Play UK was a television channel broadcasting in the United Kingdom as part of the UKTV network of channels. 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.

Play UK
(BBC Worldwide/Flextech)
Launched10 October 1998
Closed30 September 2002
Replaced byUK History
Former namesUK Play (1998-2000)
(at time of closure)
ITV DigitalChannel 37


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. Like 4Music and Viacom's old Freeview channel Viva, the channel had music programming through the day, while broadcasting comedy during its primetime and evening hours. Most of the comedy programming on Play UK had already been broadcast on the BBC's terrestrial channels, with Play UK adding a few original UKTV-produced comedy programmes as well as a number of American comedy and animation shows towards the end of its broadcast life.


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 Gold and then to UKTV G2 (now known as the TV channel Dave).

Exactly one month later, UK History (now known as Yesterday) started broadcasting on Freeview using the space vacated by the closure of Play UK.


Music ProgrammingEdit

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

  • The Joy of Decks
  • Mental! - The Music Quiz (with Iain Lee)
  • The Phone Zone (music request programme using The O Zone branding)
  • The Sound of Play
  • The Sound of Disco
  • The UK Top 20
  • TOTP@Play
  • Joe's Pop Shop
  • Mark and Lard's Pop Upstairs Downstairs
  • Pop Will Shoot Itself
  • Rock Profile (This comedy-music show, lasting from 1999-2002, featured Matt Lucas and David Walliams spoofing various pop bands)[1]

Original UKTV produced showsEdit

American programmes/other importsEdit

Repeated shows from the BBC archivesEdit

External linksEdit

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


  1. ^ "Rock profile".