I’m a huge fan of the West Wing and, along with many others, have been really let down by the way Channel 4 has shown it here in the UK. To begin with, West Wing was a flagship show, in a good slot of C4, but it didn’t get the audiences C4 had hoped for. They changed strategy and used it as a way to get people to buy E4, C4’s digital channel by showing the new series on E4 six months to a year before it appeared on C4. I went for that strategy and bought an ITV Digital box in order to see the new (2nd, at that point) series of West Wing. Then ITV Digital went bust and Freeview, which the service became, didn’t include E4 in its offering. At this point I got fed up and decided to wait until the series were out on DVD or reached C4 (the cheapest way to get E4 was £15 a month and that seemed a little steep for one show).
Now, though, it’s got absurd. E4 is currently showing series 5, while series 4 has not yet reached terrestrial TV. This has completely removed any reason to get E4, since there’s no way to catch up. C4 is about to start showing series 4 of West Wing in an early Friday evening slot, sure to get poor ratings (it’s too early for most of us and against one of the country’s most popular soaps). Also, series 4 is due out on DVD at the end of this month. I have it on preorder, since the announcement about the DVD came out before the announcement about the terrestrial showings. So, I’ll be watching it at my leisure, and keeping away from E4 for the foreseeable future.