Julian Simmons - the face of UTV - to leave station after 30 years

Continuity announcer Julian Simmons is to leave UTV - along with fellow presenter Gillian Porter.

Thursday, 26th November 2020, 2:30 pm
Updated Friday, 27th November 2020, 10:08 am

The two presenters have been regular faces on the channel for several years.

Julian is well-known for his humorous Coronation Street introductions and his catchphrase ‘And now on the UTV...’

But the channel will move forward using national continuity announcers, following a change that was first introduced because of Covid.

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Julian Simmons
Julian Simmons

A UTV statement said: “In April this year, local continuity announcements and branding between programmes were suspended at UTV to reduce risk and minimise the number of staff in the Belfast office.

“ITV has found that these changes have worked well, allowing for greater efficiencies and a reduction in duplication in a very complex area of our operations.  As a result ITV has decided to make this change a permanent arrangement.”

Local continuity announcements, as now, will continue to be provided centrally, via the ITV announcer. 

Paying tribute to both members of staff, Matt Scarff, Director of ITV Creative and ITV Experiences said, Gillian and Julian have been part of the fabric of UTV for well over 25 and 30 years respectively, both on screen and off, and during that time, they have carried out their roles with the utmost professionalism and in their own unique styles. 

“Operationally however, it makes sense to align all the nations’ and regions’ continuity announcements and between programme branding.  I want to thank them both for their service, commitment and loyalty to UTV throughout their time here, and wish them every success for the future.”

Gillian commented, “It’s been a blast!  I’ve really enjoyed my time at UTV, especially the early years, and the last four since UTV became part of ITV, when I felt truly valued and appreciated by my new managers.  I’ve met some wonderful people, and always felt it was a real privilege to keep our viewers company throughout the day and night.  It’s been an honour to introduce and promote the many varied programmes which have aired on UTV down through the years, especially our fabulous local programmes, and to deliver news in happy and also difficult times.  I’m sad to be leaving UTV, but even though this door’s closing, I’m looking forward to the next chapter.”  

Julian said, “In-vision continuity was a real stand out element of UTV for decades and I love the part I played in that. However, I accept that progress and technology means now it makes sense to have continuity centrally created for all of ITV nations and regions.  I’m very lucky to have had a job at UTV for over 30 years in various guises, and whilst the curtain may be coming down on local continuity and my time at UTV, I intend to keep working and I’m excited to see what the future holds!”