World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

UTV (TV channel)

UTV Current logo
Launched 31 October 1959
Network ITV
Owned by UTV Media
Picture format 576i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Audience share ITV Network:
0.79% (+1)
2.46% (HD) (September 2015 (2015-09), BARB)
Slogan "Part of U"
Country Northern Ireland
Language English
Broadcast area Northern Ireland
Headquarters Havelock House, Ormeau Road, Belfast
Formerly called Ulster Television
(until 4 June 1993)
Timeshift service UTV +1
Website .tvu
(NI only)
Channel 3
Channel 33 (+1)
Channel 103 (HD)
(NI only)
Channel 103
Channel 119 (HD)
(NI only)
Channel 103 (SD/HD)
Channel 178 (SD)
Astra 2E 10906 V 22000 5/6
Astra 2F 11068 V 23000 2/3 S2 (HD)
Virgin Media
(NI only)
Channel 103
Channel 113 (HD)
Channel 114 (+1)
Streaming media
UTV Player Catch up
(UTV region only)
TVCatchup Watch live (UK only)
Zattoo Watch live (UK only)

UTV (formerly Ulster Television) is a commercial television broadcaster in Northern Ireland owned and operated by UTV Media plc as part of the UK-wide ITV Network.[1] Formed in November 1958 and appointed as programme contractor for the Independent Television Authority soon after, UTV was the first indigenous broadcaster in Northern Ireland[1]

On 19 October 2015, it was announced UTV would be sold to ITV plc for £100 million.[2]


  • Reception 1
    • Terrestrial 1.1
    • Satellite 1.2
    • Cable and MMDS 1.3
  • History 2
  • Programmes 3
    • Current/recent series 3.1
    • Notable programmes shown on the ITV network 3.2
    • Contributions to series on the ITV network 3.3
    • Notable programmes shown on Channel 4 3.4
    • Notable regional programmes 3.5
    • Regional news programmes 3.6
  • Identity and presentation 4
    • Continuity Announcers 4.1
    • Station theme tunes 4.2
  • UTV HD 5
  • UTV +1 6
  • UTV Ireland 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


UTV can be watched via the following methods:


The main transmitters which broadcast UTV's analogue and digital signals are based at Divis transmitting station outside Belfast,[3] Limavady transmitting station in County Londonderry[4] and Brougher Mountain transmitting station in County Tyrone.[5] Each transmitter has a series of relay stations.

UTV was the last of the ITV stations to cease broadcasting on analogue transmitters. The analogue signal was closed at just after 11:35 pm on Tuesday 23 October 2012.[6][7]


  • Freesat (Northern Ireland only)
    • UTV – 103; 16:9 SDTV
    • UTV HD – 119; 1080i HDTV
  • Sky (Northern Ireland only)
    • UTV – 103; 16:9 SDTV
    • UTV HD – 178 (HD swap with 103); 1080i HDTV
  • Astra 2E
    • UTV – 10906 GHz, vertical polarisation, 22000 SR, 5/6 FEC; 16:9 SDTV[8]
  • Astra 2F
    • UTV HD – 11068 GHz, vertical polarisation, 23000 SR, 2/3 FEC DVB-S2 8PSK; 1080i HDTV[8]

Cable and MMDS

  • Virgin Media (Northern Ireland only)
    • UTV – 103; 16:9 SDTV
    • UTV HD – 113; 1080i HDTV
    • UTV +1 – 114; 16:9 SDTV


UTV Player screenshot
The governing body of the Independent Television network, the Independent Television Authority, first advertised the franchise for Northern Ireland in September 1958.[9] Two consortia applied for the franchise; one led by the Duke of Abercorn and supported by The Belfast Telegraph and The Northern Whig newspapers, the other led by the Earl of Antrim and supported by The News Letter and Sir Laurence Olivier.[9] The ITA eventually persuaded both applicants to merge their bids to obtain the new franchise, on the provision that a greater stake of investment in the station was offered to Catholic sources.[9]

With the ITA request met, the group, under the name Ulster Television Limited, set out their plans for broadcasting; initially, the station would try to provide 20 minutes of locally sourced programmes per day, and the company arranged with ABC Television to sell advertising time and to maintain their studio premises at a former hemstitching warehouse in Havelock House on the Ormeau Road in Belfast.[9]

Ulster TV HQ, Havelock House (August 2009)

Ulster Television went on air at 4.45 pm on Saturday 31 October 1959.[10] The station's opening was overseen by Lord Wakehurst, then Governor of Northern Ireland, and Sir Laurence Olivier introduced the opening ceremony.[10] The station's first night of programming, introduced by duty announcer Adrienne McGuill, featured networked series such as The Adventures of Robin Hood and 77 Sunset Strip,[11] two news bulletins from ITN and the 1949 feature film Task Force. Sir Laurence Olivier delivered the station's first epilogue, an excerpt from Joseph Addison's "The Spacious Firmament".[11]

The following evening, UTV contributed a play to the Armchair Theatre series, A Shilling for the Evil Day, produced in association with ABC Television.[10] Earlier in the day, the station broadcast its first unofficial colour production – a film of images from across Northern Ireland was broadcast entitled Ulster Rich and Rare, produced by Lord Wakehurst.

At launch, Ulster Television employed a staff of 100 people including six presenters: Ivor Mills and Anne Gregg were chosen as the presenters of local magazine programme Roundabout, Adrienne McGuill, James Greene and Brian Durkin were the first continuity announcers, and former rugby union international Ernest Strathdee was recruited as the station's sports presenter.[12]

Initially, Ulster Television's programmes would only be available to viewers located within range of the Black Mountain transmitter near Belfast.[13] On the station's first night of programmes however, it was reported that some residents of Dublin, located over 100 miles away, had called the station to report poor picture reception.[9] Coverage of UTV spread to Western areas of Northern Ireland when the Strabane transmitter opened in February 1963.[13]

Ulster Television's UHF PAL colour service was launched with the opening of the UHF transmitter Divis in September 1970.[9] This was followed by two additional transmitters at Limavady (opened in 1975[9]) and Brougher Mountain (in 1978[9]). In October 1988 the station began 24-hour broadcasting. It was the last in the ITV network to begin 24-hour transmission, commencing overnight programming a month after the other smaller ITV stations started overnight broadcasting.[14]

At the company's

  • – Official Website
  • UTV Media

External links

  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ Divis on mb21 Transmission Gallery Archived 13 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^
  5. ^ Brougher Mountain on mb21 Transmission Gallery Archived 13 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h
  10. ^ a b c Belfast Telegraph, "Flashback... Ulster Television's opening night, October 31, 1959"; dated 24 July 2004. Retrieved 17 June 2008.
  11. ^ a b Extract from Brum Henderson "Brum: A Life in Television", Belfast Telegraph, "Exclusive: My life on the box"; dated 4 October 2003. Retrieved 17 June 2008.
  12. ^ Extract from Brum Henderson "Brum: A Life in Television", from Belfast Telegraph, "Exclusive: My life on the box"; dated 4 October 2003. Retrieved 17 June 2008.
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^ TV Live - ITV Night Time
  15. ^ [1] Archived 10 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^
  17. ^ UTV Press Office: "UTV launches new weeknights news and current affairs programming"; dated 24 April 2009. Retrieved 20 September 2009.
  18. ^ UTV Press Office: "UTV celebrates 50 years of broadcasting this autumn" UTV Press Office, 17 September 2009; accessed 20 September 2009
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ "'Paul and Nick's Big Food Trip' starts on UTV"; UTV Press Office, 5 April 2012; accessed 9 May 2012
  23. ^ "'Rare Breed: A Farming Year' starts on UTV"; UTV Press Office, 10 January 2012; accessed 9 May 2012
  24. ^
  25. ^ "New faces for 'RPM' on UTV this Spring"; UTV Press Office, 27 March 2012; accessed 9 May 2012
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Ultimate Ulster returns with new series on Friday nights" UTV Press Office, 18 September 2009; accessed 20 September 2009
  28. ^ "New series of 'Ultimate Ulster' starts this Easter" UTV Press Office, 19 April 2011; accessed 9 May 2012
  29. ^ BFI Film and TV Database. Retrieved 15 June 2008.
  30. ^ BFI Film and TV Database. Retrieved 15 June 2008.
  31. ^ Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 15 June 2008.
  32. ^ BFI Film and TV Database. Retrieved 15 June 2008.
  33. ^ Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 15 June 2008.
  34. ^ BFI Film and TV Database. Retrieved 15 June 2008.
  35. ^ BFI Film and TV Database. Retrieved 15 June 2008.
  36. ^ BFI Film and TV Database. Retrieved 15 June 2008.
  37. ^ BFI Film and TV Database. Retrieved 15 June 2008.
  38. ^
  39. ^ BFI Film and TV Database. Retrieved 15 June 2008.
  40. ^ BFI Film and TV Database. Retrieved 15 June 2008.
  41. ^ BFI Film and TV Database. Retrieved 15 June 2008.
  42. ^ BFI Film and TV Database. Retrieved 15 June 2008.
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^
  49. ^
  50. ^
  51. ^
  52. ^
  53. ^
  54. ^
  55. ^
  56. ^
  57. ^
  58. ^
  59. ^
  60. ^ UTV Press Office: "Timely launch for new UTV series" UTV Press Office, 27 May 2009; accessed 20 September 2009
  61. ^
  62. ^
  63. ^
  64. ^
  65. ^
  66. ^
  67. ^
  68. ^
  69. ^ a b The TV Room: UTV Idents
  70. ^ UTV Today: 2003–05 Scenery Idents (Old Soundtrack). Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  71. ^ UTV Today: 2003–05 Scenery Idents (Old Soundtrack). Retrieved 1 April 2008.
  72. ^ UTV Today: 2003–06 Scenery Idents: New Soundtrack. Retrieved 1 April 2008.
  73. ^ a b UTV Today: 2006–07 Scenery Idents: About These Idents. Retrieved 1 April 2008.
  74. ^ UTV Today: 2007–08 Scenery Idents – About These Idents. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  75. ^ UTV Today: 2009 Scenery Idents – About These Idents. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  76. ^ a b UTV Today: 2006–07 Scenery Idents – Special Idents. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  77. ^ UTV Today: 2007–08 Scenery Idents – Special Idents. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  78. ^ UTV Today: 2007–08 Scenery Idents – UTV Rewind. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  79. ^
  80. ^
  81. ^
  82. ^
  83. ^
  84. ^
  85. ^
  86. ^
  87. ^


UTV Ireland is a sister station to UTV's Northern Ireland service, broadcasting to the Republic of Ireland. The new channel launched on 1 January 2015, following approval by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.[85] UTV Ireland broadcasts from the company's Dublin base at Macken House and carries a large amount of ITV's networked programming (including Emmerdale and Coronation Street, previously broadcast by TV3, alongside some bespoke programming, including Ireland Live, a twice nightly national news programme airing at 5.30 pm and 10 pm.[86][87][88]

UTV Ireland

On 4 January 2011, Freeview announced details for the launch of ITV1+1, together with the possibility that both STV and UTV will launch their own timeshift services, STV +1 and UTV +1 in Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively.[83] UTV later confirmed that it would launch UTV +1 at 8 pm on 11 January 2011.[84] The channel is available to Freeview viewers on channel 33 and Virgin Media cable customers on channel 114. The channel is not currently available on the Freesat and Sky satellite services.

UTV +1

In May 2011, the presentation infrastructure was upgraded to become fully HD-capable in readiness for the digital switchover in 2012.

Currently UTV's acquisition and presentation infrastructure is SD only; all HD content is line-fed to UTV in Belfast from Technicolor Network Services' transmission facility at Chiswick Park, with UTV's presentation and local content being upscaled and switched into the transmission chain for UTV HD using a simple A/B switcher.

UTV HD, a simulcast of UTV in high-definition, launched on Virgin Media channel 113 on 5 October 2010.[80] On 5 March 2012, UTV Media announced it had signed new network arrangements for the provision of Channel 3 programmes and services with ITV plc. Included in the agreement is a deal which ensured the distribution of UTV HD on Freeview when the digital switchover took place on 24 October 2012 and on Sky and Freesat on 4 November 2013.[81][82]

UTV HD logo


In common with the rest of the ITV Network, the station aired specially composed signature tunes as part of its daily start-up routine. From launch until 1971, the opening theme was Seamus by the American musician, composer and bandleader Van Phillips, who had earlier written the theme tune of the popular 1950s BBC radio science fiction drama Journey Into Space. UTV's best known theme was The Antrim Road, a classical symphony composed by Wayne Hill and Earl Ward, which was used between 1971 and 1983. It originally featured on The British Isles, an LP of orchestral arrangements of traditional and characteristic national tunes of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The album was released on the De Wolf label in 1971.

Station theme tunes

UTV is the only company in the ITV network to still broadcast in-vision continuity announcements, where the announcer appears in front of the camera to introduce the evening's programmes. Ballantine, Browne and Porter also have newscaster roles on the UTV Live Tonight show.

Continuity Announcers

  • 1993 At 18.00 on 4 June 1993,[66] UTV officially unveiled a new logo. This consisted of an italicised Times Roman capital U forming on screen from different component parts, settling on a blue and yellow plate with "TV" written in italicised red Futura Condensed text. A new jingle was also introduced with a distinct Celtic sound. Since the start of 1993, continuity announcements and trailers referred increasingly to "UTV", and the station's news service was rebranded as UTV Live. With the new logo, the use of "Ulster Television" to identify the station was consigned to history.
  • 1996 UTV introduced a new series of idents in October 1996, which showcased scenic locations in Northern Ireland. These include the Giant's Causeway, a waterfall at Glenarriff, and Portaferry harbour. These are supplemented in 1998 with a set of idents featuring people playing the UTV jingle on various musical instruments. Some of the idents featured UTV personalities.
  • 2000 On 1 July 2000, the day when programme presentation and commercials shown on the four main UK television channels switched from the 4:3 aspect ratio to 14:9 on analogue broadcasts and 16:9 on digital broadcasts, UTV introduced a new set of idents using footage from the 1996 "landscape" idents, the break filler films used on its short-lived sister channel TV You, and a UTV corporate advertisement where a shoal of fish grouped together to form the UTV logo. This collection of idents were the first to be created and transmitted in 16:9 aspect ratio, on digital terrestrial and digital cable providers. This was the last set of idents which used the 1993 logo, and they were phased out shortly before Christmas 2000.
  • 2001 The 1993 logo is replaced with a similar flatter and wider logo. The "U" is rendered in yellow on a blue oblong, with the "TV" in red on a yellow oblong contained inside the blue oblong. This remains the present station logo. Its first use was in UTV's Christmas ident in 2000.[67] In January 2001,[68] a new series of idents shot at various locations across Northern Ireland, including the Silent Valley Reservoir in County Down, Great Victoria Street in Belfast and the Hands Across the Divide sculpture at the Craigavon Bridge, Derry. This was complemented by further idents in 2002 featuring people walking towards the camera and touching the screen with their fingers to make the UTV logo appear.
  • 2002 On 28 October 2002, most of the regional ITV companies adopted a common look with the ITV1 brand replacing the various station logos. This was marked with a series of idents showing actors, presenters and newsreaders associated with ITV appearing in idents. At the same time, UTV decided to adopt these idents, but replaced the ITV logo with their own station logo. The soundtrack used on these idents was identical to those heard on the ITV network versions.[69] This is the nearest that UTV have come to using identical idents to the rest of the ITV network. Around Christmas 2002, UTV broadcast a similar collection of idents showcasing their own presenting talent, shown in addition to the national idents.[70] By early 2003, the network and local celebrity idents were phased out, and a generic ident showing the UTV logo on an animated blue background was used in all junctions.[70]
  • 2003 UTV replaces its network-inspired graphics in November 2003 with a series landscape films of Northern Ireland in their idents, in the form of a panorama shot as the camera revolved around a location.[71] Among the scenes used in this series of UTV idents included the Mourne Mountains, Enniskillen and Lurgan Park.[72] These idents primarily used one of the ident jingles until 3 November 2005, when UTV reprised its 1993–2002 station jingle.[73]
  • 2006 To coincide with the introduction of a new identity across ITV plc stations on Monday 16 January 2006, UTV replaced its 2003 idents with a brand new set.[74] The new idents featured newly recorded films shot across Northern Ireland, again in the form of panoramas.[74] The landscape films used in these idents were updated in July 2007 and October 2008,[75] with the background of each ident changing from black to white in December 2008.[76] Special variations of the UTV idents were used to promote the 2006 North West 200 event,[77] 2006 Special Olympics,[77] the 2007 Rugby World Cup[78] and the UTV Rewind series.[79] Further updates to this collection of idents have seen new landscape films and changes in the background design.
UTV logo introduced in 1993
  • 1959 The station's first on-screen logo was an oscilloscope pattern made up of seven dot joined together by six lines. The logo animated to a jingle based on the local folk tune The Mountains of Mourne. According to UTV's website, the original logo was designed as part of a competition, and the winner among over 450 entrants was Mr Roy Irwin of Ballycarry.[63]
  • 1970 With the imminent launch of UHF colour broadcasts, Ulster Television redesigned its first logo.[63] – the oscilloscope pattern was retained; but the dots were removed, and the lines were encased in a television-screen shape. Monochrome and colour versions of this ident were produced, the colour using a yellow logo and text on a blue background, which were adopted as the station's colour scheme. UTV's ident at this time did not animate and was not accompanied by a jingle. The logo type introduced on this ident was retained until 1993.
  • 1980 To celebrate their 21st anniversary, UTV commissioned a new ident featuring a model the station logo embedded on four faces of a cube, coated in silver with a pole skewering the top and bottom of the cube. This model was then filmed on video with a black cloth background as it revolved on a turntable. When it appeared on screen, it was accompanied by a synthesised jingle, and the words "Ulster Television" wiped on screen in yellow text. The ident made its on-screen debut on 31 October 1980,[64] and was used until c. September 1988.
  • 1987 In c. 7 September 1987, to coincide with the launch of the stations's new evening magazine programme, Six Tonight, a new ident was used to introduce the programme, featuring a computer animated silver station logo on a blue/green backdrop. After five seconds, the logo faded into the background as the titles of Six Tonight began. This ident, UTV's first attempt at a CGI ident, was later adapted as a temporary station ident in the last few months of 1988, with a video freeze used as the logo sank into the background.
  • 1989 In January 1989 a revised computer animation was introduced and the last to feature the logo first seen in 1970 and the "Ulster Television" name.[65] The ident began with a panning shot over a grey and white plate, with a light blue background at the back. The Ulster Television logo rises out from the plate, and the lines of the oscilloscope pattern are formed with a wipe. In this ident, the lines of the oscilloscope are yellow, with the rest of the logo (the television screen shape) in blue. When the lines are formed, the logo turns and reveals on screen, as a grey banner flies in underneath bearing the words "Ulster Television" and settles underneath the station logo. This ident was accompanied by a new jingle, and was used until 4 June 1993.

Since 1959, Ulster Television have used different logos, or idents on-screen:

Identity and presentation

Regional news programmes

Notable regional programmes

Notable programmes shown on Channel 4

Contributions to series on the ITV network

Notable programmes shown on the ITV network

Current/recent series


On 19 October 2015, UTV Media announced that it would sell its ITV franchise and the UTV brand to ITV plc for £100 million, subject to regulatory approval. ITV CEO Adam Crozier stated that "UTV Television's strategic objectives are closely aligned with our own and we are very pleased that they are joining the ITV family." The acquisition, if approved, will leave STV Group as the only remaining independent owner of ITV franchises. ITV plans to retain the UTV brand in Northern Ireland, and not re-brand it under a standardised name (such as "ITV Northern Ireland"); as such, UTV Media, which will retain its radio properties, will adopt a new name.[2]


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.