UKTV reveals commissioning ambitions after 2017 successes


Tuesday 23 January 2018

Award-winning broadcaster UKTV today announced a significant increase in commissions following the success of its 2017 UKTV Originals slate. The network saw record viewing figures in 2017, including Gold enjoying its highest ever ratings for Murder On The Blackpool Express and UKTV Originals making up eight of Dave's top ten rating shows.

UKTV will increase its total of commissioned hours by around a third from independent producers in 2018 versus 2017. UKTV is also expanding its co-productions and moving into commissioning drama for the first time.

The first new format to be revealed, for UKTV's entertainment channel Dave, is Jon Richardson: Ultimate Worrier (8x60"), a new comedy format hosted by obsessive worrier and organiser Jon Richardson, as he attempts to analyse, assess and log every single one of his many, many worries. Will his wife replace him with a sex robot? Will he ever make a jacket potato as good as the one he made in May 2009? What the hell are we going to do about Morrissey? Which of his worries should he worry about the most? To help him with this colossal task, Jon is joined each week in studio by comedians and a range of experts. Using a mix of bespoke VT, funny studio set-pieces and archive Jon and his guests will explore exactly how severe each worry actually is before filing it accordingly in Jon's very own 'Worriedness Index' - a high-tech Minority Report-style digital log of every anxiety in existence. Produced by Talkback Thames, the series has been commissioned by UKTV senior commissioning editor Iain Coyle.

Also new for 2018 is another big-name talent-led format: Romesh Ranganathan becomes Judge Romesh (10x30') for Dave, holding court over real-life disputes, casting his trademark acerbic wit over each. Each week Romesh will preside over genuine disagreements and mete out comic judgement in his own inimitable style. Judge Romesh brings all the drama of a court room with a triple-dose of funny. Produced by Hungry Bear Media, it's commissioned for UKTV by Joe McVey, commissioning executive.

Extending UKTV Original factual commissions As well as planning to significantly increase comedy entertainment shows, UKTV is also ramping up its factual commissions with two new documentary series, the first Cop Car Workshop (10x60') from Blink Films where, for the first time, viewers will see inside one of the Britain's leading police car workshops.

Following the car-mad team at Cheshire Police as they build bespoke vehicles and repair ones that have been out in the field - from cars to lorries to bikes to boats, the series is a mix of dramatic footage of modern-day police work and a human look at the characters in the workshop as they outfit the vehicles in the very latest technology and equipment. Cop Car Workshop is executively produced for UKTV by Joe McVey, commissioning executive, for Dave.

Also commissioned is Inside the Vets (15x60'), building out W's Popular Inside the....franchise from Brown Bob Productions. This brand-new documentary series follows the daily challenges faced by the dedicated team at one of Britain's busiest veterinary clinics looking after some extraordinary animals. Inside The Vets will use fixed-rig cameras to give a unique perspective of the incredible work undertaken by veterinary surgeon Clive Munn and his team of specialists in Kent, who go to extreme lengths to care for some of Britain's most exotic pets and promises to be heart-warming television. Commissioned by deputy director of commissioning, Hilary Rosen with UKTV commissioning executive Natalie Rose as executive producer.

Inside the Ambulance, a fixed rig show filmed with paramedics of the West Midlands Ambulance Service, attracted audiences on W of 276k.

These factual shows sit alongside other UKTV Originals Helicopter ER on Really and Cops UK: Body Cam Squad, from Raw Cut Television, which has also been commissioned for a third and fourth series. The series is commissioned by deputy director of commissioning, Hilary Rosen and executive produced for UKTV by Arch Dyson.

All of the commissions have been ordered by Richard Watsham, director of commissioning and Steve North, genre general manager, comedy and entertainment.

Richard Watsham commented,

2018 will see UKTV operate increasingly as a full-service broadcaster, with year on year growth in the volume of original hours and the breadth of genres we cover. Expanding our output further allows us to work with a larger than ever pool of on and off-screen talent and provide some of Britain's best producers a different route to get their ideas to air.

We're particularly excited to be working with Jon Richardson and Romesh Ranganathan, two fantastic Taskmaster alumni, who will help us continue to lead in the development of bold, new comedy entertainment formats. With another significant push into original programming this is a genuine statement of ambition for UKTV.

January Schedule
The new commissions join the growing slate of UKTV Originals. January saw the launch of high-octane gameshow The Wave fronted by Rylan Clarke-Neal on W, social media star Yianni Charalambous launched his first show, Yianni: Supercar Customiser and Unspun with Matt Forde returns to Dave with an extra three episodes commissioned and a brand new extended in-depth version, Unspun XL with Matt Forde.

Victoria Wood retrospective dinnerladies diaries airs on Gold in March, while Really's factual slate of UKTV Originals includes all new firefighter access documentary, Into the Fire - and next month W's Celebrity Haunted... franchise returns with Christine Lampard and Matt Richardson at the helm.

UKTV Originals

For more information, please contact:

Justine Bower, Director of Comms, Consumer & Social

Tessa Matchett, Head of Network Comms

About UKTV
UKTV is a commercial broadcaster reaching over 40m viewers every month. The award-winning independent has eleven imaginative brands - UKTV Play, Dave, W, Gold, Alibi, Yesterday, Drama, Really, Home, Eden and Good Food. These include the two most popular non-PSB channels in the UK and account for nearly 10% of the British commercial TV market. The network delivers inspired channels to audiences through Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, BT, TalkTalk, YouView, Freesat, Amazon Fire and UKTV Play, and distributes its highly valued original programmes to 200 territories. Now celebrating over 20 years at the forefront of digital television, UKTV - an independent commercial joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc. (SNI) - is proud to be the first British television broadcaster in The Sunday Times top 100 companies list. | | @uktvpress