22/09/2009

UTV's Birthday To Be Celebrated

Viewers of Ulster Television are to get the chance to celebrate a major broadcasting milestone.

This autumn, the channel celebrates 50 years of broadcasting - a birthday being officially marked on 31 October.

A unique UTV Short Film Festival and special programmes of Ultimate Ulster, Lesser Spotted Ulster, and Your TV – UTV at 50, are among the events in hand.

Michael Wilson, Managing Director, UTV Television said: "As we celebrate our 50th birthday our commitment to Northern Ireland has never been stronger.

"I am delighted that in this increasingly competitive multi-channel world, UTV is still by far the most watched channel in Northern Ireland.

"This Autumn Lesser Spotted Ulster and Ultimate Ulster, the most watched regional programmes in the whole of the ITV network are back, along with a new series Your TV – UTV at 50 to celebrate the past 50 years of UTV and a quirky UTV Short Film Festival to show the best of up and coming local talent in our community," he said.

"Our flagship news UTV Live is the first choice for local viewers and our new late news programme UTV Live Tonight is already the most watched news in its time slot.
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"The Seven Thirty Show is firmly established on Thursday evenings for the latest culture, arts, entertainment, family and celebrity news from around Northern Ireland," the executive continued.

"This Autumn represents a major achievement for UTV in broadcasting history, while the programming may have changed over the past 50 years, the quality and popularity of our schedule remains as strong as ever."

The special series of six programmes Your TV – UTV at 50 will be screened starting on Saturday 31 October at 6pm as this Halloween marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of UTV.

The station began broadcasting at 4.45pm on 31 October 1959 and was introduced to the Northern Ireland viewing public by Sir Laurence Olivier saying: "It is my privilege, my rare privilege; in fact it is my unique privilege to be the first person to appear before you on Ulster Television."

In this series major names that have worked at UTV over the past 50 years remember the events and experiences that helped to shape their careers at UTV and beyond.

The series will feature reminiscences from familiar faces such as Eamonn Holmes, Gordon Burns, Leslie Dawes, Miss Helen from Romper Room, Gerry Kelly, Jackie Fullerton amongst others plus two of the original six presenters from 1959, Adrienne Catherwood and James Greene.

A Short Film Festival will also be screened on UTV comprising of five half hour community dramas from Monday 2 November – Friday 6 November at 11pm.

(BMcC/GK)

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