ireland are measured and reported together, as "Local TV Macro Network".
  1. ^ "Birmingham local TV firm City TV in administration". BBC News. 8 August 2014. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Kaleidoscope – the men who found our 'lost' TV archives". BBC News (BBC). 7 September 2015. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c Laws, Roz (28 February 2015). "Big Centre TV: Rushed, repetitive and not exactly gripping". Birmingham Mail (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  4. ^ Kaleidoscope TV to bring local television to Birmingham, the Black Country and Solihull from 2015, Kaleidoscope Archive, 22 November 2014
  5. ^ Birmingham TV channel on course for next year switch-on, The Birmingham Press, 2 October 2013
  6. ^ Walsall Studio School – Big Centre TV
  7. ^ Knight, Dominic (29 April 2015). "International investment for West Midlands TV channel Big Centre TV". ATV Today. Retrieved 3 May 2015. 
  8. ^ Richardson, Andy (1 March 2015). "Big Centre TV gets the big thumbs down from viewers". Birmingham Mail (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 2 March 2015. 
  9. ^ "Crossroads back as new Black Country TV station launches". Express & Star (Midland News Association). 28 February 2015. Retrieved 2 March 2015. 
  10. ^ a b "New West Midlands TV channel experiencing 'learning curve', argues boss". Express & Star (Midland News Association). 5 March 2015. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  11. ^ Big Centre TV set to go live in Black Country, Express & Star, 21 February 2015
  12. ^ a b c "Birmingham local channel Big Centre TV launches". BBC News (BBC). 28 February 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  13. ^ a b c Cannon, Matt (15 February 2015). "Big Centre TV: See the shows viewers can expect from new Birmingham TV channel". Birmingham Mail (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  14. ^ Laws, Roz (25 February 2015). "Crossroads returns to Birmingham's new TV station". Birmingham Mail (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  15. ^ Lockley, Mike (28 February 2015). "Big Centre TV launch marred by Crossroads repeats row with stars, including Benny actor Paul Henry". The Sunday Mercury (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  16. ^ Lockley, Mike (30 March 2015). "Jeremy Clarkson offered motoring job on Birmingham's Big Centre TV". Birmingham Mail (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 31 March 2015. 

External links

  • Official website
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