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UTV (formerly Ulster Television) is a television channel based in Northern Irelandmarker. The channel is the Channel 3 licensee for the Northern Ireland region and is operated by UTV plc, a wholly owned subsidiary of UTV Media.

Reception

UTV can be watched via the following methods:

Terrestrial



The main transmitters which broadcast UTV's analogue and digital signals are based at Divismarker outside Belfastmarker, Limavadymarker in County Londonderry and Brougher Mountain in County Tyrone. Each transmitter has a series of relay stations.

Although UTV is licensed to broadcast in the Northern Irelandmarker region, UTV's terrestrial broadcasts can be received in parts of the Republic of Irelandmarker (mainly in the Northern and Midland areas), South West Scotlandmarker, the Isle of Manmarker, North Walesmarker and North West Englandmarker.

Satellite



Cable and MMDS

  • Virgin Media: 103 via 16:9 SDTV (Northern Ireland only)
  • UPC Ireland (Chorus NTL): 110 via 16:9 SDTV (Republic of Ireland only) on digital cable and MMDS services, various frequencies on analogue cable services


Analogue terrestrial switch-off

In 2012, UTV will cease broadcasting on the analogue transmitter network.. 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. It is as yet uncertain exactly when UTV's analogue broadcasts will cease.

History

The governing body of the Independent Television network, the Independent Television Authority, first advertised the franchise for Northern Ireland in September 1958. 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 ABC Television to sell advertising time and to maintain their studio premises at a former hemstitching warehouse in Havelock Housemarker on the Ormeau Roadmarker in Belfast.

Ulster Television went on air at 4.45pm on Saturday 31 October 1959. The station's opening was overseen by Lord Wakehurst, then Governor of Northern Ireland, and Sir Laurence Olivier introduced the opening ceremony. The station's first night of programming, introduced by duty announcer Adrienne McGuill, featured networkded series such as The Adventures of Robin Hood and 77 Sunset Strip, 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".

The following evening, UTV contributed a play to the Armchair Theatre series, A Shilling for the Evil Day, produced in association with ABC Television. 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.

Initially, Ulster Television's programmes would only be available to viewers served by the Black Mountainmarker transmitter. However, it was reported on the station's first night of programmes that Dublinmarker residents had called the station to report poor picture reception. Coverage of UTV spread to Western areas of Northern Ireland when the Strabanemarker transmitter opened in February 1963.

Ulster Television's UHF PAL colour service was launched with the opening of the UHF transmitter Divismarker in September 1970. This was followed by two additional transmitters at Limavady (opened in 1975) and Brougher Mountain (in 1978). The station was the last in the ITV network to begin 24-hour transmission in 1988.

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. 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.

Programmes

Current/upcoming series





  • The Fabulous Food Adventure
  • Glorious Gardens
  • Lesser Spotted Ulster


  • RPM
  • The Seven Thirty Show
  • Ultimate Ulster


Notable programmes shown on the ITV network



Contributions to series on the ITV network



  • Highway
  • ITV Playhouse (Boatman Do Not Tarry, 8 July 1968)
  • Morning Worship
  • Sounds of Britain
  • The Time, The Place
  • Treasures in Store


Notable programmes shown on Channel 4

  • The Irish R.M. (co-production with RTÉmarker; 1983-1985, 3 series)
  • Ulster Landscapes (1983)
  • Trauma (1983)
  • Make It Pay (1983-1985)


  • A Seat Among the Stars: The Cinema in Ireland (1984)
  • How Does Your Garden Grow? (1986-1992)
  • The Last of a Dyin' Race (one-off drama; 1987)
  • God's Frontiermen (4 part drama series; 1989)


Notable regional programmes

  • All Mixed Up
  • Counterpoint
  • Farming Ulster
  • (UTV Live) Insight
  • Jenny Bristow cookery series
  • Kelly


  • McGilloway's Way
  • McKeever
  • School Around the Corner
  • UTV Life
  • UTV School Choir of the Year


Regional news programmes

  • Roundabout (1959-1964)
  • Newsview (1964-1969)
  • UTV Reports/Reports (1969-1978)


  • Good Evening Ulster (1979-1987)
  • Six Tonight/Ulster Newstime (1987-1992)
  • UTV Live (1993 to date)


Idents

Since 1959, Ulster Television have used 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.
  • 1988 The 1980 ident was eventually replaced by a new ident using computer animation, the last to feature the logo first seen in 1969/1970 and the "Ulster Television" name, in late 1988. 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.
  • 1996 UTV introduced a new series of idents in October 1996, which showcased scenic locations in Northern Ireland. These include the Giant's Causewaymarker, a waterfall at Glenarriff, and Portaferrymarker 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.
  • 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. In January 2001, a new series of idents shot at various locations across Northern Ireland, including the Silent Valley Reservoirmarker in County Down, Great Victoria Street in Belfast and the Hands Across the Divide sculpture at the Craigavon Bridgemarker, 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. 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 Mountainsmarker, Enniskillenmarker and Lurganmarker Park. These idents primarily used one of the ident jingles until 3 November 2005, when UTV reprised its 1993-2002 station jingle.
  • 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. The new idents featured newly-recorded films shot across Northern Ireland, again in the form of panoramas. The landscape films used in these idents were updated in July 2007 and October 2008, with the background of each ident changing from black to white in December 2008. Special variations of the UTV idents were used to promote the 2006 North West 200 event, 2006 Special Olympics, the 2007 Rugby World Cup and the UTV Rewind series. Further updates to this collection of idents have seen new landscape films and changes in the background design.


Continuity announcers

Current announcers

UTV's in-vision continuity team (L - R: Julian Simmons, Gillian Porter, Pamela Ballantine, Rose Neill)
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.

UTV's continuity team, apart from Simmons, also present UTV Live news bulletins, usually at weekends and during the late night news programme, UTV Live Tonight. Additionally, the UTV announcers may also voice the weather forecasts which immediately follow news bulletins. Ballantine often presents weather bulletins in-vision.

References

  1. About ITV
  2. Ofcom: Television Broadcast Licensing
  3. UTV Corporate
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  6. Brougher Mountain on mb21 Transmission Gallery
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  9. When is the Digital TV Switchover? The different regions and dates on Digital UK; accessed 5 January 2008
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  71. UTV Today: 2009 Scenery Idents - About These Idents; accessed 4 January 2009
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  80. UTV Today: In-Vision Weather Forecasts; accessed 26 March 2008


See also



External links




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