Channel Five has been bought by Northern & Shell, the company owned and run by Richard Desmond, also known as "Dirty Desmond" for making much of his fortune from pornographic publications.

Desmond's Northern & Shell bought Five for £103.5 million from RTL Group. RTL said that now was a good time to sell the channel as the TV advertising market has started to recover.

Mr Desmond said, "I am delighted to have taken ownership of the network, and know with the right investment, drive and leadership it can go from strength to strength as a competitive broadcaster and a modern player for the digital consumer."

Dawn Airey, Chief Executive of Five, "Northern & Shell are an international media business with a prominent position in the UK.

"We now move forward under the ownership of a successful media company that wants to grow our business and has exciting plans for the development of Five."

Gerhard Zeiler, Chief Executive Officer of RTL, said: "With a significant recovery of the UK TV advertising market and Five performing well in the first half of 2010, we saw a window of opportunity to realise a transaction based on a fair evaluation of Five. The disposal is in line with RTL Group's strategy of being number one or two in each of our markets. I would like to thank the whole team at Five and CEO & Chair Dawn Airey for their passion and professionalism, especially in the difficult past 20 months which saw a comprehensive restructuring of the company."