Launched 30 October 2014 (2014-10-30)
Network RT
Owned by (ANO) TV-Novosti (Under Russia Today TV UK Limited)
Picture format 576i (16:9 SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Audience share 0.03% (December 2017 (2017-12), BARB)
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Broadcast area United Kingdom
Headquarters Millbank Tower, London
Sister channel(s) RT International
RT America
RT Arabic
RT Documentary
RT Actualidad
RT Deutsch
Website rt.com/uk
Freeview Channel 113 (HD)
Channel 234
Freesat Channel 206 (SD/HD)
Sky Channel 511 (SD/HD)
Channel 879 (SD)
Astra 2G (28.2°E) 11568 V 22000 5/6
11224 V 23000 2/3 (HD)
Virgin Media (Ireland) Channel 241
Streaming media
Live stream On Air
Virgin TV Anywhere Watch live (Ireland only)

RT UK is a TV channel based in London. It is part of the RT network, a global multilingual television news network based in Moscow and subsidised by the Russian government.

The channel's studios are in Millbank Tower. The channel offers four hours of programming per day, Monday to Friday UK News at 7 pm, 810 pm, 910 pm and 10 pm. On Fridays there is no 10 pm UK News bulletin. The RT UK News anchor is Bill Dod. Like its counterpart in the United States, it simulcasts RT International at all other times. RT UK serves as the home and production base of RT's UK based programmes. RT UK is the channel RT delivers to United Kingdom satellite providers. The channel is also available online through RT's website.


The channel was launched on 30 October 2014. RT UK focuses on covering the United Kingdom. RT presenter Afshin Rattansi claims the channel's position is "to challenge dominant power structures in Britain by broadcasting live and original programming with a progressive UK focus", since it is "not subject to the metropolitan elite's London bias".[1]

Richard Sambrook, director of the Centre of Journalism at Cardiff University was quoted as saying "It's a surprising move to focus resources on the UK. It's not a commercial proposition, therefore the main purpose must be to gain influence. It's about soft power for the Kremlin".[2] In a pre-launch statement, RT correspondent Polly Boiko said "So much is made of how RT is funded. It's been cast as the Big Bad Wolf of the news media landscape," and "I think many of us... see the launch of RT UK as an opportunity to shake off the accusations levelled at the channel"[3]


Relations with British regulators

Ahead of the launch of its UK-specific broadcasts, RT said that adverts promoting the channel had been rejected by ad agencies because they felt they would be illegal under UK laws on political advertising. The network posted versions of the adverts on billboards and its website with the word "redacted" on them in an alleged protest. The UK Advertising Standards Authority said it had not banned the ads or even received any complaint about them.[4]

The UK broadcast regulator Ofcom had repeatedly reprimanded RT International from Moscow for its failure to remain impartial.[2] London-based RT International correspondent Sara Firth claims she had resigned the previous July after five years with the channel over its coverage of the MH17 disaster.[5] Shortly after the RT UK operation was launched, Ofcom said sanctions would be imposed if further breaches of the broadcasting code occurred.[6]

Threatened closure of banking facilities

In October 2016, RT published a letter sent to "Russia Today TV UK Ltd" by NatWest bank informing the company that it intended to cease the banking facilities provided to it by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, of which NatWest is a subsidiary.[7][8] RT's editor in Moscow, Margarita Simonyan, tweeted in Russian: "They closed our accounts in Britain. All of them. 'Decision not to be discussed'. Long live freedom of speech!" and Russian MPs, the foreign ministry and human rights officials all condemned the move.[9]

The Russian embassy in London described the move as an "openly political decision", however the British government, which since the 2008 financial crisis has owned the majority of shares in the RBS group, denied being responsible for the bank's actions.[7][9] NatWest subsequently said that it had written to one of RT's suppliers, not to the station itself, and that it would review the decision. RT itself said the company provides all RT services in the UK.[7]

The decision by NatWest/RBS to end banking services was reversed in late January 2017.[10]

Responses to coverage

Oliver Kamm wrote in The Times in October 2016: "For purportedly expert analysis of world events, RT turns to an assortment of racists, neo-Nazis, UFO buffs, 9/11 conspiracy theorists and obscure fantasists. Admittedly it's also been commended for balance and fairness – by the British National Party."[11] He continued: "This is not a normal news outlet but a conspiracy of fraudsters in the service of a murderous autocracy".[11] In The Observer, Nick Cohen wrote in November 2015 that the channel "feeds the huge western audience that wants to believe that human rights are a sham and democracy a fix. Believe that and you will ask: what right have we to criticise Putin? At least he is honest in his way".[12]

Matt Turner, writing for The Independent, pointed to marginalised issues and groups, like the disabled and the largest prison strike in US history, to which he asserted RT gave substantial coverage, unlike media in the UK and USA.[13] Turner, who has "appeared on Russia Today (unpaid) as a political commentator", commented that "our own media biases have handed RT a large and disillusioned western audience to entice. In a balanced media landscape, they wouldn't have had this advantage to begin with".[13]

RT UK programming

RT programmes on RT UK

On air staff

News anchors
  • Bill Dod (2014—)[30]
  • Laura Smith (2015—)[31]
  • Polly Boiko (2015—)[32]


  1. "RT launches dedicated UK news channel - RT UK".
  2. 1 2 Chris Johnston. "Russia Today launches UK version in new soft power onslaught". the Guardian.
  3. Osborn, Andrew (30 October 2014). "Kremlin-funded broadcaster lauded by Putin starts TV news channel in UK". Reuters UK. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  4. Patrick Smith. "Everything You Need To Know About Russia Today UK". BuzzFeed.
  5. Plunkett, John (18 July 2014). "Russia Today reporter resigns in protest at MH17 coverage". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  6. Ennis, Stephen (16 November 2014). "Russia's global media operation under the spotlight". BBC News.
  7. 1 2 3 "RT: NatWest denies shutting accounts of Russian TV channel". BBC News. 18 October 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  8. Rothwell, James (18 October 2016). "NatWest backs down over threat to freeze Russia Today's bank account". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  9. 1 2 Harding, Luke; Walker, Shaun (17 October 2016). "Russia Today's UK bank accounts closed down, says editor". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  10. Jackson, Jasper (30 January 2017). "NatWest reverses decision to close RT's bank accounts in UK". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  11. 1 2 Kamm, Oliver (18 October 2016). "It's time we turned the heat up on Putin's lie machine". The Times. London. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  12. Cohern, Nick (8 November 2014). "Russia Today: why western cynics lap up Putin's TV poison". The Observer. London. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  13. 1 2 Turner, Matt (18 October 2016). "To all the self-identifying liberals cheering about Russia Today's bank accounts being frozen, did you ever consider your own bias?". The Independent. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  14. "Going Underground". RT.
  15. "Afshin Rattansi — RT". RT International.
  16. Keiser Report page at the RT website
  17. "Sam Delaney's News Thing" page at the RT website
  18. "Sputnik". RT.
  19. "Boom Bust".
  20. On the Money page at RT.com.
  21. In The Now page at RT.com.
  22. Larry King Now page at RT.com.
  23. Politicking page at RT.com.
  24. "Redacted Tonight". rt.com.
  25. "Watching the Hawks".
  26. SophieCo page at RT.com.
  27. The Big Picture page at RT.com.
  28. "Venture Capital". RT English.
  29. "Worlds Apart". rt.com.
  30. "Bill Dod — RT". RT International.
  31. "Laura Smith — RT". RT International.
  32. "Polly Boiko — RT". RT International.
  33. "Eisa M Ali — RT". RT International.
  34. "Anastasia Churkina — RT". RT International.
  35. "Martyn Andrews — RT". RT International.
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