S4C

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S4C

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S4C (Welsh: Sianel Pedwar Cymru, meaning Channel Four Wales) is a television channel in Wales. Two versions of the channel exist: on analogue television, the channel is bilingual (Welsh and English), with most English language programming being rebroadcast from Channel 4 (analogue reception of which is unavailable to the vast majority of Wales); on digital television (via which Welsh viewers can also receive Channel 4), S4C provides an entirely Welsh language service known as S4C Digidol (S4C Digital).

S4C's remit is to provide a service which is in the Welsh language in peak viewing hours. S4C does not produce programmes of its own; instead, it commissions programmes in Welsh from the BBC and independent producers (although the quantity purchased from ITV Wales has greatly reduced since the early years of S4C), and it has particularly developed a reputation for commissioning cartoons, such as SuperTed, Sam Tân (which became Fireman Sam in its English version on the BBC) and Shakespeare: The Animated Tales. BBC Wales fulfills its public service requirement by producing programmes in Welsh, including Newyddion, S4C's news bulletin, and a soap opera, Pobol y Cwm, and providing them to S4C free of charge. It has also provided (or licensed) Welsh language versions of English language programmes eg: The Tweenies. In non-peak hours on analogue, S4C shows programmes produced for Channel 4 in the rest of the UK (usually a few days later).

To make them more accessible to English speakers, all Welsh language programming carry English subtitles on Teletext page 888 (sometimes marketed as transl888), with Welsh subtitles on page 889. Both subtitle languages are also available on digital television platforms.

For speakers of English who are learning Welsh, certain programmes, particularly those during the Dysgu am 12 slot, Planed Plant Bach and Planed Plant carry subtitles on page 889 of teletext, featuring Welsh subtitles with additional English translations in brackets next to more advanced welsh language words.

TV movies produced for S4C have received some good foreign reviews — Hedd Wyn being nominated for the Best Foreign Language Oscar in 1993 and Solomon & Gaenor being nominated in 1999.

Those who have no interest in Welsh-language TV have been known to point their aerials at the nearest English transmitters to avoid S4C, as well as BBC Wales and HTV Wales. However it is true that this practice dates back before the start of S4C in 1982, when Welsh-language programming was included on BBC1 and HTV Wales. S4C sports programme Sgorio has been known to reverse this practice, with English football fans watching S4C as the only British terrestrial broadcaster of Spanish and German league football.

The S4C signal also spills over into southeast Ireland, where it is retransmitted on UHF terrestrial signals by so-called 'deflectors', although those who watch it largely do so because Channel 4 isn't available via cable or MMDS in rural areas.

On analogue and digital satellite, S4C runs its own teletext service, Sbectel ("Sbec" being both Welsh for "a peek" or "a glimpse", and a reference to an S4C schedule insert formerly included in the TV Times issues for the ITV Wales region. "Sbectols" is also colloquial Welsh for "spectacles").


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