NeTWork 21-the only ever london pirate tv-a space in space for a few months in 1986
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program content
(all 30mns long)
1-2-3-4-5-6
8-9-10-11-12-15
publicity material
exhibition at the Fieldgate Gallery
e-mail NeTWork21
the Centre of Attention
YouTube link
NeTWork 21 the tv – the only ever london pirate tv – a space in space – from a low power transmitter into your mind – Two decades before youtube there was NeTWork 21– .
NeTWork 21 was a pirate television station which broadcast a 30mns program on Fridays from midnight throughout April to September 1986 in London. It had never been done before, and has not been done since anywhere in the UK. The broadcasts took place on channel 21 of the UHF band, slightly below ITV, using a low powered transmitter covering 8-10 miles across London. Program content was literally hand made, shot with a Sony Video 8 camera, edited on Low Band U-Matic, and broadcast on VHS. They showed slices of London's artistic buzzing underground life as well as casual glimpses of everyday life, something which the normal television stations never showed. We would also offer slots to whoever was willing to appear on pirate TV, saying, showing or doing whatever they wanted, with no pre/post-production censorship of any kind. Because of our low tech approach, we could easily film people, situations and events with minimum disruption and maximum interaction. We were also free to choose program content and style according to our own mood, without having to worry about ratings, advertisers or good taste standards. NeTWork 21 rapidly became the toast of London during the spring and summer of 1986. London's underground scene was buzzing with sensation we had created, at times the interest by newspapers and magazines became overwhelming. We had many sympathisers, both individuals and corporate organisations, helping with donations in the form of cash, time, footage, equipment or facilities. Everyone encouraged us and wished us good luck. We did not aim to compete or take issue with the powers that be. We simply wanted to show that specialist broadcasting and programming was possible, driven by the rush to put together unique programs every week and broadcast them that week. We had correctly assessed that both cable and satellite television, at that time the only media solutions for diversity programming, would be very slow to take off. The World Wide Web did not yet exist. NeTWork 21 was also an act of love, resulting from the unique meeting of two particular individuals, and nurtured from all the passion they were capable of.