IMAGINE Wharf Cable - the territory's revolutionary television service which will take its first breath next Sunday - as a baby waiting to be delivered. The Secretary for Recreation and Culture, Mr James So, sees his government branch as the midwife making sure a happy, vibrant child is delivered. Wharf's project director and head of TV operations, Yvonne Siu Sun, was sitting in the audience as Mr So delivered his magnanimous address to mark the 10-day countdown. Ms Siu said to herself: ''God, if this is a baby, it has been a long labour''. More than anyone else at Wharf Cable, Ms Siu deserves the title of expectant mother - it has even been said that Wharf has taken the place of the child she never had. It is two years and 10 months since she gave into the persistent attempts by Wharf Cable's managing director, Stephen Ng, to get her on board Endeavour Wharf to create a programming strategy and, she admits, it has taken a lot out of her life. Six months ago, Wharf was officially awarded the licence after being told it was in the can at the beginning of the year. A threat by China late last year that it would not honour contracts it had not approved after 1997 threw the already protracted process into doubt. It has been eight years since the Government started talking about its grand plans for cable TV for Hong Kong. Hong Kong Cable Communications was awarded a 15-year franchise in August 1990. By December it was announced the $5.5 billion project was a non-starter. On September 30 1992, Wharf Cable's was the only bid for the 12-year franchise. But Ms Siu had an ideal, a vision of television choice she wanted to give Hong Kong. It has been a long time in the making, and not just the latest tense waiting period. It is a master plan that goes back 21/2 decades when she began her career in broadcasting and, most recently, to the scuppered attempt to create a new model for the Hutchison Cablevision consortium, which was one of the original contenders for the cable television licence. ''The most gratifying thing to me is that I have my programming model now, now I can demonstrate it is possible. Now I can stand up and say, I have created something with its own identity, philosophy and target,'' said Ms Siu. ''It has been an ideal, something I have aspired to achieve and I can say, hey, we have done it now. I guess I can speak up in the media industry and say to my peers, 'We have pledged, committed to deliver and we have done it'. And it will become very successful,'' is Ms Siu's unwavering belief. ''I would like to look back in three years' time and say, many Hong Kong homes have it now - and that people will be saying, Wharf was lucky to get this woman.'' Ms Siu entered broadcasting fresh from university in 1967 when television was only a test transmission. The only thing she knew about television was that it was ''pictures in a box'', but soon she was one of the first generation of TV professionals in the territory. Recruited by university friend Selina Chow, who was in the programming department of HK-TVB, her first job was as a production assistant on Enjoy Yourself Tonight, the live entertainment show which is now an institution. ''Participating in a live show and starting from the bottom I was able to learn all the skills - from scripting, to production co-ordination, panel directing, all the facets. ''You would never find another job that gives you instantaneous job gratification - you don't have to wait a long time for appraisal of your work because it's instantaneous from the audience. ''And there's never a dull moment. Twenty-six years on, I still say there is never a dull moment in television.'' AS part of the vanguard of a new industry, learning was not the only thing which came quickly, so did advancement. Sent overseas to learn from established broadcasters, she became an assistant production manager and a producer and soon after an executive producer on a variety of programmes, moving into management and administration. As a young adult working in unchartered waters, Ms Siu says she established a work ethic that is still with her today. ''To the best of my ability and what is within my control, I will complete something. I've never left any work with stray or loose ends. It is something that is important to me and which is very important in television.'' Being behind the camera and not in front of it was also a natural step she believes. ''I've always taken the role of team leader, even at university, so it was natural for me to be there saying you do this, you do that.'' Ms Siu married her university sweetheart, an architect student, and they were coming under pressure from their Chiu Chow families to produce grandchildren. Being, for the first time, in a management position with regular hours seemed like the perfect time to start a family but ''it didn't happen''. Instead she threw herself back into work and joined the new TV station CTV as programme manager, little realising the enormity of the task she had taken on. ''Looking back, in those days I had the determination to make it work. The founding years at TVB gave me confidence. I don't know why I had such confidence in those days, but we started this whole new genre of long, serialised drama. ''We bought the book Legend of the Condor Heroes, turning it into 60 episodes of primetime drama, Monday to Friday. And all of a sudden it attracted an audience in excess of one million. RTV and TVB then woke up to this competitor and they began changingstrategy and changed their whole primetime lineup. ''Television has never looked back. In terms of primetime programming it had to be a local production, it had to be drama and it had to have an appeal for continuing viewership. It was then that martial arts became a television ingredient.'' In a climate of changing broadcasting regulations and fierce competitiveness, CTV closed down in 1978 and Ms Siu went back to university for two years. ''This was a very enlightening time for me - I had been working in a micro sense, but here I got a macro view of television, it gave me a different perspective.'' In 1980 she rejoined TVB and became programme controller. It was during this time that she was involved in another television revolution - TVB began seriously questioning what the viewers wanted and who their target audience was. It was also a time when the advertising industry was coming of age, as Ms Siu describes it, and planning, strategy and policy became bywords. It was also at this time that she entered what she calls ''the dark ages in my life'' - at the end of 1982, her husband, aged 41, died of cancer and Ms Siu was shattered. For three years she was in a state of mourning. She wore black all the time and went to church every day so she could join in the prayer for the dead. ''I questioned everything. Why him? Had I done anything wrong? It was very devastating at the time,'' said Ms Siu, her voice softening to a whisper. She threw her whole life into work, earning herself the Most Outstanding Young Person's award the next year. Next was the Hutchison cable TV project and the formulating of her programming plan to develop a blue print for a multi-channel service that particularly catered for Hong Kong viewers and was more than just dubbed Hollywood movies. That, she believes, would be just like opening up another video rental store. She took her thwarted dream with her to Wharf Cable and it is only now that she can see it coming into being. Part of her plan was to have a team that was made up largely of untrained young enthusiasts fresh out of college. ''I look upon them as the new breed, the same as when I was given my opportunity in television. I'm passing the baton on, grooming the new generation. ''Television is a young people's industry. It takes all the energy, the most vibrant part of your life.''