Logo used since 2018
CountryUnited Kingdom
Broadcast areaUnited Kingdom and Ireland
Picture format1080i HDTV
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
Timeshift serviceE4 +1
OwnerChannel Four Television Corporation
Sister channels
Launched18 January 2001; 23 years ago (18 January 2001)
See separate section

E4 is a British free-to-air public broadcast television channel owned and operated by Channel Four Television Corporation. The "E" stands for entertainment and the channel is primarily aimed at the 16/18–34 age group (similar to BBC Three, ITV2, 5Star, Sky Max, Sky Comedy, Comedy Central and Dave).

Programmes currently shown on the channel include Hollyoaks,[1] Made in Chelsea,[2] Coach Trip (and its Halloween spin-off Celebrity Ghost Trip),[3] Celebs Go Dating[4] and various versions of Married At First Sight.[5] The most successful broadcast of the channel to date was on 11 October 2010 when an episode of The Inbetweeners received over 3.7 million viewers.[6]


E4 was announced in 1999, when Channel 4 announced a £100 million deal to acquire the first run pay TV rights to popular American series Friends and ER from Sky One.[7] Rights to both shows were originally owned by Channel 4 upon their 1995 UK debuts, but became shared with Sky a year later.

E4's first logo used from 2001 to 2018

E4 launched as a pay television companion to Channel 4 on 18 January 2001, with Friends and ER leading the first night, alongside the premiere of Banzai. The first evening of programmes was fronted by Ali G.

On 16 December 2004, Channel 4 announced that the subscription channel would become a free-to-air television channel by launching on the digital terrestrial television system. The switch took place on 27 May 2005 to coincide with the launch of Big Brother 6 later that evening.[8]

E4 launched an Ireland service in June 2002, which has become the second most popular non-terrestrial channel in Ireland with 1.1% of the audience; Sky Max is the most popular.[9] On 14 July 2003, E4 launched a timeshift service, E4 +1. E4 +1 is a 1-hour timeshift.[10]

In August 2005, following the close of that year's Big Brother, E4 introduced the E4 Music programming block. The slot initially ran through much of the morning/daytime schedule, though was later reduced to mornings only, with the amount of scripted comedy and drama screened in daytime increased. Prior to the launch of E4 Music, E4 was off-air during daytime for much of the year, only going on air in daytime for rolling coverage of reality series such as Big Brother. In 2008, the launch of 4Music as a channel led to questions being asked about the future of E4 Music. However, E4 retained its commitment to music content, stating that E4 Music had been commissioned to run until at least the start of Big Brother in 2009.[11] At 10 am on Thursday 4 June 2009, the day before the launch of the 2009 Big Brother series, E4 Music ceased broadcasting.

In July 2007, it was announced Channel 4 would be launching E4 Radio, the first of a network of channels to be broadcast on DAB radio. The station was planned for launch in July 2008 and aimed at a similar demographic to its television channel,[12] however this launch date was later delayed. In October 2008, Channel 4 announced it was abandoning its plans for digital radio, and thus scrapping the E4 Radio proposal.

On 14 December 2009, a high-definition simulcast of E4 launched on Sky+ HD channel 215, it was later added to Virgin Media on 1 April 2010.[13][14] On 31 October 2013, E4 premiered a refreshed look as part of the channel's rebranding. This coincided with the debut of the seventh series of The Big Bang Theory, as well as the debut of original comedy Drifters.[15]

On 27 September 2018, E4 was rebranded with a logo and identity, marking the first major rebrand since its launch in 2001.[16] On 14 January 2019, it was announced that Channel 4 had partnered up with the American programming block Adult Swim, to air Adult Swim shows.[17]

On 25 September 2021, transmission of channels operated by Channel 4 was impacted by the activation of a fire suppressant system at the premises of Red Bee Media.[18] This resulted in music channel The Box being simulcast on Freeview in the place of 4Music (a channel known for repeating comedy and reality shows previously shown on E4) and E4+1 remaining off air for a number of days.[19] E4+1 came back on air on 30 September 2021, in time for the series 6 finale of Married At First Sight to be broadcast. However the ongoing technical problems prevented this episode being shown, with a repeat of the previous episode being broadcast instead. The final episode was rescheduled for 1 October 2021 at 9pm on E4, taking over the Friday night film slot, with Married at First Sight: Afters scheduled for 10pm.[20][21]

On 13 June 2022, it was announced that a new sister network – E4 Extra, would launch on 29 June in the slot accompanied by 4Music.[22] E4 Extra is dedicated to comedy programming, with already existing comedy programmes such as The Big Bang Theory moving to the new channel, alongside the entertainment programming that airs on 4Music, which will move to the slot accompanied by Box Hits and transition back to a full-time music channel.[23]







Main article: List of programmes broadcast by E4

When E4 launched in 2001, its flagship programmes were the sitcom Friends and medical drama series ER. Other launch programmes included new teen drama As If and various other popular and acclaimed US dramas such as The Sopranos and The West Wing. The Adam and Joe Show moved from Channel 4 to E4, and the pair also presented a revival of their original show, Takeover TV. A few months after the channel's launch, E4 launched Big Brother's Little Brother - a spin-off from the reality show Big Brother (which ran on Channel 4 from 2000 to 2010, and is now broadcast on ITV) which proved successful for the channel. The channel also dedicated whole nights early in its history to marathons of certain programmes, such as Spaced and Brass Eye.

As of 2023, most comedy and drama had been moved (or, in the case of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, had come to an end) with weekday evening slots being given over increasingly to reality and unscripted programming – a mixture of original series (such as Teen Mum Academy and the 2022 revival of Embarrassing Bodies), first-run imports such as the Below Deck franchise, and repeated Channel 4 series, with Naked Attraction and Gogglebox in particular being especially prominent in primetime. Sitcom reruns (and some first-run imports, such as The Neighborhood) by now chiefly aired on E4 in daytime and on E4 Extra in the evening.

The channel has also moved many of its acquired US shows such as Harley Quinn, Batwoman, The Goldbergs and Duncanville[24] out of peak and put them in a daytime or a late night slot to continue their seasons. In their place, the channel has decided to strip a number of reality and dating series, with the channel's flagship programme being Married At First Sight UK,[25] which has brought in audiences of around 2 million people each night to the channel, having moved from the flagship Channel 4. Married At First Sight UK is part of a franchise which also includes the imported Married at First Sight Australia and spin-off Married at First Sight UK: Afters with AJ Odudu.[26]

Even though E4 has decided to move a lot of its acquired US programmes to overnight slots, there are some notable exceptions, with Rick and Morty heavily promoted and shown in primetime, whilst repeats of The Big Bang Theory and new episodes of spin-off Young Sheldon are also shown in peak slots,[27] while repeats of shows such as Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Modern Family fill up the daytime schedule.[28][29]

In November 2021, Channel Four Television Corp. revived GamesMaster after 23 years, with Sir Trevor McDonald taking on the title role from the original "Games Master", Sir Patrick Moore.[30][31] It also revealed that another one of its former primetime imports, The 100, will end its run by having the final season put out by E4 each night around 3:25am from Saturday 27 November 2021.[32] This came about after the initial plan to play the final season on 4Music – as had been promoted in on-air trails in the weeks prior – was scrapped when the Red Bee incident disrupted transmission of programming on 4Music for over a month.

After hosting repeats of the weekly Channel 4 satire panel show 8 Out of 10 Cats with Jimmy Carr, Sean Lock and Jon Richardson for many years, the production was adapted to become a title which debuted new episodes on E4 in 2017 (as the parent channel focused on its spin-off ...Cats Does Countdown).[33] The version on E4 dispensed with the topical news questioning of later Channel 4 series and went back to being a show about random statistics and opinion polls, with Jimmy Carr continuing as host, alongside Rob Beckett and Aisling Bea as the team captains (replacing Lock and Richardson, who continued with the spin-off).[34] As of 2022, titles such as The Inbetweeners still get repeated in a regular peaktime slot, alongside repeats of Channel 4's Taskmaster.[35][36]

Most watched programmes

The following is a list of the ten most watched shows on E4, based on Live +7 data supplied by BARB up to 11 November 2018.[6] The number of viewers does not include repeats or airings on E4+1.

Rank Series Episode Viewers Date
1 The Inbetweeners 3.05 – "Home Alone" 3,721,000 11 October 2010
2 3.06 – "The Camping Trip" 3,704,000 18 October 2010
3 3.04 – "The Trip to Warwick" 3,619,000 4 October 2010
4 3.03 – "Will's Dilemma" 3,572,000 27 September 2010
5 3.01 – "The Fashion Show" 3,456,000 13 September 2010
6 3.02 – "The Gig and the Girlfriend" 3,336,000 20 September 2010
7 The Big Bang Theory 6.01 – "The Date Night Variable" 2,803,000 15 November 2012
8 9.05 – "The Perspiration Implementation" 2,728,000 26 November 2015
9 9.12 – "The Sales Call Sublimination" 2,688,000 24 March 2016
10 12.04 – "The Tam Turbulence" 2,661,500 8 November 2018

Big Brother coverage

Between 2001 and 2010 when the reality series Big Brother (and Celebrity Big Brother) were being transmitted on Channel 4, E4 devoted much of its schedule to live coverage from inside the Big Brother house; interactive features that gave access to additional camera angles have also been transmitted.[37] The channel also had Big Brother voting options, Big Brother spin-off shows such as Big Brother Live, Big Brother's Little Brother, Big Brother's Big Mouth, Diary Room Uncut and Big Brother highlights repeats.[38] In June 2020, to mark the 20th anniversary of Big Brother's inception, E4 aired select episodes from both the civilian and celebrity programmes, in a series titled Big Brother: Best Shows Ever. Hosted by Davina McCall and Rylan Clark-Neal, the first episode of the series received one million viewers.[39]

In 2022, as part of its season of Australian reality shows, E4 showed the 2021 series of Big Brother VIP on the channel under the name Celebrity Big Brother Australia.[40] Launching on Sunday 6 February 2022 at 8pm[41] and then scheduled every weekday at 7:30pm,[42][43][44][45] the programme lasted for four episodes on the channel, before it was taken off mid-series and replaced by a number of 'best of' compilations taken from Junior Bake Off.[46][47][48]

E4 Extra

Main article: E4 Extra

In June 2022, Channel 4 announced that their music and entertainment channel 4Music's current channel slots would be replaced by a spinoff channel called E4 Extra on 29 June 2022,[49][50][51] with 4Music taking Box Hits' slots on Freesat and Sky.[52] With the change, E4 Extra will take entertainment shows like The Big Bang Theory, The Inbetweeners and Derry Girls and will add unscripted reality shows like Legendary, Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, Ninja Warrior Japan and Undercover Boss USA, while 4Music will go back to being a music channel.

See also


  1. ^ Alexander, Susannah. "Hollyoaks confirms schedule shake-up – here's when you can watch it this week". Digital Spy. (Hearst Magazines UK). Retrieved 27 October 2021.
  2. ^ "Made in Chelsea Season 22".
  3. ^ "Celebrity Ghost Trip Season 1". Archived from the original on 24 October 2021. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  4. ^ "Celebs Go Dating to return to E4 in 2022". Channel 4. Retrieved 29 October 2021.
  5. ^ "Married at First Sight: Week 3 | 7-Day Ratings (E4)". 27 September 2021.
  6. ^ a b BARB, via [1]
  7. ^ "BBC News | ENTERTAINMENT | Channel 4's £100m Friends deal". BBC News. 16 December 1999. Retrieved 10 November 2023.
  8. ^ "Freeview now A".
  9. ^ "Channel Share". Archived from the original on 3 October 2006. Retrieved 17 August 2006.
  10. ^ "E4 +1 launch, on 14 July 2003". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 22 August 2021. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  11. ^ "Q&A: Neil McCallum, Head of 4Music". Digital Spy. 12 August 2008. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  12. ^ "BBC NEWS – Business – E4 Radio to be first new network". BBC. 6 July 2007. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  13. ^ "High Definition Gloriousness". E4. Archived from the original on 13 December 2009. Retrieved 7 December 2009.
  14. ^ "E4 HD to launch on Sky". British Sky Broadcasting. 9 December 2009. Archived from the original on 13 December 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
  15. ^ Alex Fletcher (30 October 2013). "E4 gets first channel refresh in 6 years: First ident pictures, videos". Digital Spy.
  16. ^ "Channel 4 airs 'eclectic, unpredictable' rebrand across all of its channels". The Drum. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  17. ^ "Rick and Morty comes to E4 for the first time this evening". JOE.CO.UK. 15 February 2019. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  18. ^ Televisual.com, 2021-09-27
  19. ^ "Sustaining service for Box Plus Network". 27 September 2021.
  20. ^ "Married at First Sight UK confirms final episode air date". Digital Spy. October 2021.
  21. ^ "E4 sorry for broadcasting wrong Married At First Sight episode". BBC News. October 2021. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  22. ^ "E4 Brand extension sees 4Music become E4 Extra | Channel 4". www.channel4.com. Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  23. ^ "E4 Extra takes 4Music slot in major reshuffle". RXTV info. 13 June 2022. Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  24. ^ "Duncanville (TV Series)".
  25. ^ Sep 23 (12 September 2021). "7-Day Ratings Breakdown | 06-12 September 2021". Tvzoneuk.com. Retrieved 27 November 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  26. ^ "Married at First Sight UK: Afters – All 4".
  27. ^ "TV listings guide". 18 January 2024.
  28. ^ "Mike & Molly Season 2".
  29. ^ "TV listings guide". 18 January 2024.
  30. ^ "The hosts talk 'GamesMaster' revival: "Sir Trevor McDonald is not being sassy on Twitch, is he?"". NME. 24 November 2021.
  31. ^ "Get me that golden joystick! The miraculous return of GamesMaster". TheGuardian.com. 24 November 2021.
  32. ^ "E4 Sets UK Premiere Date for 'The 100' Season 7". 14 November 2021.
  33. ^ "8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown – All 4".
  34. ^ "8 Out of 10 Cats – All 4".
  35. ^ "The Inbetweeners (TV Series)".
  36. ^ "The Inbetweeners Season 1".
  37. ^ "Big Brother proves bore on E4". The Guardian. 4 June 2003. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  38. ^ "Channel 4 to Launch E4 on Freeview". Channel 4. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  39. ^ "Four-screen dashboard". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  40. ^ "Celebrity Big Brother Australia 2021 cast: Meet the line-up".
  41. ^ Radio Times 5–11 February 2022, E4 listings for Sunday 6 February 2022 on page 61
  42. ^ "Celebrity Big Brother Australia – All 4".
  43. ^ "Celebrity Big Brother Australia launches on E4 with a Manchester-based celeb". 25 January 2022.
  44. ^ Radio Times 5–11 February 2022, E4 listings for weekdays at 7:30pm, various pages
  45. ^ Radio Times 12–18 February 2022, E4 listings for weekdays at 7:30pm, various pages
  46. ^ "Big Brother VIP Australia dropped by E4 mid-series".
  47. ^ "Junior Bake off Season 2019".
  48. ^ "TV listings guide". 18 January 2024.
  49. ^ "4 Music moves for E4 Extra". 13 June 2022.
  50. ^ "E4 Extra takes 4Music slot in major reshuffle". 13 June 2022.
  51. ^ "Channel 4 Launching New Freeview / Freesat Channel: E4 Extra". 13 June 2022.
  52. ^ "E4 Brand extension sees 4Music become E4 Extra | Channel 4".

Further reading