W (British TV channel)

W (formerly Watch) is a British pay television channel that was launched on 7 October 2008.[1] On 15 February 2016, the channel was rebranded as W.[2]

Launched7 October 2008
(as Watch)
Owned byUKTV
(BBC Studios)
Picture format1080i HDTV
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
Audience share0.36%
0.03% (+1) (June 2019 (2019-06), BARB)
CountryUnited Kingdom and Ireland
Broadcast areaUnited Kingdom
Formerly calledWatch (2008–16)
Sister channel(s)Alibi
Timeshift serviceW +1
SkyChannel 109 (HD)
Channel 209 (+1)
Channel 809 (SD)
Virgin MediaChannel 125 (SD)
Channel 190 (+1)
Channel 211 (HD)
Virgin Media IrelandChannel 160
TalkTalk TVChannel 311
BT TVChannel 311 (SD)
Channel 383 (HD)
Plusnet TVChannel 311 (SD)
Channel 383 (HD)
Eir VisionChannel 109
Streaming media
Sky GoWatch live (UK and Ireland only)
Virgin TVWatch live (UK only)
TalkTalk TVWatch live (UK only)
BT TVWatch live (UK only)


The channel launched on 7 October 2008 as the new flagship channel for the UKTV network of channels. The channel would feature general entertainment programmes, primarily from the programme archive of the BBC, who own a 50% share of the network through the corporation's commercial arm BBC Worldwide. The channel featured flagship programmes from the BBC, such as Torchwood, general entertainment programmes from the corporation and international variations to popular current British programming, such as Dancing with the Stars (US version of popular BBC programme Strictly Come Dancing) and the various American editions of Wipeout, which is titled as Total Wipeout USA to avert confusion with the same-named British programme. The channel also featured programmes displaced following the repositioning of other UKTV channels, such as the move of all non-crime drama to the channel following Alibi's launch, and programming already shown on other UKTV channels in greater numbers, such as Traffic Cops. The Watch Channel Controller is currently Paul Moreton.[3]

Subsidiary channels

W +1

The channel also operates a timeshift service, called W +1, where the programme schedule is repeated by the channel one hour later. The channel receives no special branding, with the occasional exception of a special Digital on-screen graphic (DOG). It launched the same day as the main Watch channel on 7 October 2008 and was reported by AGB Nielsen Media Research on 2 September 2008.


On 29 July 2011, UKTV announced that it had secured a deal with Sky to launch three more high-definition channels on their platform. As part of Virgin Media's deal to sell its share of UKTV, all five of UKTV's HD channels would also be added to Virgin's cable television service by 2012. Watch HD launched on 12 October 2011 on Sky and Virgin Media, two days after Dave HD, while Alibi HD launched in July 2012. All three channels are HD simulcasts of the standard-definition channels.[4][5][6]

On-air identity


When Watch launched in October 2008, along with G.O.L.D. and Alibi, the original on screen identity featured a large eyeball nicknamed 'Blinky'. The music used in the background of the television advertisements is 'You Will Leave a Mark' by Oxford band A Silent Film. The channels original idents featured a liveaction video of the eyeball being pushed around by a large and varied group of people around various settings until the eyeball ends up in the centre of the screen and the Watch name appears at the bottom of the screen. The set of four idents were produced by Red Bee Media for the channel. However, in April 2009, the four existing idents were edited by Aardman Animations to make the inflatable eyeball blink. In addition, four new CGI idents were introduced as well as the edited idents and in May 2010, a new ident for Scream if You Know the Answer!

During May 2010, UKTV were reportedly planning to overhaul the brand identity of Watch, after only eighteen months in operation. The broadcaster held a branding agency pitch and made an appointment within a month, with the review was being handled by creativebrief. The work included the creation of a fresh logo, strap-line and tone of voice for the channel, however, a spokeswoman for UKTV denied suggestions that the broadcaster would change the name of the channel and said that the overhaul was about "tweaking the brand and aligning it better with our overall strategy".[7]

The new Watch logo and channel presentation launched on 23 September 2010, focusing on the idea that "TV is better shared!". The new identity, created by agency Harriman Steel, includes a new strapline, "Watch... together", along with new idents, end frames and a new logo. The idents feature a scene against a black background with various elements of the scene being provided, by people in black outfits. The scenes progress with the appearance of the film being seen in reverse until the ident pans to a screen displaying three phrases related to the scene ending with the word "together." before the Watch logo is placed over the last phrase forming the channel tagline. Other promotional material makes use of the channel tagline or the appearance that the channel promotions are held in place by the black dressed men, as seen by the various covered hands shown at the edge of promotion end boards.[8]

On 23 January 2012, it was announced that Watch would receive a rebrand for a second time, created by DixonBaxi, and was to be launched on 7 February 2012,[9] but new idents were made on 9 March 2012.


On 15 January 2016, it was announced that Watch would be rebranded as W on 15 February 2016.[10]

Logo history



The channel broadcasts a variety of programmes from the archives of the BBC and from international broadcasters. The following programmes are currently airing on the channel:


The channel also produced and broadcast the programmes: Baywatch, Richard & Judy's New Position, The Borrowers, Tarrant Lets the Kids Loose, Hart of Dixie, Primeval, The Weakest Link, Walking with..., Love Soup, Dancing with the Stars, Outtake TV, and Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps for a time, however, these are no longer broadcast.

Most watched programmes

The following is a list of the 11 most watched shows on W, based on Live +7 data supplied by BARB up to 7 February 2016.[11] The number of viewers does not include repeats or W +1.

Rank Show Episode Viewers Date
1Dynamo: Magician Impossible2.011,927,0005 July 2012
22.021,826,00012 July 2012
32.031,793,00019 July 2012
41.041,441,00028 July 2011
51.021,391,00014 July 2011
6=1.031,384,00021 July 2011
2.041,384,00026 July 2012
8Alcatraz1.01 – Pilot1,299,00013 March 2012
91.06 – Paxton Petty1,229,00017 April 2012
10=1.08 – The Ames Brothers1,193,0001 May 2012
Dynamo: Magician Impossible3.011,193,00011 July 2013

See also


  1. "UKTV agrees on-demand, channels deal with BT Vision". Digital Spy. 22 March 2012.
  2. "Watch rebrands to w". campampaignlive. 15 January 2016.
  3. "UKTV unveils new channel brands!". Archived from the original on 12 July 2008. Retrieved 10 July 2008.
  4. "UKTV enters VoD market with landmark HD content deal with Sky". UKTV. 29 July 2011. Archived from the original on 7 November 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
  5. "Virgin Media sells £239m stake in UKTV!". Financial Times. 15 August 2011. Archived from the original on 17 August 2011.
  6. "Virgin TV just got even bigger!". Virgin Media. Archived from the original on 11 October 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  7. "UKTV plans brand overhaul for Watch". Marketing. 18 May 2010.
  8. "UKTV wants viewers to 'Watch... together'!". Marketing Week. 23 September 2010.
  9. Clover, Julian (23 January 2012). "Rebrand for UKTV's Watch". Broadband TV News. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
  10. "UKTV reveals W: a premium entertainment channel". UKTV. 15 January 2016. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  11. BARB, via
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