:"For other uses of the UTV acronym, see UTV (disambiguation)"Infobox ITV franchisee
name = UTV

based = Belfast
area = Northern Ireland
Also available in the Republic of Ireland, Great Britain and elsewhere in Europe
owner = UTV Media plc
airdate = 31 October 1959
captionb =
closeddate =
slogan = It's all about U
replaced =
replacedby =
website = [http://www.u.tv u.tv]

UTV (formerly Ulster Television) is a television channel based in Northern Ireland. The channel is the ITV licensee for the Northern Ireland region [ [http://www.itv.com/aboutitv/ About ITV] ] [ [http://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv/ifi/tvlicensing/c3/ulster/ Ofcom: Television Broadcast Licensing] ] and it is operated by UTV plc, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UTV Media. [ [http://www.utvplc.com/television.asp?sub=au&sublk=cst&fursublk=tele UTV Corporate] ]

At present, UTV is licensed by Ofcom to broadcast the ITV service for Northern Ireland [ [http://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv/ifi/tvlicensing/c3/ulster/ulster.pdf Channel 3 Regional Licence for Northern Ireland; dated 3 October 2006, accessed 5 January 2008] ] until 31 December 2014. [ [http://www.ofcom.org.uk/media/news/2005/06/nr_20050629 Ofcom: Conclusion of the review of Channel 3 and Channel 5 financial terms; dated 29 June 2005, accessed 5 January 2008] ]


UTV can be watched via the following methods:

= Terrestrial =

* Analogue: Normally tuned to 3 (Northern Ireland only)
* Freeview (United Kingdom): 3 (Northern Ireland only) via SDTV

The main transmitters which broadcast UTV's analogue and digital signals are based at Divis outside Belfast [ [http://tx.mb21.co.uk/gallery/divis.php Divis on mb21 Transmission Gallery] ] , Limavady in County Londonderry [ [http://tx.mb21.co.uk/gallery/limavady.php Limavady on mb21 Transmission Gallery] ] and Brougher Mountain in County Tyrone [ [http://tx.mb21.co.uk/gallery/brougher-mountain.php Brougher Mountain on mb21 Transmission Gallery] ] . Each transmitter has a series of relay stations.

Although UTV is licensed to broadcast in the Northern Ireland region, UTV's terrestrial broadcasts can be received across the border mainly in the Northern and Midland areas of the Republic of Ireland, it is also reported that it can be received in areas of South West Scotland, the Isle of Man, North Wales and North West England.


*Freesat: 103 via SDTV
*Sky Digital: 103 (Northern Ireland only) via SDTV
*Astra 2D: 10906GHz, vertical polarisation, 22000 SR, 5/6 FEC [ [http://www.satcodx2.com/0282/eng SatcoDX] ] via SDTV


*Virgin Media: 103 via SDTV (Northern Ireland only)
*UPC Ireland (Chorus NTL): 110 via SDTV (Republic of Ireland only)

Analogue terrestrial switch-off

In 2012, UTV will cease broadcasting on the analogue transmitter network. [ [http://www.digitaluk.co.uk/en/when/ulster.html Information about the Digital TV Switchover in Ulster on Digital UK; accessed 5 January 2008] ] . Along with Meridian Broadcasting, ITV London and Tyne Tees Television, UTV will be one of the last ITV regions to have its analogue signals turned off. [ [http://www.digitaluk.co.uk/en/when.html When is the Digital TV Switchover? The different regions and dates on Digital UK; accessed 5 January 2008] ] It is as yet uncertain exactly when UTV's analogue broadcasts will cease.


The governing body of the Independent Television network, the Independent Television Authority, first advertised the franchise for Northern Ireland in September 1958. [http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/itw/UTV/history.html Independent TeleWeb: Ulster Television - History] ] Two consortia applied for the franchise; one led by the Duke of Abercorn and supported by The Belfast Telegraph and The Northern Whig, the other led by the Earl of Antrim and supported by The News Letter and Sir Laurence Olivier. 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.

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 London weekday franchise ABC to sell advertising time and to maintain their studio premises at Havelock House on the Ormeau Road in Belfast.

Ulster Television went on air at 4.45pm on 31 October 1959. [http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/imported/article927170.ece Belfast Telegraph, "Flashback... Ulster Television's opening night, October 31, 1959"] ; dated 24 July 2004, accessed 17 June 2008] The station's opening was overseen by Lord Wakehurst, then Governor of Northern Ireland, and Sir Laurence Olivier introduced the opening ceremony. On the station's first day, a film of images from across Northern Ireland was shown, as well as networked series The Adventures of Robin Hood and 77 Sunset Strip.Extract from Brum Henderson "Brum: A Life in Television", [http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/imported/article873937.ece Belfast Telegraph, "Exclusive: My life on the box"] ; dated 4 October 2003, accessed 17 June 2008] Olivier delivered the station's first epilogue, an excerpt from Joseph Addison's "The Spacious Firmament". The following evening, UTV contributed a play to the Armchair Theatre series, "A Shilling for the Evil Day".

At launch, Ulster Television employed 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. [Extract from Brum Henderson "Brum: A Life in Television", from [http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/imported/article873937.ece Belfast Telegraph, "Exclusive: My life on the box"] ; dated 4 October 2003, accessed 17 June 2008]

Initially, Ulster Television's programmes would only be available to viewers served by the Black Mountain transmitter. [http://tx.mb21.co.uk/info/405/itv/n_ireland.shtml mb21: ITV 405 line TV Transmitters - Northern Ireland] ] However, it was reported on the station's first night of programmes that Dublin residents had called the station to report poor picture reception. Coverage of UTV spread to Western areas of Northern Ireland when the Strabane transmitter opened in February 1963.

Ulster Television's UHF PAL colour service was launched with the opening of the UHF transmitter Divis in September 1970. This was followed by two additional transmitters at Limavady (opened in 1975) and Brougher Mountain (in 1978).

At the company's Annual General Meeting in Belfast on 26 May 2006, the registered company name was changed from 'Ulster Television plc' to 'UTV plc'. The company believed that the existing name no longer reflected the full scope of the company's business. [http://www.utvplc.com/uploads/statements/UTVNoticeofAGM2005.pdf] In a further change in October 2007, UTV underwent a corporate reorganisation which saw UTV shareholders swap their shares for shares in a new holding company, UTV Media plc, which took over UTV plc's shareholdings in the new media and radio subsidiaries. UTV plc - the original Ulster Television Limited, now a wholly owned subsidiary of UTV Media - has returned to being solely the operating company for the ITV franchise. [ [http://www.investegate.co.uk/Article.aspx?id=200710151201257084F InvestEgate, UTV Media PLC - First Day of Dealings ] ]


Notable programmes shown on the ITV network

*Password [ [http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/series/26607 BFI Film and TV Database] ; accessed 15 June 2008]

Contributions to series on the ITV network

Regional news programmes


Since they began broadcasting in 1959, Ulster Television have used a series of different logos, or idents on-screen:
*1959 The station's first on-screen logo was an oscilloscope pattern made up of seven dots joined together by six lines. The logo animated to a jingle based on the local folk tune "The Mountains of Mourne".
*1969/1970 With the imminent launch of UHF colour broadcasts, Ulster Television redesigned its first logo - 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, and was used until c. September 1988.
*1987 In c. 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 The 1980 ident was eventually replaced by a new CGI ident, the last to feature the logo first seen in 1969/1970 and the "Ulster Television" name c. January 1989. 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.
*1993 At 18.00 on 4 June 1993, 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. However, the logo was seen on-screen on a few occasions before its official launch; a trailer played out between 23.00 and 00.00 the previous night featuring the new logo was broadcast, and an ident showing both the old and new UTV logos was transmitted on a number of occasions shortly after the launch of the new logo. The logo was retained by the station officially until 2000, but it still sometimes appears on the channel on the jackets of its news reporting staff.
*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 also featured selected 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.
*2000 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, and in January 2001, 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 26 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 ident films. At the same time, UTV decided to adopt these idents, but to replace the ITV logo with their own station logo. The soundtrack used on these idents was identical to those heard on the ITV network versions. 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. 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.
*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. Among the scenes used in this series of UTV idents included the Mourne Mountains, Enniskillen and Lurgan Park. [ [http://www.utvtoday.co.uk/idents/0305_1.html UTV Today: 2003-05 Scenery Idents: Old Soundtrack] ; accessed 1 April 2008] These idents primarily used one of the ident jingles until 3 November 2005, when UTV reprised its 1993-2002 station jingle. [ [http://www.utvtoday.co.uk/idents/0306_1.html UTV Today: 2003-06 Scenery Idents: New Soundtrack] ; accessed 1 April 2008]
*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. [ [http://www.utvtoday.co.uk/idents/0607_about.html UTV Today: 2006-07 Scenery Idents: About These Idents] ; accessed 1 April 2008] The new idents featured newly-recorded films shot across Northern Ireland, again in the form of panoramas. Some of the new panoramas were filmed in time-lapse, with the landscape changing from night to day. Among the featured locations are the Belfast city skyline, the River Lagan and Dundrum, County Down. In March, August and November 2006, more idents were added to the set, bringing the overall total to twenty-five. As part of the 2006 look, UTV have also aired special idents for St. Patrick's Day (see image), the North West 200 and the 2006 Special Olympics Ireland Games. [ [http://www.utvtoday.co.uk/idents/0607_special.html UTV Today: 2006-07 Scenery Idents: Special Idents] ; accessed 1 April 2008]
*2007 On 9 July 2007 a new batch of UTV idents on screen, featuring newly-recorded landscape scenes from across Northern Ireland. The new idents were used initially to promote the "Ultimate Ulster" series. [ [http://www.utvtoday.co.uk/idents/07_about.html UTV Today: 2007 Scenery Idents: Rewind Idents] ; accessed 1 April 2008] For one week in July 2007, UTV promoted the "UTV Rewind" series with four special idents featuring previous Ulster Television idents; those seen in 1959, 1980-1988, 1989-1993 and 1993-1996. [ [http://www.utvtoday.co.uk/idents/07_rewind.html UTV Today: 2007 Scenery Idents: Rewind Idents] ; accessed 1 April 2008]

Continuity announcers

Current announcers

UTV is the only company in the ITV network to broadcast in-vision continuity announcements, where the announcer appears in front of the camera to introduce the evening's programmes. [ [http://www.utvtoday.co.uk/ivc/aug06present.html UTV Today: In-Vision Continuity] ; accessed 26 March 2008] Julian Simmons is the main in-vision announcer at UTV, although Robin Taylor [ [http://www.utvtoday.co.uk/ivc/janaug06_1.html UTV Today: In-Vision Continuity] accessed 26 March 2008] and Marc Mallett [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDDm5yW53dA You Tube: UTV In-Vision Continuity - Marc Mallett (2008)] ; uploaded 17 February 2008, accessed 26 March 2008] can be seen announcing in-vision on occasions. Aidan Browne and Gillian Porter no longer perform in-vision continuity links but did so earlier in their career, while, so far, Sarah Dobson and Lynda Fulford have not presented any in-vision continuity links in their time at UTV.

UTV's continuity team also present "UTV News" bulletins. [ [http://www.utvtoday.co.uk/people/news_utvnews.html UTV Today: UTV News Presenters] ; accessed 26 March 2008] These are usually the 2250 weekday bulletin and at weekends. Additionally, the UTV announcers may also voice the weather forecasts which immediately follow news bulletins. Julian Simmons and Robin Taylor can sometimes be seen presenting weather bulletins in-vision. [ [http://www.utvtoday.co.uk/weather/invision_1.html UTV Today: In-Vision Weather Forecasts] ; accessed 26 March 2008]


See also

* Digital switchover in the United Kingdom
* UTV Media
* UTV2

External links

* [http://u.tv/ u.tv]
* [http://www.625.uk.com/tv_logos/flash/ulster.asp Original animated Ulster Television logo, 1960s] from 625.uk.com (Requires Macromedia Flash version 4 or later).
* [http://www.utvtoday.co.uk/ UTV Today] Tribute site showcasing UTV's range of on-screen presentation
* [http://www2.tv-ark.org.uk/itv_ulster/index.html Ulster Television on TV Ark]
* [http://thetvroom.com/itv Ulster Television on The TV Room]

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