Forces TV was due to lose its current Freeview slot at the end of the month. But operator BFBS has now confirmed Forces TV is closing completely.
Forces TV will close on 30th June 2022. Forces news and features will move to the Forces News digital platform. Its operator, the charity BFBS, says the closure will allow it to focus its resources on delivering services to its target audience, the military community.
The TV channel became known for its cult TV classics from the 1970s and 80s. Recent highlights have included re-runs of CHiPS and Blake’s 7, plus comedy series includingWatching and The Brittas Empire. Forces TV is also currently showing Classic Doctor Who episodes.
But Forces TV was originally launched as a military-themed factual channel.
It first arrived on Freeview in 2017, three years after launching on Sky, Freesat and Virgin Media. Its early days were dominated by military themed documentaries and series. Later on, its primetime schedule was given over to acquired classic TV programmes. Initially, these too had a loose military theme, before Forces TV opened up its schedule to include a broad range of older dramas and comedies. Some of these had not been seen on free-to-air TV for decades. Despite the changes, a half-hour Forces News bulletin remained in the schedule.
While the shift in content opened up the channel to new audiences, it did take BFBS away from its main mission of delivering TV, radio and streaming services to users in the UK armed forces and their families.
We are very sad to go but, as a military charity and media organisation, we’re focusing our resources on our core mission: to entertain, inform, connect and champion our UK armed forces, families and veterans.
Forces TV closure date triggered by Freeview changes
At the end of June, the licence to run the UK’s seventh national Freeview multiplex expires. Its frequency is being reused for 5G services. At this point, all channels on the multiplex have the choice to move or close. Forces TV was one of the channels affected.
As of midday, 15th June 2022, it’s been confirmed BBC News HD, Forces TV and PBS America+1 are closing. Unlike Forces TV and PBS America+1, BBC News HD will continue on Sky, Freesat and Virgin Media.
Aidan Smith, editor, RXTV