A NEW television channel was beamed on to Hampshire screens last night with the launch of That’s Solent.

The channel for the Solent region went on air yesterday evening, broadcasting across Southampton, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.

The first face on the channel was Chrissie Pollard who was originally a journalist with Television South – the first ITV broadcaster for the south.

She presented the first show Talk Solent where a panel of guests, which last night included Daily Echo editor Ian Murray, debated the day’s news stories.

The programme will have a regular slot in the That’s Solent schedule, with the channel broadcasting a live magazine show on weeknights targeting viewers as they return home from work.

Yesterday saw the launch of the channel, which is backed by New Forestbased presenter Esther Rantzen, from its base at Highbury College in Portsmouth.

That’s Solent chief executive, Daniel Cass, said: “Our model is based on the success of local TV in North America. We’re here to provide a voice for local people, identify new talent and celebrate our area. Viewers will have the opportunity to put their questions direct to local decision makers through Skype, email and Twitter.”

As previously reported by the Daily Echo Ms Rantzen is a director of the That’s Media consortium which was awarded the licence to run a local TV service in the south, beating off a bid by Solent University.

The 74-year-old presenter was due to front a Sunday lunchtime show.

Freeview viewers in Southampton, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight can receive the channel by pressing rescan on their settop- boxes and tuning to channel 8. That’s Solent will also soon be launching on Virgin Media and Wightfibre cable networks.