Orla Lafferty


THE INDEPENDENT TELEVISION NETWORK has received only limited critical academic analysis and, as a consequence, there is a particular dearth of research into commercial broadcasting in Britain, but more specifically commercial broadcasting in Northern Ireland. In their publication ITV Cultures: Independent Television over fifty years, Catherine Johnson and Rob Turnock (2005) attempt to address this lack of scholarly analysis of ITVs’ regional structure but Ulster Television does not factor in their study. Whilst UTV at 50, a publication released for the company’s 50th Anniversary in 2009, provides some interesting insights into its progression as a broadcaster, it is primarily anecdotal. Nonetheless, Jeremy Potter’s volume Independent Television Companies and Programmes 1968–1990 includes a valuable chapter on UTV, investigating its history and the initial difficulties it encountered with the outbreak of the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland in 1968. Building on this, this paper aims to address the dearth of research carried out on UTV and its position as a commercial broadcaster in Northern Ireland, operating within the ITV structure.