Tonight London sees the launch of a new TV channel dedicated to the city. London Live (on Freeview channel 8 and Sky channel 117, starts broadcasting at 6.30pm on 31 March) is owned by Evgeny Lebedev, the man who also owns the Evening Standard, and will feature a mix of news, sport, current affairs, comedy and drama, but all with a distinctively London flavour.
There are loads of questions this sort of venture bring up. Will it be any good? Who will watch it? Will it break even/ make a profit, or will it go the way of many other commercial local TV channels and go out of business within a couple of years? But the biggest question for me is what does this do to London as a city?
Will it make us more introverted and navel gazing? Are a new generation of Londoners now so consumed with their own lives within the city, that they don’t care for anything taking place outside of it? And how will it affect the way people outside of London view us? Will it draw Londoners into feeling closer with residents of other global cities, like New York, Sydney, Tokyo and Shanghai, but push us away from our sister cities of Manchester, Sheffield, Glasgow and Belfast?
Let’s pray for Londoners to remain interested in what happens outside of London, and continue to feel deep connections with the rest of Britain. Let’s pray this new TV channel celebrates London without denigrating other cities or regions. And let’s pray God would even use it to broadcast messages of faith, hope, love and peace across our city.
Mark Williamson also blogs regularly for One Rock, a training organisation resourcing missionary leaders across the globe. He’s passionate about good films, good food, getting into deep conversations, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna. You can follow him on Twitter @markraynespark.