Local ITV series, Ultimate Ulster, Rivals EastEnders in Ratings Battle

Regional ITV rivals EastEnders in Northern Ireland as Ultimate Ulster, with host Frank Mitchell, continues to be a hit with the viewers.

“Ultimate Ulster continues to be one of the strongest regional programmes in the UK. On Monday, only 11,000 people more watched EastEnders on BBC One and our audience peaked at 219,000 – this is phenomenal for a local programme. Previous series of Ultimate Ulster have out-performed EastEnders, the BBC’s flagship programme, and I hope that the audience continues to grow for the remaining two programmes to repeat this achievement.” – Michael Wilson, Managing Director, UTV Televison,

The regional programme had an average of almost 200,000 people tuning into watch last Monday, June 20th. The show featured the top ten most breath-taking views in Ulster and achieved a 30% audience share.

The final programme in this series will see Frank trawling the archives to find your favourite UTV moment. UTV is the regional broadcaster on ITV Northern Ireland. The company has held the licence since October 1959.

The success of local programming on UTV goes against everything ITVplc, and Granada before it, have said about the former local ITV network. Years of cut-backs, a ‘selling ice cream in winter strategy’, studio downscaling and an ambition to be a national ‘ITV1’ has seen regional ITV in England and Wales become almost extinct outside of local news programming.

Ultimate Ulster continues on Monday 27th June, counting down the top ten things people would most like to change about Ulster at 8pm on UTV.

“We’ve looked at many great things throughout this series of Ultimate Ulster, now we get to look at what people want to improve. But it isn’t all doom and gloom; lots of you were happy with the current state of affairs and voted “nothing” into the top ten. Tune in on Monday night to see what’s number one.” – Presenter Frank Mitchell