UKTV to launch masterbrand U on 16th July 2024

  • Battle in the Box, Whitstable Pearl series two, Sons of Anarchy and the UK premiere of Orlando Bloom: To the Edge head up launch

  • Brand new original commissions including Outrageous and Bergerac coming in 2025, and first picture released from set of The Marlow Murder Club series two

Thursday 6th June 2024: UKTV has announced that U - its new masterbrand - will launch on 16th July, including a quality line-up of content of nearly 8,500 hours on its free streaming service, an uplift of almost 1,500 hours from the start of the year.

The masterbrand will unite UKTV's family of free-to-air channels becoming U&Dave, U&DRAMA, U&YESTERDAY and U&W. Its free streaming service will transition from UKTV Play to U.

Penny Brough, Chief Marketing Officer, UKTV said,

The launch of U on 16th July is an important step for UKTV, defining our age of transformation. U will present our viewers with an extraordinary range of free quality content, allowing them to connect the dots between the streaming service and our family of TV channels.

Andrea Amey, Chief Digital Officer, UKTV added,

U will be home to almost 8,500 hours of free content, comprising new programming, exclusive shows, award-winning originals and premiere acquisitions. We can't wait to give our viewers even more choice and a service that is easy to navigate, so they can enjoy our free and varied offering.

Alongside viewer favourites, audiences will be able to benefit from new programming around launch, including:

  • Brand new original comedy reality gameshow Battle in the Box (8x60') on U and U&Dave, hosted by Jimmy Carr. Based on a hit Korean format, pairs of comics and celebrities will battle it out for pride, prizes and most importantly, floorspace, in this comedy entertainment and reality hybrid.
  • Second series of Whitstable Pearl (6 x45') will be available as a boxset on U from 16th July before launching on U&DRAMA. The crime drama returns for a new season, following series one record ratings. Pearl Nolan (Kerry Godliman), single mother of a grown son, is a private detective who runs the Whitstable Pearl, a seafood restaurant in the coastal town of Whitstable.
  • Series one to seven of Sons of Anarchy (92x60') the hit American action crime drama, created by Kurt Sutter for FX, starring Charlie Hunnam will launch on U alongside the UK premiere of Orlando Bloom: To the Edge (3x120') which follows actor and adventure enthusiast Orlando Bloom embark on a physical, mental and spiritual journey of self-discovery as he undertakes three extreme sports to push himself to the edge of what's possible. Both shows will premiere on U before airing on U&Dave later in the year.
  • Earlier in the year, UKTV announced that it had licensed Mike (8x30') from Disney Entertainment, which follows the dynamic and controversial story of Mike Tyson. The eight-episode limited series explores the tumultuous ups and downs of Tyson's boxing career and personal life - from being a beloved global athlete to a pariah and back again, and will stream on U, and air later in the year on U&Dave.
  • Other new programming includes SisterS, which sees two women, one from Canada and the other from Ireland discover they are half-sisters and embark on a road trip to find their alcoholic father, and FTA premiere of American scripted comedy sci-fi show Future Man (starring Josh Hutcherson and Seth Rogan).
  • A record tenth series of Bangers & Cash (15x60') on U and U&YESTERDAY following the Mathewson's family-run historic car auction business in Yorkshire. One of U&YESTERDAY's most popular shows, it has spawned a live event - Bangers & Cash Live, with over 15,000 people expected to attend in August.
  • Plus, popular back-catalogue hits such as The Bill and Classic EastEnders.

In recent months, UKTV has also announced a host of new original titles that will launch from the end of this year and throughout early 2025 including:

  • A second series of Robert Thorogood's The Marlow Murder Club (6x60') following the best ever series premiere of the last decade for series one, will launch early next year on U and U&DRAMA. Filming of the next chapter commenced in picturesque Marlow this week, and saw the reunion of Samantha Bond (Judith Potts), Jo Martin (Suzie Harris), Cara Horgan (Becks Starling) and Natalie Dew (DCI Tanika Malik).
  • A re-imagining of Bergerac (6x60') which sees Detective Jim Bergerac return to the iconic setting of Jersey in the new series, written by Toby Whithouse, will air in 2025 on U and U&DRAMA.
  • Outrageous (6x60') is the true story of six sisters who refused to play by the rules and whose often-scandalous lives made headlines around the world. Set against the gathering storm clouds of the 1930s, Outrageous will bring the full, uncensored story of the Mitford sisters to the screen for the first time in 2025 (U and U&DRAMA).
  • U and U&Dave are also set for a third series of World's Most Dangerous Roads (6x60').
  • U and U&W will be joined by a fourth series of Emma Willis: Delivering Babies (6x60') plus new true crime shows including Back From The Dead: Who Kidnapped Me? (3x60') and Lies, Deceit & Betrayal (6x60').

Last year, UKTV announced the launch of four Free Ad-supported Streaming TV (FAST) channels on Samsung TV Plus, Amazon Freevee and Pluto TV, which marked the broadcaster's debut in the FAST market. These channels also launched on Virgin earlier this year. As part of the new masterbrand, UKTV's FAST channels will be rebranded, with UKTV Play Heroes becoming U&Real Heroes; UKTV Play Laughs will move to U&Laughs; UKTV Play Full Throttle will transition to U&Transport; and UKTV Play Uncovered will be known as U&The Past.

UKTV has an ambitious growth strategy, focussed on supercharging its streaming service and growing its linear channels. A key driver of this is connecting and better leveraging the brands within UKTV's estate. The launch of this new masterbrand supports this strategy by making it easier for users to navigate both online and on-air. The simplicity of the new U brand architecture also retains the names and equity of the existing channel brands that are well-known and loved across the UK.

Consumers can subscribe to U here.

For more information, please contact:

Ben Duncan, Consumer Publicity Manager, UKTV

Charlotte Scott, Head of Consumer Communications, UKTV

Pictures here:

Notes to Editors

Programming on U

U will become home to thousands of hours of free content from a raft of genres, including: drama (Annika, Holby City, Madam Secretary, Sister Boniface Mysteries, A Million Little Things), comedy (Meet the Richardsons, Red Dwarf, Live at the Apollo, Mock the Week, We Are Not Alone), entertainment (Big Zuu's Big Eats, David Mitchell's Outsiders, QI, Mel Giedroyc: Unforgivable, World's Most Dangerous Roads) and factual entertainment (Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over, MasterChef Australia, Katie Piper: Jailhouse Mums, Secrets of the London Underground, Bangers & Cash). U will also give viewers access to exclusive shows, award-winning originals, premiere acquisitions and iconic programmes from the BBC.

About UKTV

UKTV has been at the forefront of branded television for over 30 years, entertaining the nation with programmes they love. Its leading brands - Dave, Gold, W, Drama, Alibi, Eden and Yesterday - span comedy, entertainment, natural history, factual and scripted drama, and are delivered to audiences through UKTV Play, Sky, Virgin Media, Now Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, Freeview and Freesat; and to Irish viewers through Sky, Virgin Media, Eir, Vodafone and NOW. Channel & content availability varies by platform. UKTV's content is also available to UK viewers via dedicated FAST channels on Samsung TV Plus, Amazon Freevee, Virgin and Pluto TV. UKTV is a significant investor in British creativity and is committed to working with new and established writers, directors and programme-makers. UKTV is part of BBC Studios, the UK's most-awarded production company, a world-class distributor with international branded services, and a commercial subsidiary of the world's leading public service broadcaster, the BBC. | | @uktvpress