Alibi (TV channel)

Alibi is a British pay television channel that was launched on 1 November 1997 as UK Arena. It was renamed UK Drama in 2000, and then UKTV Drama in 2004, and assumed its current name on 7 October 2008.

Logo used from 2015 onwards
CountryUnited Kingdom
Broadcast areaUnited Kingdom and Ireland
Picture format1080i HDTV
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
Timeshift serviceAlibi +1
OwnerBBC Studios
Sister channelsDave
Launched7 October 2008 (7 October 2008)
Former namesUK Arena (1997–2000)
UK Drama (2000–2004)
UKTV Drama (2004–2008)
Streaming media
Sky GoWatch live (UK and Ireland only)
Virgin TV GoWatch live (UK only)
TalkTalk TVWatch live (UK only)
Watch live (UK only)
TVPlayerWatch live (UK only)


The channel originally launched as part of the new four channel UKTV network on 1 November 1997. The channel, originally named UK Arena, focused on arts programming and was named after the BBC's flagship arts programme Arena (The BBC, through BBC Worldwide, owning half of UKTV and therefore half the channel). The channel aired as a part-time service, airing from 7pm-7am every day.

However, following disappointing ratings, the channel's focus was broadened to include all drama series, and as a result was renamed UK Drama on 31 March 2000. Within the launch of UK Food on 5 November 2001, UK Drama began timesharing with the new channel at the same broadcast hours. By 2002, UK Drama's broadcast hours were reduced to 9pm-5am.

On 8 March 2004, the channel, alongside all other UKTV channels, was renamed UKTV Drama to increase awareness of the central UKTV brand. On 9 April 2005, UKTV announced that the channel would expand to a full 24-hour schedule on 30 May.[1]

Following the successful relaunch and rebranding of the channel UKTV G2 as Dave on 15 October 2007, the remaining UKTV channels underwent the same changes. UKTV Drama was renamed Alibi on 7 October 2008, and the channel's programmes were changed to focus specifically on crime dramas.[2][3] All non-crime dramas were transferred to the rebranded Gold channel or to the newly created flagship channel Watch.

Subsidiary channels

Alibi +1

Alongside the main channel, a time shift channel is also operated: Alibi +1. Corresponding to the name on the main channel shows all programming from the channel one hour later, with no special idents or continuity used.

It originally launched on Sky on 2 May 2006 as UKTV Drama +1. Unlike its main service which broadcast around the clock, the timeshift only operated as a part-time service that broadcast from 3pm-2am.[4] The channel was added to Virgin Media on 23 October 2007.[5]

Alibi HD

On 29 July 2011, UKTV announced that it had secured a deal with BSkyB to launch three more high-definition channels on Sky.[6] As part of Virgin Media's deal to sell its share of UKTV, all five of UKTV's HD channels would also be added to Virgin's cable television service by 2012.[7] Alibi HD launched on 3 July 2012 on Sky and Virgin Media, while Dave HD and Watch HD launched in October 2011. All three channels are HD simulcasts of the standard-definition channels.

On-air identity

Alibi logo with reversed colours used from 2008 to 2015

When the channel launched on 1 November 1997, the idents featured a star shape, usually inside a circle, with the UK Arena logo below. The logo, like that of all the UKTV channels until 2001, featured a single straight line logo with the UK prefix in a white box and the channel name typed in Gill Sans above a line extending out from the box. When the channel rebranded to UK Drama on 31 March 2000, the idents remained the same, with a change of the colours and the logo the only noticeable differences.

A new design introduced on 7 May 2001 resulted in the UK Drama logo standing alone at the bottom of the screen in a bold text, stylised to appear as: "UK Drama". On the end of the logo, a small design was included. One was assigned to each channel, with the exception of UK Gold and UK Gold 2, to identify what the channel broadcast. In the case of UK Drama, it was a bold, eight pointed star within a circle. The idents themselves were replaced by three men beating drums with water on the surface with each drummer bathed in a particular colour light: red, blue and green. A subsequent name change to UKTV Drama saw the logo with an uppercase 'DRAMA' below a UKTV logo which was aligned to the left of the screen, a predominantly purple colour scheme, and idents that featured a giant glass appearing 'D', which used from 30 May 2005 to 6 October 2008.

Following the rebrand to Alibi on 7 October 2008, the channel's idents were all accompanied by the Alibi logo, seen with interchangeable colours of white, black and red, and featured words associated with crime and murder arranged into different shapes; the outline of a dead body, a gunshot shattering a pane of glass, the dials of a safe, and the beam from a torch illuminating the words.

On 1 July 2015, Alibi had its first rebrand for seven years, with a slight change to the overall look and feel. The channel's red identity was made slightly darker while the logo stayed circular with white font, no dot over the first "i" and a black dot over the second. New idents feature crime scenes with the camera following red string that joins the clues together before resolving into the new logo.


The output of the channel is a combination of drama series and serials comprising first-run exclusive and second run shows from the United States and Canada, together with second run showings of shows from the BBC and ITV.

Original programming


  • Annika (original series)
  • Traces (2 seasons, 12 episodes) (Alibi original series)[8][9] (Renewed[10])
  • We Hunt Together (2 seasons, 12 episodes) (Alibi original series)(Renewed[11])
  • Clarice



Previous on Alibi

See also


  1. "UKTV Drama to expand hours". Digital Spy. 9 April 2005.
  2. Donnelly, Alison (17 September 2008). "UKTV unveils new channels and familiar stars like John Cleese and Red Dwarf crew". Brand Republic. Archived from the original on 20 September 2008. Retrieved 6 October 2008.
  3. Curtis, Chris (17 September 2008). "UKTV to reveal eye-opening Watch logo". Broadcast Now. Archived from the original on 21 September 2008. Retrieved 6 October 2008.
  4. "Three additions to Sky EPG". Digital Spy. 2 May 2006.
  5. "UKTV Drama timeshift added to VM lineup". Digital Spy. 23 October 2007.
  6. "UKTV enters VoD market with landmark HD content deal with Sky". UKTV. 29 July 2011. Archived from the original on 7 November 2011.
  7. "Virgin Media sells £239m stake in UKTV". Financial Times. 15 August 2011. Archived from the original on 3 January 2012.
  8. White, Peter (1 May 2019). "Martin Compston, Laura Fraser, Molly Windsor & Jennifer Spence To Star in UKTV Crime Drama 'Traces'". Deadline. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  9. "Traces on Alibi: Release date, cast - everything you need to know". Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  10. Kanter, Andreas Wiseman,Jake; Wiseman, Andreas; Kanter, Jake (28 September 2020). "'Caravaggio's Shadow' Underway in Naples; Curzon Picks Up Cannes Drama 'Il Mio Corpo'; 'Traces' & 'We Hunt Together' Renewed – Euro Briefs". Deadline. Retrieved 28 September 2020.
  11. Kanter, Andreas Wiseman,Jake; Wiseman, Andreas; Kanter, Jake (28 September 2020). "'Caravaggio's Shadow' Underway in Naples; Curzon Picks Up Cannes Drama 'Il Mio Corpo'; 'Traces' & 'We Hunt Together' Renewed – Euro Briefs". Deadline. Retrieved 28 September 2020.
  12. "Alibi eyes new co-productions". C21Media. 19 June 2009. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
  13. Munn, Patrick (4 September 2020). "Alibi Sets UK Premiere Date For 'Evil'". TVWise. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  14. "Castle". Alibi. UKTV. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
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