Big Centre TV

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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)
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Broadcast area
Headquarters The Goldmine Centre, Walsall
Freeview Channel 7
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 launched at 6pm on Saturday 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.


Kaleidoscope TV Limited 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 licence, initially known as Kaleidoscope TV, was given an Ofcom deadline of Saturday 28 February 2015 to launch Kaleidoscope TV to bring local television to Birmingham, the Black Country and Solihull from 2015, Initially, Big Centre TV was jointly launched by Chris Perry and former ATV announcer and television executive Mike Prince, the station's director of programming. Prince also serves as the station's chairman.

Big Centre TV's studios at the Goldmine Centre in Walsall are located alongside the town's studio school, where students are able to gain work experience with the channel as part of their studies.[4]

In April 2015, the station announced that Canadian media company Trek 2000 had invested in Big Centre TV.[5]


The station launched at 6pm 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 local news programme The Midland, a 1981 episode of Crossroads, and coverage of an ice hockey league match. These were aired alongside two of the station's feature programmes, Life Stories and Project M'

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".[6] Responding to the criticism, then-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.[6]


Big Centre TV is required to produce 41 hours a week of first-run local programming, including news, sport, features, entertainment and children's output.[7][2]

The station's regional news programme, Big News, airs five news programmes on weekdays, alongside shorter updates and a review programme at weekends.[8] Sports coverage includes regular feature shows on football and ice hockey teams and weekly programmes Extra Time and Midland Sports Scrapbook.[8][9] The station's head of news is former ITV Central journalist Bob Hall, who hosts the daytime editions of The Midland.[9]

Local feature programming includes Doorstep History,"News2gamers", Amp'd and Life Stories, alongside a daily pre-school children's strand, The Bostin' Bear Club. Big Centre TV's music output includes new music showcases Under the Radar and Reverb Live and the Asian programme Music Box.

Archive programming

During its first six months on air, Big Centre TV also aired a selection of archive programming from the Kaleidoscope archive, including the children's television series Ivor the Engine and Terrahawks, Jack Hargreaves' rural documentary series Out of Town, and the surviving episodes of Midlands-based soap opera Crossroads.[8][9] The station also produced a number of nostalgia-based entertainment shows including The David Hamilton Show, The Ads Show, Crossroads Check-In, Tiswas Rides Again and The Long Lost Shows Show.

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.[10] The station discontinued Crossroads repeats in September 2015 and latterly phased out Kaleidoscope archive output. New Original local content, and general interest TV series now air on the channel.


  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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Kaleidoscope – the men who found our 'lost' TV archives". BBC News. BBC. 7 September 2015. Retrieved 8 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Laws, Roz (28 February 2015). "Big Centre TV: Rushed, repetitive and not exactly gripping". Birmingham Mail. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 1 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Walsall Studio School – Big Centre TV
  5. Knight, Dominic (29 April 2015). "International investment for West Midlands TV channel Big Centre TV". ATV Today. Retrieved 3 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 "New West Midlands TV channel experiencing 'learning curve', argues boss". Express & Star. Midland News Association. 5 March 2015. Retrieved 8 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Big Centre TV set to go live in Black Country, Express & Star, 21 February 2015
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "Birmingham local channel Big Centre TV launches". BBC News. BBC. 28 February 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links