Great Britain: The Wonderful Years1

It is not possible to discuss British animation2 from the 1990s onwards without talking about Channel 4.

Channel 4 was created in 1981 as a public utility by an Act of Parliament. Its purpose was to be an alternative to BBC and ITV, and it started broadcasting on 2 November 1982. Unlike the public utility that was the BBC, Channel 4 – though public – didn’t receive any public funding. All of its programs were financed by its commercial activities, including advertising.3

British animation peaked at the end of the 1980s. From 1989 to 1996 it was dominated by short films that vied for the Oscar category,4 mostly commissioned by Channel 4. It was extraordinary that a television channel – an entity usually ...

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