UKTV: Dave and Gold channels return to Virgin Media

Alex Horne, Greg DaviesImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption Comedy panel show Taskmaster is among the programmes returning to Virgin Media customers’ TVs

Television channels such as Dave and Gold are returning to the screens of Virgin Media customers after a fees dispute with UKTV was resolved.

Virgin Media said that free-to-air channels had already been restored, with paid channels following shortly.

Virgin had previously refused to pay what it called “inflated” fees and complained that it was not allowed to show all channels on demand.

More than five times as much on-demand content will now be available, it said.

About four million subscribers of the cable company lost access to 10 UKTV channels in July after talks broke down, disappointing fans of shows such as Taskmaster and Red Dwarf as well as classic comedies like Only Fools and Horses and Miranda.

UKTV, which is part-owned by the BBC, had said it could not accept the “drastic” price cuts proposed by Virgin Media.

‘Frustrating time’

Cable customers lost five free-to-air channels – Dave, Drama, Really and Yesterday – as well as the paid-for services Gold, Alibi, Eden, Good Food and W.

A Virgin Media spokesman said the paid-for channels, which took longer to restore for “technical reasons”, would reappear over the next few days.

The new agreement increases the number of catch-up hours available, with customers on the top-tier Full House plan gaining access to “significantly more” boxsets, the company said.

It also adds access to HD versions of Dave and Gold for customers on the cheaper Virgin Mix plans.

David Bouchier, chief digital entertainment officer at Virgin Media said: “We are sorry for what we know has been a frustrating time for our customers, but are pleased that our TV bundles are now even bigger.”

Customers on social media welcomed the return of their favourite shows and channels, but some said they had already switched TV provider during the shutdown.

Simon Michaelides, chief commercial officer of UKTV, said: “We know this has created real disruption for some of our viewers and we’re so sorry for this, but we are thrilled to be back, broadcasting our channels and shows to customers of Virgin Media once more.”


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