Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

UTV cutbacks may hit Julian Simmons

By Ali Gordon

Published 25/07/2016

Julian Simmons
Julian Simmons
Julian Simmons
Janice McAllister back in the day with Julian Simmons

UTV favourite Julian Simmons is facing an uncertain future as the company axes 12 more jobs.

New owners ITV have announced that “playout” of programmes is being shifted from Belfast to London.

And insiders say that could mean that popular continuity presenters like Julian and Gillian Porter will no longer be needed.

ITV has announced that a voluntary redundancy programme is being opened to “minimise the numbers of compulsory redundancies”.

One TV source said: “This move is obviously designed to bring UTV into line with the rest of ITV.

“But the other regions that make up ITV do not use ‘in vision’ continuity presenters, so where that leaves Julian and Gillian remains to be seen.

assets

“If they go, there’s no doubt it will be another big blow for the UTV brand.”

The reorganisation comes six months after it was confirmed that UTV had been taken over by ITV.

The sale was completed in February following a £100 million deal being struck by UTV Media to sell its assets to ITV.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - Saturday 14th June 2013 - Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards. Julian Simmons, Paddy Barnes & Wee Oscar Knox
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - Saturday 14th June 2013 - Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards. Julian Simmons, Paddy Barnes & Wee Oscar Knox
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - Saturday 14th June 2013 - Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards. Pamela Ballantine, Paddy Barnes & Wee Oscar Knox
UTV's Julian Simmons and Cool FM presenter Sonia Mac host Belfast Christmas light switch on

An ITV spokesperson said that the company had been reviewing the UTV business since the acquisition.

He said: “We intend to move playout for the UTV service in Northern Ireland to London where our partner Ericsson already provides this operation for more than a dozen ITV regional services and digital channels, ensuring a consistent and efficient transmission model for all of the ITV-owned Channel 3 licences.”

The spokesperson said that the move was due to take place in the autumn when the 12 jobs would go.

It is understood that the jobs at risk are not newsroom-based, but the shake-up could spell the end for Julian, who is best-known for his hilarious Coronation Street introductions.

The much-loved Belfast broadcaster has become a Northern Ireland icon with many videos and parody memes being made about him online.

He could not be contacted for comment yesterday.

Earlier this month it was announced that troubled Dublin-based broadcaster UTV Ireland was being sold for a second time, this time to Virgin Media for £8.5m.

The channel was launched in January 2015, but by November was warning of a £13 million loss in its first year.

 

 

 

cult hero: Julian Simmons is a hit with Corrie followers

Online Editors

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph