Channel 4's 40-year odyssey of filth, violence and deviant sex is over. We will never recover

By Abigail Pennson, our reasonable, plain-speaking middle-class columnist slightly to the right of Hitler

IF ONLY we could go back. To who we were before the black tentacles of sexual perversion reached out from our television screens. To before Channel 4. 

To before 4.45pm on November 2nd, 1982, when a devil wearing a Richard Whiteley mask tempted us, with beguiling letters and numbers, into a hell of depravity.

Channel 4’s charter was to destroy every moral, every scruple, everything decent about our country. No serious commentator can suggest otherwise. Its 40-year mission to create a nation of filthy wanking bastards is complete.

The Conservatives are doing the right thing by selling it. Too little and too late. No mere multi-million pound boost to the Treasury can restore our innocence.

The innocence of a child, lost to the paedophile extravaganza of Mini-Pops. The innocence of a curious teenager tempted by the Red Triangle, lost to explicit 1970s Japanese cinema.

The innocence of a soap opera about murders, cults, bombings and plague, lost to a pre-watershed lesbian kiss that turned an estimated two million women gay, with many of them unable to turn back.

Remember our lives before then? Before The Word corrupted a generation into coke-snorting faux-Northerners bathing in maggots? Before The Big Breakfast made 7am testicular exposure commonplace? Before Hollyoaks Late Night invented male rape?

Before series seven of Big Brother, when the freakshow of regional accents turned to live 24-hour cannibalism? Before Brass Eye killed Princess Margaret as a ‘stunt’?

Or even the present day, when Naked Attraction is inescapable? When every night genitals parade before us in the name of entertainment, pierced, multi-gender and often with as many as three dicks per man?

We can never go back. We are a nation of depraved, deviant pigs, wallowing in our own filth, begging for one more episode of Eurotrash. I haven’t had sex since 1987 without climaxing at the thought of Jools Holland saying ‘groovy fuckers’ on The Tube. 

But for a new generation, there is hope. That private ownership will turn this around. That Channel 4 can become as edifying and educational as its unfettered neighbour, Channel 5.

It’s too late for me. I’m drowning in metaphorical effluent and can’t wait for the next Open House: The Great Sex Experiment. You must save yourselves.

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Let's move to a dying port city Philip Larkin really hated! This week: Hull

What’s it about?

If you like your coastal cities dreary, run-down and incredibly isolated, Kingston upon Hull is the place for you. Hull soon recovered from being massively bombed in WW2, so if some areas still look as though they’ve been blown up, it’s probably intentional.

When you arrive you’re sure to receive a warm welcome, or the threat of brutal violence – the local accent is so thick it’s impossible to tell. Still, it helps justify the local souvenir t-shirt, ‘It’s Never Dull in Hull’. Although that is a lie.

Any good points?

Tellingly, Hull’s most famous landmark – the Humber Bridge – is also a major route out of the city. The only downside to using the bridge is yes, you’re leaving Hull, but now you’re on the way to Grimsby.

The city’s phone boxes are famously cream-coloured. They’re the only ones like it in the country – probably because they look disgusting. You might need one though if you visit the city centre as there’s a decent chance a heroin addict will steal your iPhone.

Local favourite Hull Fair lays claim to being Europe’s largest travelling fair. It’s a super-spreader event where you puke up your toffee apple on the waltzers and the local police put on extra officers to flush out all the paedos.

Wonderful landscape?

Hull stands proudly on the East coast in an area of Yorkshire which is tediously, endlessly and unrelentingly flat. The entire city is a flood risk and if you don’t move here soon, there’s a decent chance it’ll have crumbled and fallen into the North Sea.

When you arrive in the city – by accident or to meet a friend who didn’t get the grades to attend a good university – you’ll likely use Paragon train station. There you’ll be greeted by a monument to poet Philip Larkin. Who was actually from Coventry and called Hull ‘a fish-smelling dump’ full of ‘witless, crapulous people’ and has therefore been honoured with a prominent seven-foot statue.

Hang out at…

Bob Carvers, or any of the city’s many fish and chip shops. Here you can try the local delicacy of ‘pattie butty and chips’ – a dish of mashed potato, deep fried in batter, served in a ‘breadcake’ with chips for under £2. A rare example of ‘quadruple carbs’. Purely coincidentally, life expectancy in Hull falls way below the UK average.

Aquarium The Deep boasts the ‘world’s only submarium’ – a kind of elevator through the middle of a fish tank – which is far, far less impressive than that sounds. Next to The Deep is Hull’s reinvigorated marina area, with new restaurants, art galleries and coffee shops. Which would be great to visit, except the endless city centre roadworks now render it almost completely inaccessible.

If you’re stuck in the city centre, why not pop down shopping street Whitefriargate? Almost everything is closed. The George Hotel claims to have the smallest window in the world. It’s more of a slot. And it’s disappointingly big.

Where to buy?

Hull offers an array of laughably cheap housing as well as some of the largest council estates ever conceived. If you’re moving from a big city like London, you’ll probably be able to buy a huge mansion, an entire postcode, or even the whole city and rename it Kingston Upon Steve, without too much objection. Or move to nearby Beverley or even York. They’re both infinitely nicer.

It’s also worth remembering the city is split in two by the river Hull – you’ll be made to support whichever of Hull’s mediocre rugby league teams play nearest to you. Remember not to wear your shirt in the wrong part of town, as you’ll quite rightly get yourself a good fucking kicking.

From the streets:

Nathan Muir, 30: “I came to study at the uni and stayed for the cheap house prices and the fact I have no idea how to leave. Everywhere else feels so far away. We’re in the North but it’s still two hours to Newcastle. If I ever end up in Hull’s massive, menacing high security prison I’d stand more chance of escaping.”