UKTV to launch U next month

Boxes showing stills from different TV shows surround the logos for U, U&Drama, U&Yesterday, U&Dave and U&W

U is intended to bring UKTV’s terrestrial channels and streaming services together under one banner. The streaming platform UKTV Play will be rebranded as U, while UKTV’s terrestrial channels will now be known as U&Drama, U&Dave, U&Yesterday and U&W.

Streaming platform U will have almost 8,500 hours of content, an increase of nearly 1,500 hours from the start of 2024.

UKTV to bring legendary 1980s detective Jim Bergerac into present day

The UKTV Play and Drama logos

This time round, the top cop faces a high-stakes investigation that threatens to shake him to his core. With his family and career on the line, can he confront his demons in time?

Where the original show, which ran on BBC1 from 1981-91, used a ‘case of the week’ format, the new series will follow just one murder mystery across its six episodes.

Filming is to begin this summer on the show, a BlackLight TV production, itself part of Banijay. It is written by Toby Whithouse (Being Human), with Brian Fillis, Catherine Tregenna and Polly Buckle.

Wonka and Bridgerton stars among cast for UKTV’s murder mystery I, Jack Wright

The family drama follows the Wright family, who are thrown into disarray after learning of their family patriarch and business tycoon Jack Wright’s (Trevor Eve, Waking the Dead) untimely suicide. When his last will and testament is revealed, Nikki Amuka-Bird enters the narrative as Jack’s third-wife Sally, alongside his two sons Gray (Simm) and John (Rigby). All three of them have been largely cut-out of the will and won’t be receiving much of Jack’s enormous fortune.

UKTV to follow the lives of Essex midwives for new reality show

The logo for W, which is a white W against an askew red rectangle, against a white backdrop

The show follows the professional and social lives of the junior midwives in Basildon University Hospital. Thanks to its exclusive access, the programme reveals what it takes to survive in one of the most demanding jobs in the country.

Midwives can qualify after three years, putting them amongst Britain’s youngest medical professionals. The Real Midwives of Essex sheds light on those who have recently qualified, as well as the student midwives, and the people teaching them.

Together, they deal with 12-hour shifts, early starts and nights out.

UKTV's Steve North on Red Dwarf, Taskmaster and what it takes to be a Chief Programming Officer

In his 20-plus years at the broadcaster, he has led the rebrand of UKTV’s comedy channel to Dave, brought the huge hit Taskmaster to our screens and revived a childhood favourite, Red Dwarf. He also manages the combined BBC Studios and UKTV global compliance team.

What does the job involve?

Setting the editorial direction of the business so we can create distinctive, original, creative, enjoyable channels at UKTV that viewers want to watch.

Do you use gut instinct or data?

Jamali Maddix to meet leaders of the fringes in new Dave docuseries produced by Louis Theroux

A headshot of English comedian Jamali Maddix, wearing a black shirt and glasses

Across four parts, Follow The Leader with Jamali Maddix will see the comedian meet and observe leaders of fringe communities on the rise, aiming to find out what drives them, and why they attract so many devout followers.

Maddix said: "I've always been fascinated by cults and sub-cultures - people that choose to live as 'other'. Comedians are typically outsiders and I've made a career from observing people's behaviour and nuances from this perspective.

Stars from Bridgerton, Bodyguard and Showtrial in first look images for The Red King

The six-part series stars Anjli Mohindra (Bodyguard) as Grace Narayan, a once successful police sergeant who has been forced into a “punishment post” on an obscure and sequestered island. When Narayan begins investigating the unsolved case of a missing teenager, what at first glance appears as a gritty police thriller, drifts into folk horror upon the unearthing of a bygone cult called True Way. Narayan comes to realise the cult, and its dedication to pagan god the ‘Red King’, are not as confined to the island’s past as it first appears.

W receives first true crime series commission from UKTV

The logo for TV channel W, namely a white 'W' against a slanted red rectangle

The eight-episode programme will detail the exploits of digital manipulators, using first-person testimony from the people they targeted. Catfishing, gaslighting and deception all take centre-stage, as the show explores the darker side of dating sites and online messaging. 

Produced by First Look TV, the hour-long programme delves into several of the tools used by manipulators, from love bombing to mirroring to breadcrumbing.