A flashback to ATV's glory years: When Leslie Cheung was alive and Alex Man was slim

Ng Wai Kwok, Ma Man Yee and Hsu Shao-chiang in RTV's Reincarnated. -- PHOTO: APPLE DAILY
Ng Wai Kwok, Ma Man Yee and Hsu Shao-chiang in RTV's Reincarnated. -- PHOTO: APPLE DAILY

Hong Kong has pulled the plug on ATV, the city's oldest broadcaster. The government said on Wednesday it would not renew the free-to-air licence of the station, which has been in decline for years.

But once upon a time, ATV had hit shows to rival its leading competitor, TVB.

Here is a flashback to the 57-year-old broadcaster's glory years.

THE SHOWS

In its heyday in the 1970s as RTV, ATV had viewers glued to the television watching contemporary soap opera Chameleon and martial arts drama Reincarnated.

Chameleon, which debuted in 1978 and starred Poon Chi Man, Lau Wai Man and Lau Chi Wing as three friends turned enemies, was one of the station's greatest hits.

RTV also had a string of classic wuxia and costume dramas, including 1979's Reincarnated (with Hsu Shao-chiang and Nora Miao), 1980's Dynasty (Alex Man and Michelle Yim) and 1980's The Tai Chi Master (Man and Yim), said Ming Pao Daily News.

In the mid-1980s, after the broadcaster was bought by business legend Deacon Chiu and rebranded ATV, it produced popular historical dramas such as Empress Wu (Fung Bo Bo) and Rise Of The Great Wall (Liu Yung).

THE STARS

Alex Man is just one of many stars who got their starts at the station. Back when the broadcaster was known as Rediffusion, Liza Wang graduated from its first artiste training course in 1967, said Apple Daily.

Leslie Cheung began his career after coming second in the station's singing contest in 1977. Rosamund Kwan, Chan Sau Man and Cheung became idols in RTV's 1980s youth dramas such as Love Story 1980 and Agency 24, said Ming Pao.

More recent alumni of ATV include Anthony Wong, Nick Cheung and Chapman To. To acted in one of the broadcaster's last big hits, 1998's My Date With A Vampire.