Channel 4 is making its back catalogue of shows, including Father Ted and Drop The Dead Donkey, available to watch for free on its website.

Classic drama, comedy and entertainment shows such as Shameless and Queer As Folk will all be put on the 4oD section of channel4.com
from July.

The channel is the first UK broadcaster to make its back catalogue of programmes available to watch for free on its site.

In total, nearly 4,000 hours of the broadcaster’s archived material, representing around 10,000 programmes, will be on offer.

Imported US shows, which have been a mainstay of Channel 4 programming over the past decade, are not included because of rights issues, meaning fans of shows like Friends, ER and Desperate Housewives will still have to go out and buy the DVD boxed sets.

The relaunched 4oD service means Channel 4 is the only UK broadcaster to make its archive available free to view online on a streamed basis.

Jon Gisby, director of future media and technology at Channel 4, said: “We are extremely proud of the new and improved service and think the combination of fantastic content that’s easy to find and view will prove a compelling service for all users.”