Kelly (TV series)
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|Country of origin||Northern Ireland|
|No. of episodes||571|
|Location(s)||Havelock House, Belfast|
|Original release||1989 – 2005|
The show was twice voted the most entertaining programme in Northern Ireland.
Kelly debuted as a late night chat show in September 1989, airing for an hour on Friday nights after News at Ten. The show was subsequently extended to 90 minutes a year later, running from 10.40pm to 12.10am, before moving to a prime time slot of 9pm in 1999. The series was also shown briefly on Scottish Television in 1992.
For the first four years of the show's life, the Kelly show was made from a very small general purpose studio at UTV's (known until 1993 as Ulster Television) headquarters in Havelock House, Belfast. The studio could only fit a very small set and a very small audience. To accommodate the audience, the audience seating platform was built over the scenery doors to the studio, meaning some members of the audience would be sitting very close to the doors and close to the hot studio lights in those early years. In 1993 Ulster Television was relaunched as UTV and unveiled a new 2,500 Sq Ft studio which could now accommodate a proper studio audience of around 100-120 with a new built in audience seating platform, which was ideal for the show.
In 1999, he interviewed a 9-year-old Rory McIlroy after he had won the world under 10s championship. The series reached its 500th episode in 2003, and the highest-rated edition was broadcast on Friday 10 November 2000, when a special edition dedicated to George Best was watched by 367,000 viewers.
Gerry Kelly said that UTV were unhappy with the show airing in the 9pm slot, as UTV had to opt out of ITV's network schedule. Instead of moving the show to a new different timeslot, UTV took the decision to axe it completely. Around the same time, UTV also axed the rest of its local entertainment programming - namely, School Around the Corner and School Choir of the Year - as part of cutbacks to the station's local output.
After the show ended, Kelly went on to host a smaller-scale chat show, Gerry Meets, which ran for 40 episodes before leaving UTV at the start of 2008.
- BFI Database: "Kelly" 24/1/2003 500th Show: accessed 19 January 2009
- Belfast Telegraph: "By George, Gerry's show scores as the Best attraction"; dated 15 November 2000, retrieved 11 January 2008
- Belfast Telegraph: "Curtain falls on the Kelly Show"; dated 1 September 2005, retrieved 11 January 2008
- Belfast Telegraph: "Plea to save programmes from axe"; dated 22 October 2005, retrieved 11 January 2008
- Sunday Life: "Corr! What a line-up as Kelly bows out": dated 11 December 2005, accessed 18 January 2009