27th Jul 2018
Fans of popular TV shows Taskmaster and Red Dwarf have been left frustrated after Dave, alongside nine other UKTV channels, was dropped by Virgin Media.
Virgin made the move over a row regarding UKTV’s “inflated” fees and a complaint that UKTV’S joint owner, the BBC, does not allow all channels to be shown on demand.
In response UKTV says it will not accept the “drastic” price cut that Virgin has proposed.
Around four million households using the cable company were left unable to watch the shows, as ten channels were removed from virgin cable boxes at midnight on Saturday 21 July.
The removals did not come without notice, as Virgin customers tuning into the channels in the days leading up to the removal received warning messages that they were disappearing.
Some new channels have been made available – including the Paramount Network, IQTV and FreeSports – but Virgin subscribers have been left unimpressed that access has been withdrawn to Dave favourites, including comedy panel game Taskmaster, which saw 1.175 million viewers tune in for the opening episode of its sixth series on 2 May.
As of yet, the impasse shows no signs of being settled.
Virgin Media chief digital entertainment officer David Bouchier said: “We have been in extensive discussions with UKTV but we have not been able to reach an agreement which reflects the reality of how people are watching television in the 21st Century.”
"UKTV is insisting on holding back its channels, like Dave, which are freely available over the air and online, unless we pay inflated sums of money for its paid channels like Gold."
UKTV chief executive Darren Childs commented: "We're hugely disappointed for the many customers who are losing out because our channels are no longer available through Virgin Media.
"We completely understand their frustration […] but we need a fair price to support our growing investment in programmes."