Advanced Television

UKTV’s U masterbrand launching July 16

June 6, 2024

UKTV has announced that U – its new masterbrand – will go live on July 16th, uniting UKTV’s family of free-to-air channels which will become 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 at UKTV, commented: “The launch of U on July 16th 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 at 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 watch new programming around launch, including:

  • New original comedy reality gameshow Battle in the Box 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.
  • The second season of crime drama Whitstable Pearl will be available as a boxset on U from July 16th before launching on U&Drama.
  • Seasons one to seven of Sons of Anarchy the hit US drama, created by Kurt Sutter for FX, starring Charlie Hunnam will launch on U alongside the UK premiere of Orlando Bloom: To the Edge 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 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. It 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 tenth season of Bangers & Cash on U and U&Yesterday following the Mathewson’s family-run historic car auction business in Yorkshire.
  • 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 season of Robert Thorogood’s The Marlow Murder Club (6×60’) following the best ever series premiere of the last decade for season one, will launch early next year on U and U&DRAMA. Filming of the next chapter has commenced in Marlow, 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 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 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, the six-episode series will bring the full, uncensored story of the Mitford sisters to the screen for the first time in 2025  on U and U&Drama.
  • U and U&Dave are also set for a third season of World’s Most Dangerous Roads.
  • U and U&W will be joined by a fourth season of Emma Willis: Delivering Babies plus new true crime shows including Back From The Dead : Who Kidnapped Me? and Lies, Deceit & Betrayal.

In August 2023, UKTV announced the launch of four Free Ad-supported Streaming TV (FAST) channels on Samsung TV Plus, Amazon Freevee and Pluto TV. 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.

In a press statement, UKTV said: “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”.

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