Julian Simmons

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Julian Simmons
Juliansimmonscastlecourt.jpg
Born Julian Lynus Simmons
(1952-02-20) 20 February 1952 (age 65)
Kent, England
Occupation Continunity announcer
Television presenter
Years active 1976–present
Employer UTV

Julian Lynus Simmons (born 20 February 1952) is an Northern Irish continuity announcer and television presenter, best known for his work as a continuity announcer on UTV. As a child actor Julian's big break was in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory as a stunt double for Augustus Glopp. Julian is a fanatical Belfast Giants ice hockey fan. Recently he has been a vocal voice in the Residents Against Casement Protests. [1]

Early life[edit]

Simmons was born in Kent, England on the 20 February 1952. His parents were Pearl and Alan who were from London. Simmons later moved with his parents to Northern Ireland when his father was moved there by his company Morley's.[2] Simmons attended Belmont Primary School and Methodist College. Simmons had an interest in drama at a young age; he held puppet shows at his home.[1][3] Before his broadcasting career began, Simmons worked for McCalla Travel, and later worked for Air Canada in Belfast and London between 1978 and 1997, combining this with his announcing work for UTV.[3][4]

Broadcasting career[edit]

Simmons' career in broadcasting began when he appeared in amateur drama productions in Belfast while working for Air Canada at their offices in the city.[1] In Julian (a documentary produced for the Belfast community television station NVTV), he observed: "Somebody saw me in a Belfast comedy, and said that 'You should be on TV, I know somebody who you should speak to'. So I set my letter in, and duly arrived up at Havelock House, with amateur tapes that I had made of comedy sketches that I was performing in my kitchen, and bathroom, and bedroom... and I presented those and they listened to them and said, 'Yes, those are quite funny, but there's no opening for that sort of thing here at the moment. Here's a news bulletin, let's hear you read that.'"[1] Simmons was then offered a six-week trial as an announcer at Ulster Television.[5]

When he started working at UTV, Simmons' job involved reading news and sports bulletins as well as introducing the channel's programmes, but he felt uneasy with newsreading. "I didn't know what I was talking about... My main worry when I was reading the news was...you are worried about making a mistake, but I was also worried I was going to laugh. I have this thing if I'm hearing bad news, or someone goes to tell me something grave... it must be a nervous thing, I feel myself starting to smirk. So I was always terrifed that when I was reading the news that I was going to laugh."[1]

In the 2005 Julian documentary, Simmons describes how his continuity duties eventually changed: "Continuity was very straight... and then one Christmas, I was in for four or five days over the Christmas period, all done up like a dog's dinner and a dickie bow... no news to read, so I started introducing these programmes and acting 'a bit of the lig' in between the programmes. And it went down very well, apparently. They decided I would do permanently weekends: Friday/Saturday/Sunday primetime, where the programmes are all entertainment; nothing hard or heavy."[1]

Between October 2006 and February 2009, Simmons appeared on UTV Live and UTV Life to talk about upcoming storylines on Coronation Street and Emmerdale, the two main soap operas shown on UTV.[6] He has also presented the light-hearted archive series, UTV Rewind[7][8] and the travel series Come Fly with Julian.

Up until October 2016, Simmons usually introduced programmes on the station in-vision at weekends and was mainly associated with his links into what he has described as his favourite programme,[9] Coronation Street, where he puts on a 'camper' voice and refers to recent story developments on the programme. When talking about his Coronation Street introductions, he comments that he is "...imitating what I [hear] people say on trains and on buses... people talk about the soaps as if it's happening to real people."[1]

His catchphrase, usually heard when announcing the recent episodes of Coronation Street, was "But now on the UTV...". Between 2003 and 2015,, Simmons presented 'Santa Flash' announcements on Christmas Eve, where he gave his own account of Santa Claus' journey from the North Pole, traditionally stating that he was going to land in Ireland first.

Following the sale of UTV to ITV plc, Simmons made his last in-vision announcement at 11.15pm on Sunday 16 October 2016, coinciding with the transfer of UTV's presentation and playout facilities from Belfast to Chiswick. Simmons has been retained as a out-of-vision announcer and a relief weather presenter.[10]

Other appearances[edit]

In addition to his presenting career at UTV, Simmons starred in the film Wild About Harry, playing the role of Michael Bay.[11][12]

Personal life[edit]

Simmons currently lives in Belfast. In an interview in 2008, Simmons announced that he was gay.[13] In 2011, Simmons underwent surgery for a quadruple heart bypass.[14] He returned to his announcing role at UTV on 3 November 2011 after a four-month break.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Google Video: Julian; uploaded 29 September 2006, accessed 3 March 2008
  2. ^ "Julian Simmons – not out and definitely not down". The Irish News. 29 October 2016. 
  3. ^ a b The News Letter: "Nothing ever stays same for this continuity man"; published 28 July 2008, accessed 28 August 2008
  4. ^ Sunday Life: "Just Julian": dated 6 April 2003; accessed 6 February 2009
  5. ^ News Letter: "Julian picks his top ten TV moments"; dated 3 August 2007, accessed 17 June 2008
  6. ^ UTV Press Office: Julian's in a lather as he joins UTV Live; published 6 October 2006, accessed 3 March 2008
  7. ^ UTV Press Office: UTV rewinds with Julian on Friday evenings; published 27 July 2007, accessed 3 March 2008
  8. ^ UTV Press Office: UTV lines up a feast of festive programmes; published 12 December 2007; accessed 3 March 2008
  9. ^ Belfast Telegraph: "My kind of things"; published 22 April 2000, accessed 3 March 2008
  10. ^ "Julian Simmons – not out and definitely not down". The Irish News. 29 October 2016. 
  11. ^ Internet Movie Database; accessed 15 June 2008
  12. ^ BFI Film and TV Database; accessed 15 June 2008
  13. ^ "I'm a bunny boiler who never found Mr Right, says Julian". Belfast Telegraph. 13 July 2008. 
  14. ^ UTV's Julian Simmons has heart bypass, Belfast Telegraph, 10 September 2011
  15. ^ UTV favourite Julian back on screen, u.tv, 3 November 2011

External links[edit]