'End of an era' - Tributes pour in as Julian Simmons makes final live UTV broadcast
Published 17/10/2016 | 11:52
There were tears in the eyes of UTV viewers last night as much-loved broadcaster Julian Simmons made his final live on-screen appearance on the channel as a continuity announcer
The former flight attendant from Belfast has been presenting his chirpy bridges between shows for decades - and is particularly well known for his cheeky Coronation Street introductions, putting his own inimitable spin on the melodramatic plot lines.
Julian bowed out in style, dressed immaculately in a black suit and white bow tie.
While he will no longer be visible on our screens, his voice will remain a fixture on the channel.
His final in-vision appearance was marked across social media with sadness, with many describing it as the "end of an era".
One fan tweeted: "I grew up with Julian's monologues on UTV. A genuine local star and much maligned undeservedly. We'll miss him." Another joked: "PSNI report no major disturbances following Julian Simmons departure from UTV. But they did have riot vans on standby."
BBC broadcaster Stephen Nolan wrote of his sorrow at Julian's departure in Saturday's Belfast Telegraph, in an article that struck a chord with many.
Mr Nolan wrote: "Julian Simmons has been part of the lives of our grandparents, our parents, you and your children. And yet he will present his last shift in vision as a continuity presenter this weekend. We are not losing him altogether, we will hear his voice but we won't see him.
"And with that one decision, I, as a viewer, lose so much. Julian is part of our family in Northern Ireland, he is one of us and just like a relative, it is reassuring to see him."
Eamonn Holmes - who has just finished an 11-year stint on Sky's Sunrise - retweeted the article to his 900,000 followers saying: "If you live in N Ireland this is for you", adding: "Why we should treasure our local telly traditions".
Northern Ireland-born Labour MP Kate Hoey did the same, adding "so right".
And Co Down-born BBC newsreader, Maxine Mawhinney, said Nolan was "absolutely right".
'But now on UTV...' Words that we'll no longer hear. Sad that Julian Simmons is coming off our TV screens, an outstanding NI presenter!— Guy Spence (@GuySpence) October 17, 2016
Aww bless Julian Simmons, all dressed up in a suit and bow tie and still makes me laugh, there's nudity involved and it's Sunday night too!— Russ (@russty_russ) October 16, 2016
It cannot be true that julian simmons has left utv— Leah Ellen (@leah_atsix) October 16, 2016
3 signs 2016 could be year of the Apocalypse. Brexit, Trump and worst of all Julian Simmons taken out of vision. #UTVknownathin'— Tim Mc Garry (@Tim_Mc_Garry) October 16, 2016