Play UK

Play UK was a television channel broadcasting in the United Kingdom as part of the UKTV network of channels. The channel had originally been planned as a television version of BBC Radio 1 but launched without the Radio 1 tie-up as UK Play on 10 October 1998, changing its name to Play UK in November 2000. The channel was aimed at playing (for most of the time) music in the morning and afternoon, while broadcasting comedy during primetime and evenings.

Play UK
Launched10 October 1998
Closed30 September 2002
Owned byUKTV
(BBC Worldwide/Flextech)
Formerly calledUK Play (1998-2000)
Replaced byUK History
Sister channel(s)UK Drama
UK Food
UK Gold
UK Gold 2
UK Horizons
UK Style
(at time of closure)
ITV DigitalChannel 37
Astra 1E analogue
(Between 1 am and 7 am, until 31 March 2001)
Astra 1E, 10.832V
Sky DigitalChannel 217
NTLChannel 100
TelewestChannel 151

Play UK broadcast all day on the digital platforms, but on the Sky Analogue platform on the Astra 19.2°E satellite system it broadcast between 1 am and 7 am when UK Horizons was not broadcasting.

Music Programming

The majority of the music programmes broadcast (quizzes, interviews and compilations) on Play UK were produced by themselves. Play UK also used to air reruns of TOTP2, which were originally broadcast on BBC Two.

  • The Joy of Decks
  • Mental! - The Music Quiz
  • The Phone Zone (music request programme using The O Zone branding)
  • The Sound of Play
  • The Sound of Disco
  • The UK Top 20

Comedy programming

Most of the comedy programming on Play UK had already been broadcast on the BBC's channels. Play UK also produced original comedy programming and, later on, broadcast American comedy and animation.

Originally produced/American programming

BBC shows on reruns


Play UK closed on 30 September 2002 at 12am due to low ratings because of the closure of ITV Digital on 1 May 2002; also it could not compete with MTV. Play UK's comedy programming was then moved to UK Gold (now Gold). It was later replaced with UK History (now known as Yesterday) exactly one month later.

  • The TV Room looks at presentation/branding on the UKTV channels
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