‘It’s the gift that keeps on giving,” says UKTV CEO Marcus Arthur, a grin spreading across his face. The gift in question is Gold, the network’s flagship channel, whose audience share last year grew by 7%. Highlights included The Vicar of Dibley: Inside Out, Gold’s most popular show of the year, watched by 829,000 people, with original drama Murder, They Hope in second place, watched by 687,000, and returning scripted series The Cockfields (490,000) in third.
Marcus Arthur may be a BBC veteran, but the winds of change blowing through UKTV these past nine months or so have been like no other in his lengthy BBC career.
Last June, he succeeded Darren Childs as the outfit’s CEO. His appointment followed the end of the joint venture with Discovery, which finally gave BBC Studios full control of UKTV and its seven-channel portfolio (its three lifestyle channels were acquired by Discovery as part of the separation) and the online hub, UKTV Play.