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Launched 1 October 2007
Owned by Virgin Media Television
Picture format PAL (576i, 16:9) (SDTV)
Audience share 0.7% (0.3% for +1)
(September 2009, BARB)
Country United Kingdom
Replaced Ftn
Sister channel(s) Virgin Central
Timeshift service Virgin1+1
Freeview Channel 20 (09:00 - 00:00)
Channel 35 (+1) (18:00 - 01:00)
Sky Digital Channel 121
Channel 122 (+1)
Virgin Media

On Demand Content in
Channel 119
Channel 120 (+1)
Catch-Up TV On Demand
TV Choice On Demand
UPC Ireland Channel 129
Internet television
TVCatchup Watch live (UK only)
TVCatchup Watch live (+1) (UK only)

Virgin1 is the flagship television channel operated by the British broadcaster Virgin Media Television. The channel was launched on 1 October 2007 at 9pm on Freeview, Virgin Media and Sky Digital, replacing Ftn. The channel is broadcast 24 hours on cable, satellite and Freeview complemented by timeshift channel Virgin1+1.



It was announced in the summer of 2007 that Virgin Media Television was to launch the new channel.[1] The network had previously expressed their interest in running a general entertainment channel, to coincide with the relaunch of NTL:Telewest to Virgin Media. At first the company stated that all of their other channels including Ftn would still run as normal, but because of Ftn having a key Freeview primetime slot this was later changed.[2]

Virgin1 was launched on 1 October 2007 on all platforms (Freeview, Virgin Media and Sky Digital) replacing former Virgin Media Television channel Ftn.

Some media sources have claimed that Virgin1 is intended to be in direct competition with British Sky Broadcasting's Sky1[3], which has a 1.0% share of the market equal to Virgin1's 1.0% (including +1). The channel went on to achieve its highest ratings thus far, with the season premiere of Terminator : The Sarah Connor Chronicles which secured a 4.2% share of multi channel viewers.[4]

On 20 February 2008, Virgin1 moved from Ftn's old slots 153 and 154 on Sky Digital and took over Bravo's slots 123 and 124, which are placed higher up on the EPG.[5]

On 27 April 2009, it was announced that Virgin1 (on Freeview) would move from multiplex D to multiplex A, allowing the channel to broadcast 24 hours a day. Virgin1's vacated slot has been used to launch Virgin1+1 which broadcasts from 18:00 to 06:00. In Wales, Virgin1 is only available from 9am to 7pm, with the +1 service only available from 7pm.

On 14 May 2009, Virgin Media Television announced plans to revamp the channel with a new look including a new logo and feel to the channel, this launched on 9 June 2009 at 21:00.[6]

On 9 June 2009, the channel underwent a rebranding complete with new idents, break bumpers and onscreen identity. As part of the rebrand a mascot called Red was introduced, a puppet character from the creator of the ITV Digital Monkey. In the future "Red" will be voiced and will have arguments with the continuity announcer.

On 20 October 2009, Virgin1 reduced its hours on Freeview to 09:00 - 00:00, allowing Tease Me TV to launch.

From 30 October 2009, Virgin1 aired TNA Impact at 21.00. This is the first time wresting has been aired on free television in the UK in well over a decade.

Launch night

On the launch night, the channel broadcast three hours of looped previews accompanied by a countdown until the official launch at 21:00. The channel officially launched at 9pm with an ident featuring Richard Branson followed by Criminal Minds.

The following is the launch lineup and viewing figures:

Time Programme Name Notes
18.00 Previews Previews shown on loop until official launch
21.00 Criminal Minds This show attracted 347,000 viewers
22.00 The Riches This show attracted 419,000 viewers
23.15 Penis Envy This show attracted 158,000 viewers

Most Watched Broadcasts

The following is a list of the ten most watched shows on Virgin1, based on Live +7 data supplied by BARB up to 7 March 2010.[7]

Rank Show Episode Number of Viewers Date
1 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles 1.01 - Pilot 764,000 21 February 2008
2 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles 1.03 - The Turk 463,000 6 March 2008
3 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles 1.05 - Queen's Gambit 450,000 20 March 2008
4 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles 1.02 - Gnothi Seauton 446,000 28 February 2008
5 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles 1.04 - Heavy Metal 445,000 13 March 2008
6 Trauma 1.01 - Pilot 433,000 1 March 2010
7 The Riches 1.01 - Pilot 419,000 1 October 2007
8 Chuck 2.20 - Chuck Versus the First Kill 388,000 20 October 2009
9 Star Trek: Voyager 5.16 - Dark Frontier Part 2 383,000 9 January 2009
10 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles 2.02 - Automatic for the People 382,000 30 October 2008

Notable shows

The schedule for Virgin1 currently consists of a mixture of American and British comedy, drama and factual programming, both acquired and commissioned. The channel is pitched between female-targeted channel Living and male-targeted channel Bravo. In addition to exclusive content, Virgin1 shows some content from Living, Bravo and Challenge.

V Funny Sunday

V Funny Sunday was a programming block that aired on Sunday evenings from 7 October until 24 February 2008 which featured classic comedy from the United States. The block was thought to have taken inspiration from the US network Fox (owned by Sky1 parent News Corp) which airs a comedy block on Sunday evenings (known as LOL Sunday). During its time on air the block schedule was altered and shortened in an attempt to improve ratings.



External links

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