|Launched||May 2003: David Wainwright, Hi2 Limited|
|Closed||6 January 2010|
|Owned by||Hi2 Limited|
|Audience share||N/A (Jan '06, )|
Friendly TV was a British television station, owned by Hi2 Limited. Much of the channel's output was made up of interactive programmes and games which allowed user participation by phone or mobile phone using SMS messaging.
The channel was launched in 2003 on Sky Digital channel 268 and received immediate criticism for its poor content. Program content was devoted to an internet-based game called Brainbox, or a lengthy computer games show called GamerWeb contrary to the station's EPG. The content producers of FriendlyTV included, Stevie Kennedy and David Wainwright. Wainwright was also the business development director of Gamerweb.
Shortly after the channel was launched it ran a number of wrestling shows including Irish Whip Wrestling, Frontier Wrestling Alliance, and Pro Wrestling Noah. These were pilots for the TV station which was launched as The Wrestling Channel and later became The Fight Network.
The channel broadcast onto a number of Sky channels and was responsible for programmes such as Bikini Beach, Cash House, Stash the Cash, Vegas 247 and Live Roulette.
The channel closed on 6 January 2010, when the EPG slot was sold to the adult channel, Dirty Talk.
Nicole Kidman incident
This incident which made Friendly TV infamous occurred in May 2003 when former QVC presenter Paul Lavers and his co-presenter, Karen Witchalls were fronting the morning show. The show mainly consisted of items based on that day's newspapers. The show ran a text poll with a Nicole Kidman related question.
The channel did not show adverts at this time even though they still had breaks, which consisted of the studio camera zooming in to a television screen in the studio that was displaying details of the poll (notably excluding the cost of the text message), which means it appears they couldn't put the graphics directly to air. Instead of turning the presenter's microphones down during the break, everything the presenters and the studio crew said was clearly audible, including the unfounded rumour that Kidman was gay. The presenters apologised when they learned that this had been accidentally broadcast.
Broadcasts contained content that was vapid and gratuitous - an example of which can be experienced on YouTube. Here, Stevie Kennedy interviews a wrestler on a show titled Backyard Wrestling.
Ofcom Content Sanctions Committee
Eventually, in February 2010, an Ofcom Sanctions Committee ruled against Friendly TV and related broadcasters, concluding that 'serious and repeated breaches' had been committed.. David Wainwright attended the hearing as the representative of the broadcasters.
To quote directly from the judgment of the Ofcom Sanctions Committee,
'All editorial compliance decisions regarding the companies are taken by a centralised compliance team headed by the same individual, Mr David Wainwright.
1.2 Friendly TV and Bedroom TV provide daytime chat and (post watershed) adult sex chat telephone services with little or no editorial context. Their programmes encourage viewers to call a premium rate service ("PRS") telephone number and talk to an onscreen presenter. Viewers can see female presenters engaged in conversation but cannot hear what is being said as music is played over the images. At certain intervals the presenters switch on a microphone and speak directly to viewers to encourage them to call the PRS number'.
In his capacity as Managing Director and Head of Compliance of the broadcasters, Wainwright made oral submissions to the Committee and the Committee then put questions to him. The Committee concluded that the breaches were serious making specific reference to, 'explicit and graphic sex material broadcast without access restrictions after the 21:00 watershed. In accordance with Ofcom‟s statutory duty to protect the under-eighteens'.
- "Snapshot of content and producers".
- "Archive website of Gamerweb".
- Video of the incident, includes clip from later in the week referring to the incident.
- Lewis Smith, Victor. "Reality behind naff TV". MGN ltd., The Free Library. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
- Wrestling Channel makes pilot launch
- "Ruling of Ofcom Content Sanctions Committee" (PDF).