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'Bring back Julian': ITV gaffe as continuity announcer introduces 'Views From Storm Front'

View From Stormont aired on Monday night on UTV


Julian Simmons

Julian Simmons

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Julian Simmons

ITV has been left red-faced after a continuity announcer mistakenly introduced “Views From Storm Front”, rather than View From Stormont.

The gaffe prompted Belfast comedian Tim McGarry to tweet: “Bring back Julian!!!”.

The political programme, hosted by Paul Clark, aired on UTV at 10.45pm on Monday.

However, just as the show was about to go on air, an English ITV continuity announcer said: “Now as the pandemic continues, we have all the latest developments in Views From Storm Front.”

It comes after UTV favourites Julian Simmons and Gillian Porter left the station in November last year.

BBC News’ Ireland correspondent Emma Vardy called the mistake a “Freudian slip” but said it had her in “stitches”.

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Meanwhile, Sky News’ Ireland correspondent David Blevins added that ‘Storm Front’ “might be more apt right now!”

In April, local continuity announcements and branding between programmes were suspended to reduce risk and minimise the number of people in the Belfast office.

ITV said that the changes had worked well and, as a result, it decided to make the modifications permanent.

Continuity announcements have been provided centrally ever since, meaning there is no longer a requirement for local continuity announcers.

Speaking at the time of the departure of Julian and Gillian, Matt Scarff, Director of ITV Creative and ITV Experiences said, it made “sense to align all the nations’ and regions’ continuity announcements and between programme branding”.

Julian, best known for his quirky take on the goings-on of Coronation Street and Emmerdale, and former UTV Life presenter Gillian, said they planned to keep working and were excited to see what the future holds.

Mr Simmons said he felt "very lucky" to have worked for the broadcaster for more than 30 years but said it made sense for the broadcast to centralise it operations.

"In-vision continuity was a real stand-out element of UTV for decades. I love the part I played in that," he said.

He had been furloughed for months before the decision was made.

"When the news came in that it was all over, I'd already seen the way things were going so I wasn't surprised by it, and I'll always say that from the moment ITV took over a few years ago both myself and Gillian Porter were treated like royalty as the continuity announcers.

"They treated us like part of the family and we were asked over to London to the dos, and they were very, very good to us. I've no complaints at all."

An ITV spokesperson said: "We'd like to apologise for the continuity error last night before View from Stormont. This was human error and we have reviewed procedures to ensure that this won't happen again."

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