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Granada Plus

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Granada Plus

Hilda Ogden advertises the new channel to viewers

Granada Plus was a satellite television channel owned and run by Granada Television and British Sky Broadcasting to showcase the archive holdings of Granada and its recently purchased subsidiary of London Weekend Television.

The channel launched on Tuesday 1st October 1996 and was advertised in the weeks before on ITV with a special trailer in which Jean Alexander reprised the role of Hilda Ogden as, from its first day of broadcasting, repeats of Coronation Street featured strongly in its line-up under the generic title of Classic Coronation Street (although no attempt was made to alter the title sequences of the episodes to display this title).

Although there was some advance publicity that the series would be repeated in its entirety, Granada chose to begin the repeats from near the start of the critically-acclaimed Bill Podmore era with the headline-grabbing return to the programme of Patricia Phoenix as Elsie Tanner with Episode 1588 originally shown on 5th April 1976.

Episodes were shown four times a day however on the launch day most of the programme's slots were taken up with a special programme which was advertised as containing, " a review of some previous storylines, introductions to various characters, contributions from the stars and a look to some forthcoming dramatic moments" to familiarise viewers with the programme as it was in April 1976. This programme was shown at 8.00am, 12.30pm, 6.30pm and 9.00pm before Episode 1588 was transmitted at 9.25pm (the special programme was also repeated on Saturday 5th October at 12.15pm and Sunday 6th October at 4.45pm). From 2nd October episode repeats were shown at 8.00pm, 12.30pm, 6.30pm and 9.25pm before the pattern changed in November 1996. An omnibus of the previous week's repeats was transmitted on Sunday's.

The channel also had special "theme" runs of episodes where a run of, usually, six episodes would be shown about the history of one particular character. The first of these was "The Life and Loves of Ken Barlow", transmitted on Saturday 12th October 1996 and this type of programming reached its peak on Christmas Day 1996 when the channel repeated the programme's first sixteen episodes in a continuous run from 10.00am to 6.00pm as well as various other Christmas-themed episodes.

Most of the episodes shown on the channel were edited down by a couple of minutes to accommodate extra adverts, the running times of all ITV programmes having been noticeably decreased as government restrictions on advertising durations were relaxed.

The channel changed its name to G Plus in 1999 and to Plus in 2002. Two years later, on 1st November 2004, ITV bought out Sky's 49.5% in Granada Sky Broadcasting, allowing them to take control of Granada Plus. ITV almost immediately decided to close the channel down in order to make way for ITV3 which was due to launch later that evening (due to its high place on the EPG at 119). An hour-and-a-half later, the channel was abruptly ended at 4.30pm with no prior notice given to viewers and very little given to staff (the channel ending in the middle of an episode of Pie in the Sky). Although ITV3 also carried archive programmes, Coronation Street was one of many older show's that did not transfer to the new channel. Episode 3657 (9th February 1994) was the last episode to be aired on the defunct channel.

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