When Party Girls came to the end of its run on Channel 46 in March 2009, the Babestation girls who’d become darlings of the night time Freeview schedule were suddenly a lot more difficult for the terrestrial viewer to find. They did continue to appear on the 3am Party People show, but that was a very late (or early) start, and since Party People was still in many ways a day show, it was a different proposition from Party Girls. Not even the new arrival of Partyland could really make up for the loss of Party Girls. Viewers had, through Party Girls, got to know Babestation’s most vivacious models, and they wanted those girls back – even to the point where some Freeview guys went out and subscribed to Sky, purely for Babestation.
The terrestrial audience had, however, been promised a full version of Babestation within a few weeks of the end of Party Girls. This time, not a low-bandwidth transmission with a makeshift set like the Channel 46 show. Not a programme where the girls’ every movement would be pixellated because the bit rate couldn’t cope. No minimally sized viewing window, no heavy screen surround. This was going to be a full-screen broadcast, shot on the spacious, premium set, with all the trappings, the video insets, the works. This was not going to be Babestation lite, running under an alias in a basement – this was going to be Babestation. Babestation 1.
Duly, on a very, very windy Tuesday 12th May 2009, a new channel appeared on the Freeview EPG. Bearing the recognisable name of Smile TV2 (same as the former Channel 46), Channel 33 was ready to go, and despite the fact that no listings were showing, the fun was about to start…
Just after midnight on 13th May, the full version of Babestation finally premiered on Freeview. And opening the show? It could only be the Babestation It-girl who’d still been on the mic saying goodbye to Channel 46 viewers when the closing graphics routine abruptly cut in to end Party Girls two months earlier: the one and only Donna Duke. Joining Donna on the historic broadcast were Geri, and Megan Moore.
At the start of her second Freeview section, Donna Duke wore a red dress. Babestation Freeview show’s first opening title sequence featured Donna Duke, Jemma Jey, Camilla Jayne, Morgan Preece and Dionne Mendez (in that order), and it remained in place at the beginning of Babestation 1’s Freeview portion until late August ‘09.
Note the 4:3 screen format, as opposed to 16:9 Widescreen, which didn’t properly arrive until a month later, on 10th June. I say ‘properly’, because it looks like Babestation tried to implement Widescreen from the night of 3rd to 4th June. However, whilst the dimensions of the screen were amended, the actual source frame remained in 4:3, so for nearly a week the picture was horizontally stretched, and that didn’t flatter the babes at all.
There’s now a major expansion on this post, at the first night and the ensuing weeks. You’ll find it in Babestation 1 on Freeview: The First Month.