I remember it too — I was a viewer in Turkey from before its 1995 launch until around 2004, when internet viewing became a little more routine and the quality began to decline (deejay's departure probably had a lot to do with it too!)
Before 1995 and its official debut, it was just a branch of World Service Television, but there would be a CBBC offering then too.
When it launched in 1995, it was actually a joint venture between the BBC and Thames Television and had programmes from both. It had only been a couple of years since Thames had lost its ITV franchise so a lot of its archive included contemporary stuff. I have very clear memories of watching CITV shows on "Children's BBC on Prime" (as it was called then) — The Tomorrow People was one. I think the 1998 changes were when the BBC/Thames arrangement ended.
It was a big scandal in the expat community when Prime switched satellites in the mid-to-late Nineties and it resulted in the channel being off-air in Turkey for quite a long time — some months, I think — until they struck a new deal with the cable provider.
I remember Euro 96 being shown live, and how much it irked the Turkish state broadcaster TRT (which had the Turkish rights), to the extent that they started switching off Prime's signal at match times and replacing it with a Turkish caption telling viewers to watch TRT's (inferior) offering instead. But they were so inept at doing it that they'd sometimes forget to switch it back on again once the game was over. Many episodes of EastEnders were missed, many teeth were gnashed.
TRT weren't quite as protective of the Eurovision Song Contest, which we'd indeed choose for the Wogan commentary. I remember something went wrong with the 1998 contest in Birmingham because we got no commentary at all, the whole night.
We were living away from the UK and so, I suppose, couldn't be too picky about the offering and the increasingly frequent repeats, but we did begin to dread the continuity announcement "And now on BBC Prime, we have time for a little something extra". It would result in an episode of filler like East Anglian Gardens, a holiday snap featuring something with Jill Dando, or the blooper reel show Rodge and Podges' TV Bodges. There were so few of these on rotation that we knew every episode off by heart and precisely how long we had to make a cup of tea.
Last edited by infra4delta on 27 March 2020 3:44pm