Lockdown life has flung families together with cabin fever and left others isolated and alone. Either way, you may be finding that TV is your saving grace.

But if you’re getting bre with your usual televisual fare, maybe it’s time to be bold and venture where very few have gone before - into the mysterious, seemingly infinite world of Freeview.

We all know what can be found on BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, along with their cousins such as E4 with its endless US sitcoms, a dose of reality on ITV2 or high-brow docs on BBC4, but what about the rest?

With more than 70 completely free channels to enjoy, it’s time to find out what’s out there.

You never know, you might find a new taste for a dance music channel, develop an unstoppable shopping habit watching QVC... or you might just be glad you scrolled right past.

Whatever your pleasure, here’s our rough guide to the lesser-known channels vying for your attention. And don’t miss tomorrow’s guide to the best paid-for services on the box.

You’re staying in, so why not tune in…


You can re-watch classic shows from the past
You can re-watch classic shows from the past

If you’ve worked your way through the BBC box sets and caught up on the latest ITV dramas, there are plenty more channels showing iconic series.

CBS Drama (Channel 71) prides itself on celebrating compelling cliffhangers, unforgettable storylines and era-defining classics. It shows the likes of Bad Girls, Dynasty and ER, Medium, The Love Boat and Touched By An Angel.

Meanwhile, its sister channel CBS Justice (39) offers legal and police series, showing global hits such as NCIS, CSI: Miami, Scorpion, Diagnosis Murder, Bonanza and Texas Ranger.

Drama (Channel 30) shows plenty of homegrown series if that’s your thing. Highlights include Ashes To Ashes, Where The Heart Is, Bergerac, Last of The Summer Wine, Lovejoy, Sharpe and Silent Witness.

Elsewhere, Paramount Network (31) features US dramas such as Suits and House, and oddly a lot of WWE wrestling.

And if ghouls and zombies are your bag, feel free to scare yourself witless over on the Horror Channel (70) , with Land Of The Dead, Mutant X and The Time Tunnel guaranteed to give you a fright night.


If cars are your thing, there's a channel for that
If cars are your thing, there's a channel for that

From nature to motor cars, sporting success to World War II, there is definitely a documentary to suit everyone’s tastes on Freeview.

Quest (Channel 12) shows everything from restorations in Salvage Hunters to the complex workings of Mighty Ships or Find It, Fix It, Flog It.

Quest Red (38) is billed as the female-orientated entertainment channel, following the madness in Katie Price : My Crazy Life, learning how to turn trash into cash in Money For Nothing or watching life-changing experiences in My 600lb Life.

CBS Reality (66) also offers lots of real-life stories and true-crime. BLAZE (63) celebrates real people and big characters in shows like Pawn Stars and Wicked Tuna.

Meanwhile, DMAX (Channel 37) features high-octane factual programmes such as Naked And Afraid, Alaskan Bush People and Fast N’ Loud.

Smithsonian Channel (57) is the place for powerful factual programmes about air, space, history, science and nature, inspired by the museum of the same name.

For more historical based series, Yesterday (Channel 25) is the place to go, while PBS America (91) is also best known for its historical content.

And finally, combining classic military and action-themed drama, sci-fi and comedy with factual and news, find out all about the heroes of the British forces on Forces TV (96) .


Keep up-to-date with what's going on in Katie Price's life
Keep up-to-date with what's going on in Katie Price's life

For pure escapist entertainment, look no further than Dave (Channel 19) . No, not your mate Dave, this is a TV channel. It was unfairly given a reputation for only showing repeats for a few years, but has been dishing out some brilliant original comedy recently.

Taskmaster, with Greg Davies and Alex Horne setting bonkers challenges to comedians, is its biggest hit and worth finding on UKTV catchup.

Recently showing on Dave was Hypothetical, which saw Josh Widdicombe and James Acaster pose absurd hypothetical questions.

Hypothetical with Josh Widdicombe and James Acaster
Hypothetical with Josh Widdicombe and James Acaster

And don’t miss Meet The Richardsons, the funny nearly-real life documentary following comedian Jon Richardson and his stand-up wife Lucy.

In other entertainment news, Pick TV (Channel 11) shows a mixture of Sky shows such as dramas Instinct and Elementary, as well as gritty police shows like Border Force, Nothing To Declare and Send In The Dogs UK.

While over on Really (Channel 17) , you can find everything from How To Look Good Naked with Gok Wan, Fantasy Homes By The Sea, Ghost Loop, Call The Cleaners and Paranormal Lockdown UK… which we can only assume is the spooky version of our current lives.


You can binge watch your favourite cookery shows
You can binge watch your favourite cookery shows

Community spirit is key right now, so look no further than these channels featuring everything from inspiring people to food shows, quizzes and home makeover shows.

It’s worth trying Together TV (Channel 88) , which is dedicated to shows about bettering lives and communities. It features smart series and documentaries on everything from civil rights and the environment to food, homes and gardens.

Meanwhile, Food Network (41) is dedicated to satisfying your cravings for mouth-watering recipes, famous chefs and passionate foodies. Catch series from The Hairy Bikers to Gordon Ramsay and James Martin.

You can re-watch your favourite quiz shows
You can re-watch your favourite quiz shows

HGTV (42) is the UK’s only TV channel dedicated to homes and gardens programming, with great content to make over your space… you know, since you’re home for a while.

And test out the old grey matter on Challenge (46) , featuring TV’s best game shows, from Bullseye and Blockbusters to The Chase and Catchphrase.


There are plenty of channels to keep your little ones entertained
There are plenty of channels to keep your little ones entertained

Are your kids climbing the walls? Have they turned feral yet?

You could always padlock them into their bedrooms. Or how about bribing them with the promise of TV time – once they’ve helped with the chores of course, ahem.

You may already be familiar with CBBC (Channel 201) and CBeebies (202) , the Beeb’s jam-packed and educational offering of kid-friendly shows.

But if you want more and can’t bear to watch Frozen on DVD for the 35th time, tune into Pop (206) , which shows countless cartoon series, including Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures, Alvinnn!!! And the Chipmunks, Angry Birds, Lego Friends and Sonic Boom.

You don't have to re-watch Frozen AGAIN thanks to these channels

For children aged six to nine, Pop Max (208) features comedy and action shows such as The Spectacular Spider-Man and Lego: Nexo Knights.

And Tiny Pop (207) will keep the little ones engaged with fun interactive games and shows such as Care Bears, PJ Masks and Masha And The Bear. If you haven’t yet watched Masha And The Bear, you haven’t lived.

Elsewhere, Yaaas! (212) and Ketchup TV (211) are free streaming channels for kids, showing everything from New Kung Fu Panda Shorts to that old classic, Peppa Pig … sorry about the theme tune.


You can inject some movie magic into your lockdown
You can inject some movie magic into your lockdown

Now is the time to inject some movie magic into your lives and there are some hidden film channels you might never have known existed.

Get comfy on the sofa and immerse yourself in blockbusters from the UK and US with Sony Movies (Channel 32) , which covers every genre from rom-com to hard-hitting action and critically acclaimed Indie films.

Recently, in one week alone it showed films including Fun With Dick and Jane with Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni, Kill Bill with Uma Thurman, The Taking Of Pelham 123 with Denzel Washington and John Travolta, and Moneyball with Brad Pitt.

Its sister channels Sony Movies Classic (50) and Sony Movies Action (40) are everything you’d expect, with big hits such as Into The Sun with Steven Seagal, Gun with Val Kilmer and the 1944 Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly hit Cover Girl.

Meanwhile, Talking Pictures TV (81) is an archive movie and TV channel showing age-old gems, some of the rarest and greatest in film history as well as classics from the Hollywood era.

Get the popcorn out and prepare to take a trip back in time.


There are music channels to suit every taste
There are music channels to suit every taste

Now before you balk at the very idea of a clubbing channel, families getting in the groove to some Eurodance or K-pop might be just what Britain needs. Never say never…

Broadcasting everything from electronic to techno and trance, Clubland TV (Channel 82) boasts it is the UK’s leading authority on club and dance, celebrating the good times past and present with music that brings back that weekend feeling. Who could ask for more?

If 70s or 80s music is more your era, tune into Now 80s (83) for classic pop music, leg warmers, lycra and big hair, or Now 70s (78) , covering the best hits from disco and punk to new wave and funk.

And let’s not forget country music, with the genre covered in spectacular style on Spotlight TV (87) , with music shows, videos and segments introducing the latest stars. Yee-ha!


The QVC Shopping Channel is on Freeview
The QVC Shopping Channel is on Freeview

If ever there was a perfect time to get involved in the delights of TV’s endless shopping channels, it’s now.

You can get everything you never knew you needed right from your sofa. Just tune in, let the hypnotic sales pitch win you over and order online.

QVC (Channel 16) , which also has sister channels QVC Style (36) and QVC Beauty (35) , is the world’s most successful shopping channel, offering everything from shoes and electronics to garden furniture and kitchenware.

You might even spot some famous regular guests, including Rylan Clark-Neal, below, Ruth Langsford, RuPaul and Amanda Holden.

But other top channels include Gems TV (43) , TV Warehouse (90) , JML Direct (806) , Hochanda (85) , Jewellery Channel (49) and Ideal World (22) .

And for home crafting, try Create & Craft (23) or Jewellery Maker (73) . Kirstie Allsopp would be proud…