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Sky One
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Sky One

Sky One is British Sky Broadcasting's flagship entertainment channel in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.

The channel grew out of Britain's first satellite TV channel, the imaginatively-named Satellite Television Limited, launched independently in the summer of 1982 and distributed on a small number of British and European cable television systems. In 1984 the channel was bought by Rupert Murdoch's company and renamed Sky Channel. Most of the programming in these early years consisted of cheap syndicated American programming, mostly taken from 16mm film copies, which was interrupted by frequent commercials in a variety of languages.

When Murdoch expanded his satellite operation by launching Sky Television in 1989, Sky Channel was included in the package and its programming remained much the same, with a few international travel documentaries thrown in to add a small amount of variety. In mid-1989 the channel was renamed Sky One, but it was not until 1990-1 that it began to acquire more recent programming, an early success being Moonlighting, which had previously been seen on the BBC but not repeated there. Sky One also picked up some programming (and more importantly, advertisers) from its merger with BSB's Galaxy Channel. In 1993 Sky One was encrypted as part of the Sky subscription package, and could no longer be viewed outside the UK and Ireland.

With better programming came greater confidence and bigger budgets, and the channel began to rely more and more heavily on premiere screenings of US series, many of them from Murdoch's Fox Network. An early hit was The Simpsons, which has been a Sky One fixture ever since. Once the series had accumulated sufficient episodes Sky One began running as many as three episodes every day of the week, with new episodes (if any) usually airing on Sunday. Sky also acquired rights to premiere screenings of the Star Trek franchise, beginning with Season 4 of , and also premiered The X-Files in Britain along with episodes of the popular Stargate-SG1 series. More recently it has acquired the third season of 24 and Stargate: Atlantis.

In recent years Sky One has started commissioning UK-made programming such as Dream Team, a soccer-based drama series; The Strangerers (a science fiction sitcom that was dropped after one series and never repeated despite its high production values); Al Murray's sitcom Time Gentlemen Please; and Baddiel's Syndrome. Less successful was Harry Enfield's Brand Spanking New Show. It also screens a great many "reality" shows such as Ibiza Uncovered.

A companion channel, Sky Two, launched on September 1, 1996 but was not a success and closed after just one year, on August 31, 1997. More recently, Sky One Mix was launched as a "catch-up" channel, screening repeats of key Sky One programmes later in the same week.