Ulster TV - Channel 9
Some early local UTV programmes
UTV first Outside Broadcast - May 1960
TAM ratings for Ulster TV
Ulster TV schedules
An Ulster TV play

Chairman- Lord Antrim. Production Manager- Hubert R Wilmot. Managing Director- William MacQuitty. General Manager- RB Henderson. Programme controller- SE Reynolds, an experienced TV producer and impresario. He left after a year. His last contribution was the panel game Out of the Hat, not exactly groundbreaking, as he had previously, when with BBC Radio, devised the format in 1939!

Rival bidders for the franchise had been Northern Ireland Television Ltd, headed by the Duke of Abercorn who joined the UTV Board in 1960.
Initially temporary headquarters were in Donegall Street Belfast. Their permanent headquarters in Havelock House Ormeau Road were ready in July 1959.
Broadcasts were on Channel 9 from UTV's Black Mountain site, with an aerial 1,687 above sea level.

Test transmission began on August 24th 1959, with the first message heard being recorded by Group Theatre actor Maurice O'Callaghan. Opening Night was on 31st October 1959. Originally ABC was to have been the main programme supplier.
Finnacial results exceeded expectations in the first year. A trading profit of 50,903 was announced after six months on air, after depreciation etc the taxable profit was 36,306.

Preview (1961-2) was UTV's cinema preview show. On and from Monday June 26th 1961 it was screened in the peak viewing slot of 8pm and host Robert McLernon was joined periodically by Jimmy Greene to encompass theatre productions. Interviews with British film stars included Dave King, Charlie Drake, Cliff Richard, Robert Morley, and Dennis Price. A spokesman added, "it is also hoped to bring more stars of the Big Screen to Belfast specially to appear on the programme"
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Ulster Television Outside Broadcast

UTV's first ever outside broadcast was something of an impromptu novelty affair.
On Saturday May 21st 1960, even though the company then had no OB unit, a snap decision was taken to film the Lord Mayor's Show as it passed by UTV headquarters. The idea was simple. Cameraman Alan Hailes was ordered to wheel out a studio camera on to the pavement, where it was erected on a temporary platform.
UTV's sportscaster Ernest Strathdee commentated on the 45 minute procession of eighty decorated floats for the Let's Go broadcast.
The crowds apparently "hindered Strathdee in his descriptions," not surprising as the programme was planned at the last minute, so not everyone was aware of the "opportunist experimental nature of the venture."

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UTV's local news magazine was titled Roundabout.
It contained interviews and features on local and visiting personalities including starting on January 28th 1960 with a weekly visit to prominent towns. "We hope to mirror the life of each town we visit," explained Spencer Reynolds, UTV Programme Controller. "We believe that such programmes in such a tightly knit community as Ulster will be of interest to a large number of viewers." The first programme went to Portadown, with mayor WH Wolsey.
Among personalities making special appearances on Roundabout were: December 7th 1959: Wilfred McNeilly, whose comments were in verse. December 15th 1959: Russ Conway, "far too brief," said critic Trevor Hanna. January 1960: Ottilie Patterson, some viewers complained of her mimed performance. Feb 25th 1960 Sally McNally, sister of Eileen Donaghy.
One anonymous critic, no fan of Roundabout, declared of its early offerings, "it frequently creaks and groans, a lot of its interviewing is amateurish and sometimes protracted out of all proportion to its value or interest, some of the musical items should not have got past the audition room, too much is being asked of the hosts, Ivor Mills and Anne Gregg."
Lessons for Father (December 22nd 1959) was UTV's first major programme they made, after Roundabout. Ivor Mills was shown how to carve a turkey by chef Samuel James Young, after Miss Dorothy Lytle demonstrated how to cook it.
A Bit O' Crack (Thursday March 17th 1960)- The title was an Ulster colloquialism for A Cosy Chat. This was UTV's first celebration for St Patrick's Day. Introduced by Belfast actor and author Charles Witherspoon, this was described as "a fireside stew of music, dancing and storytelling."
Out of the Hat (Friday August 5th 1960)- Chairman: James Boyce. Two teams of four speakers each speak on subjects drawn out of the hat. The chairman decided which group talked "with the keenest humour and the best sense," inviting them to return to compete in the following week's programme
Teatime With Tommy (weekdays from April 30th 1962, 6.06-6.20pm) - with Tommy James. His guests included Ruby Murray, James Johnston, Foster Davidson, Nita Norry, Eileen Donaghy and Tommy Moran.
In the summer of 1966, seven weeks were devoted to sixty local performers, new to tv, in effect it was Ulster's version of a talent show. Screened at 6.15pm, each week night, an established local singer was included every week, the first being Eileen Donaghy. Music was supplied by the Tommy Jones Quartet
UTV were pioneers in introducing the first university of the air. Midnight Oil (1962) was a series of 42 university lectures. One programme on Tues Nov 27th was on Greek drama, explaining the principles was Professor George Huxley of Queen's University Belfast, this anticipated A-R's broadcast of Electra the following day. However the series was not deemed a success, and a second adult education series in 1963 was titled The Inquiring Mind, this achieved better TAM ratings.
Parade began on April 6th 1964, a 45 minute miscellaney of local interest. A special item was promised each evening, as well as an "on tour musical spot," Tommy James Trio providing backing. A spot for 'new' personalities was also on offer. Compere was Jimmy Green, aided by Paddy Scott, Brian Waddell, and Ernest Strathdee. Directors were John Scholz-Conway- for the music spot, Mike 'Teatime with Tommy' Kent, and Derek 'Midnight Oil' Bailey.
The Orange and The Green - a documentary written and narrated by Brian Connell. Shown on UTV April 6th 1966 and networked to Border, Westward, Channel, and Tyne Tees. It was shown on Apr 8th by TWW, Apr 12th by Rediffusion and Anglia, and Apr 15th by STV.

Ulster TV's eight birthday was celebrated in October 1967 with a specially commissioned one hour play Boatman Do Not Tarry by John D Stewart. It starred Ronald Adam, Elizabeth Begley and JG Devlin. It was eventually networked in July the following year. Another special was a programme celebrating Dean Smith, Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral Dublin. Using Swift's own words, it was only revealed at the end that these were written 300 years ago, "terribly relevant to our modern situation."
Perhaps Ulster's most ambitious plan was their announcement "to rival Granada's Coronation Street," planning to introduce their own serial with a tentative launch date of autumn 1968. Did it ever happen?

Trivia: Val Doonican made his tv debut on UTV in 1961. Jane Rossington (Jill in Crossroads) was Ulster TV's guest announcer during March 1965.
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Ulster TV Programmes for Monday November 23rd 1959
2.43 Schools
4.45 Small Time
5 Seeing Sport
5.25 Fury
5.55 News
6.06 Roundabout
6.28 Weather
6.30 Robin Hood
7.00 I Love Lucy
7.30 Double Your Money
8.00 Dial 999
8.30 Wagon Train
9.25 News
9.35 Film: Rembrandt
11.30 Epilogue

Ulster TV Programmes for Monday July 4th 1960
4.45 Small Time
5 Out With The Services
5.25 Your Turn
5.55 News
6.06 Roundabout
6.28 Weather
6.30 White Hunter
7.00 Dial 999
7.30 Criss Cross Quiz
8.00 The Love of Mike
8.30 Wagon Train
9.25 News
9.35 Deadline Midnight
10.35 In My Opinion
11.05 Mark Saber
11.35 Close

Ulster TV Programmes for Monday August 14th 1961
5 Seeing Sport
5.25 Fury
5.55 News
6.06 Adventures of Aggie
6.35 Roundabout
7.00 Criss Cross Quiz
7.30 Coronation St
8.00 Preview (magazine)
8.30 Wagon Train
9.25 News
9.35 Harpers W1
10.30 Look Here (discussion)
11 Lawman
Epilogue

Ulster TV Programmes for Tuesday Nov 27th 1962
2.35 Schools
4.40 Ulster News
4.45 Small Time
5 Tuesday Rendezvous
5.54 Weather
5.55 News; Ulster News
6.08 Tea-Time with Tommy
6.25 Newsview
7.00 University Challenge
7.30 Ward Ten
8.00 No Hiding Place
9.00 News
9.15 Play of the Week: Haven in Sunset
10.45 Midnight Oil: Greek drama
11.15 Decoy
End the Day

Ulster TV Programmes for Monday Dec 23rd 1963
4.40 Ulster News Headlines
4.45 Small Time
5 Seeing Sport
5.25 Ivanhoe
5.55 News
6.06 Tea-Time with Tommy
6.20 Ulster News
6.30 All Our Yesterdays
7.00 Discs a Gogo with Billy Fury
7.30 Coronation Street
8.00 No Hiding Place
8.55 News
9.10 Naked City
10.05 World In Action
10.34 News Headlines
10.36 Celtic Challenge- with George Woodcock
11.05 End the Day

Ulster TV programmes Friday May 29th 1964
2.35 Schools
4.45 Small Time
5.00 Five O'Clock Club
5.25 Supercar; Weather
5.55 ITN News; Ulster News
6.15 Parade; 6.58 Ulster News
7.00 Take Your Pick
7.30 Ward 10
8.00 Bus Stop
8.55 ITN News
9.10 The Odd Man
10.10 Putting On The Donegan
10.40 Ready Steady Go!
11.25 News
11.27 Loretta Young Show
End the Day; Close

Ulster TV Programmes for Saturday May 1st 1965
12.45 News
12.50 World of Sport: FA Cup Final; Wrestling
5.15 Mr Piper
5.45 News
5.50 Thank your Lucky Stars
6.35 Francie and Josie
7.05 Bonanza
8.00 No Time for Sergeants
8.25 Mainly Millicent
9.00 News
9.10 Gideon's Way
10.10 Public Eye
11.05 On the Braden Beat
11.30 Weather; End the Day

Ulster TV programmes Mon June 27th 1966
1.40 Wimbledon
4.36 News
4.40 Romper Room
5.00 Littlest Hobo
5.25 Action
5.55 ITN News
6.06 Toon Time
6.10 News; Weather; Roundabout
6.35 Crossroads
7.00 All Our Yesterdays
7.30 Coronation Street
8.00 Love Story
8.55 ITN News
9.10 Peyton Place
9.40 Seven Deadly Sins
10.40 Farming Ulster
11.13 News
11.15 Dateline
11.25 End the Day
11.30 Weather; Close

Ulster TV programmes Thurs July 27th 1967
4.45 News
5.00 Disney Wonderland
5.25 Danger Island
5.55 ITN News
6.06 Lost In Space
6.20 Ulster Today
6.35 Crossroads; Weather
7.00 Peyton Place
7.30 The Saint
8.30 This Week
9.00 Love Story
10.00 News at Ten
10.30 The Avengers
11.30 End the Day
11.35 Weather and Close

Ulster TV Programmes for Wednesday July 17th 1968
4.40 Sean the Leprechaun
4.55 Ulster News Headlines
5.00 Robin Hood
5.25 Sexton Blake
5.55 News
6.09 Crossroads
6.30 My Name's McGooley, What's Yours
6.57 Ulster News
7.00 With Bird, Will Travel
7.30 Coronation Street
8.00 Love Story
9.00 Half Hour Story
9.30 Cinema
10.00 News at Ten
10.30 Gideon's Way
11.25 Weather

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In 1960 Ulster were the youngest of the ITV companies, so shows like I Love Lucy were being screened retrospectively. I find the inclusion of Dial 999 the most fascinating. Incredible that this series did better than that otherwise all-conquering No Hiding Place, which fails to appear in Ulster's Top programmes (was it shown?)

Ulster TV TAM ratings
Opening week Nov 1959
1 Armchair Theatre 85%
2 Robin Hood 79%
3 Introduction to UTV 72%
4 London Palladium 70%
5 Saturday Spectacular 66%
6= Boy Meets Girls 64%
6= 77 Sunset Strip
8 The Flying Doctor 61%
9 Jungle Boy 60%
10= African Patrol 59%
10= Tomahawk/ & Movie
Top BBC= Laramie (31%)

TAM ratings w/e 26 June 1960
(Ulster TV area)

1= Delfont's Sunday Show 67
1= Armchair Mystery Theatre 67
3 Cheyenne 64
4 I Love Lucy 62
5 Ward 10 (June 21) 61
6 Double Your Money 60
6= 21 Days (Movietime) 60
6= Maverick 60
6= Dial 999 60
10= Wagon Train 59
10= Ward 10 (June 24) 59

TAM Top Ten for Ulster TV area Week ending Aug 6th 1961
1= Abracadabra 68%
1= Rawhide
3 Highway Patrol 64%
4 Ward 10 (Aug 1) 61%
5= Gunslinger 60%
5= Boyd QC
5= The PM (BBC 16% UTV 44%)
8 Beat the Devil film 59%
9= Wagon Train 57%
9= Harpers Weat One
Top BBC: Tenderfoot 41%

TAM ratings w/e 22nd Apr 1962
1 Coronation Street (Apr 16th) 66
2 Coronation Street (Apr 18th) 65
3= Take Your Pick 61
3= Gunsmoke
5 OSS 59
6 Take a Letter 57
7= Preview (UTV) 54
7= Find the Singer
9 Double Your Money 52
10= The Deputy 51
10= Bootsie and Snudge, 87 Precinct
Top BBC programme with 46% rating:
Wells Fargo

Ulster TV TAM ratings w/e 25 Aug 1963

1 Coronation Street (Aug 21) 66%
2 Coronation Street (Aug 19) 64%
3 Checkmate 60%
4= Ward 10 (Aug 20) 53%
4= Bonanza
6 Naked City 52%
7 Take a Letter 51%
8 No Hiding Place 49%
9= Errol Flynn Theatre 48%
9= Ward 10 (Aug 23)

Top BBC= Lorna Doone (40%)

TAM ratings w/e 11th Oct 1963
1/2 Coronation St (Oct 9th/7th) 68/67
3 London Palladium Show 63
4 Emergency Ward 10 (Oct 11th) 61
5= Take A Letter 60
5= Take Your Pick 60
7 Double Your Money 59
8 Greatest Show on Earth 58
9 Ward 10 (Oct 8th) 57
10 Discs a Gogo (TWW) 55
Top BBC programmes with 39 rating: Dick
Powell Theatre, Soccer Ireland v Scotland
and Fun on a Weekend (film)

Ulster TV area TAM ratings w/e 24 Nov 1963
1= Coronation Street (Nov 18) 76%
1= Conservative Party Broadcast
3 Double Your Money 71%
3= Tribute to President Kennedy (BBC)
5 Coronation Street (Nov 20) 69%
6 Take Your Pick 68%
7 Dickie Henderson Show 65%
8 Discs A Go-Go 61%
9 London Palladium Show 60%
10= No Hiding Place 57%
10= Take A Letter

TAM ratings w/e 8 May 1966
for the Ulster TV region

1 Danger Man 61%
2= Coronation Street (May 4th) 60
2= No Hiding Place
4= Double Your Money 58
4= Crossroads (May 4th)
6 Ward 10 (May 6th) 57
7= Crossroads (May 6th)
7= Ready Steady Go!
9 Association Football (BBC) 55
10 Crossroads (May 1st) 54

UTV TAM ratings w/e 2 Oct 1966
1 Take Your Pick 68%
2 Crossroads (Sept 26th) 63
3= Crossroads (Sept 27th) 62
3= F Troop
5 Cinema 61
6= Double Your Money 60
6= London Palladium Show
8= Ulster Movie: The Magnet 59
8= Peyton Place (Sept 27th)
8= Crossroads (Sept 28/30)
8= The Baron
Top BBC High Adventure Film 50

Ulster TV TAM ratings w/e 26 Nov 1967

1 Hello There (Ulster Nov 22) 65%
2 Take Your Pick 60%
3= The Rifleman 58%
3= Flashpoint (Ulster Nov 24)
5 Coronation Street (Nov 20) 57%
6 Coronation Street (Nov 22) 56%
7= Hello There (Ulster Nov 21) 55%
7= Sportscast (Ulster)
9= University Challenge 54%
9= Man In A Suitcase

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All Souls' Night
The classic Irish play by Joseph Tomelty was announced by UTV as scheduled for transmission in late August 1959 in ABC's Armchair Theatre series. It was to have been a kind of Welcome to the Network, for UTV. The title was changed to A Shilling For The Evil Day, a quote taken from the play. (Thanks to Ian Mcgirr for this info.) It was broadcast on Nov 1st 1959 (Armchair Theatre #3.60). Ian adds that the cast were drawn mainly from the Ulster Group Theatre in Belfast. It was well acted and true to the book.

Perhaps rather ambitious, ahead of their opening, UTV also announced in August 1959 that they had bought the rights to two others local plays, anyone know if the first was ever actually produced for UTV?...
A Lock of the General's Hair, by Jack Loudan, and
Danger Men Working, by John D Stewart. (This latter was shown in Armchair Theatre in May 1961, and still exists.)

UTV's first home grown drama production that came to fruition was Boatman Do Not Tarry on July 8th 1968 by John D Stewart. Director: Derek Bailey

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