The Pinkertons made its UK debut on UKTV's DRAMA. Image: Zodiak Rights / UKTV
The Pinkertons made its UK debut on UKTV’s DRAMA. Image: Zodiak Rights / UKTV
Three of UKTV’s most popular channels are joining Freesat later this month, bringing a wealth of first run and archive shows to the subscription-free TV platform’s 4 million viewers.

Yesterday, Drama and Really are already some of the most watched channels in Freeview homes but until now have only been available to satellite viewers with a Sky subscription.

At launch the channels were primarily based round older shows but in recent years UKTV, which is backed by BBC Worldwide and US cable firm Scripps, has been investing in original commissions and first-run acquisitions to attract new viewers and boost advertising revenues.

The strategy has paid off with the firm’s network of free and pay channels now reaching more than 42 million viewers each month and its profits soaring to £72 million last year.

Taking Yesterday, Drama and Really subscription-free on satellite opens the channels up to an extra 2 million homes and offers the potential for further growth in both audience and revenue.

Announcing the move, CEO Darren Childs said: “We work hard to secure platform deals that give more people our channels, and ultimately grow UKTV’s footprint.

“Freesat viewers will be able to watch gripping history shows on Yesterday, some of Britain’s finest, critically-acclaimed drama content on Drama, and unbelievable real life stories on Really.

“As UKTV continues to invest heavily in new shows, there’s never been a better time to have access to our channels.”

Freesat marketing director, Paul Gilshan commented: “We are thrilled to boost our offering with the launch of three new entertainment channels from UKTV.

“More than 200 free-to-air TV channels, and more than 60 entertainment channels, are available on Freesat, ensuring viewers are spoilt for choice, without the monthly costs. “

The channels will join Freesat later this month on EPG numbers 162 (Drama), 163 (Yesterday) and 164 (Really).