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Last Updated: Monday, 1 November, 2004, 10:18 GMT
ITV launches free digital channel
Trudie Godwin (June Ackland) and Todd Carty (Gabriel Kent)
ITV3 will show an omnibus of The Bill
ITV launches a new channel on Monday, offering viewers the chance to see a range of dramas, films and repeats.

Digital channel ITV3 is aimed at an over 35 audience, with shows such as Miss Marple, The Bill and LA Law.

ITV bosses are keen to tempt viewers away from Sky One and Five with the channel's mix of British and US shows.

The channel will kick off its schedule with a new feature-length episode of Scottish crime drama Rebus, starring John Hannah.

Films planned for its first week include Sidney Poitier's In the Heat of the Night, Steve Martin's Father of the Bride and the classic comedy Gregory's Girl.

Repeats of shows including an omnibus edition of The Bill, Peak Practice and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? will make up the core of the channel's schedule.

US programmes it will be showing include The Practice, Chicago Hope and LA Dragnet.

Older market

The company launched ITV2 in 1998, which is aimed at a younger audience and has more tie-ins with ITV1 such as extra programming on I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here and X-Factor.

ITV chief executive Charles Allen believes the expansion of the company's digital portfolio will make it a real "power" in multi-channel homes.

He also sees the 35-plus audience as a key to the future of digital because it has the largest disposable incomes and has become the biggest market for services like Freeview.

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