Sunday, 1 November 2009

UTV’s golden anniversary

This year is the 50th anniversary of Ulster Television. The station began broadcasting on 31 October 1959 and its first managing director was William MacQuitty, who was born in Belfast in 1905 and was the son of the managing director of the Belfast Telegraph.

MacQuitty was also a film producer and the year before the launch of Ulster Television he had produced the film A Night to Remember, the first film to tell the authentic story of the sinking of the Titanic.

MacQuitty had a special interest in that story because, as a young boy, he had seen the great ship being launched in Belfast. On 31 May 1911, two weeks after his sixth birthday,he was taken by his father to see the launch of the great ship and in 1991, in his autobiography A Life to Remember he recorded his memories of that day.
Slowly gathering speed, the Titanic moved smoothly down the ways, and a minute later was plunging into the water and raising a huge wave. I felt a great lump in my throat and an enormous pride in being an Ulsterman.

The building of the Titanic, which we will commemorate in 21012, was a demonstration of the industrial might of the city of Belfast and the province of Ulster at the start of the 20th century.  Belfast was truly a titanic city.

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