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List of years in British television
This page indexes the individual
year in pages. Each year is annotated with a significant event as a reference point.
2021 in British television – The recording and release of many TV programmes are expected to be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. – Many popular TV shows, such as 2020 in British television and Through the Keyhole were axed. The BBC's ending of free television licences for over-75s is due to come into force in August. Take Me Out ends on TV 2 days prior to it ending on the radio. The BBC will also end its Red Button service. The production of many TV shows were halted due to the Brexitcast COVID-19 pandemic.
– The 2019 in British television is moved from Christmas Day to New Year's Day. Doctor Who seasonal special BBC Two Scotland closes and is replaced by a new BBC Scotland channel. is axed by The Jeremy Kyle Show ITV due to the death of a guest. The BBC One current affairs programme is shown for the last time after sixteen years on air, and replaced by This Week . Brexitcast Channel 4 opens its new national headquarters in Leeds.
– BBC One airs the first of two editions of the latest version of 2018 in British television , which is presented by Mel and Sue along with airing The Queen's Birthday Party, a concert from London's Royal Albert Hall celebrating the 92nd birthday of The Generation Game Queen Elizabeth II. Spring 2018 also sees The National Lottery results being broadcast on ITV for the first time after more than two decades on the BBC, with the results appearing as a 90-second summary as part of an advert break. September 2018 sees debut on Channel 4. The Circle Series 11 of sees Doctor Who Jodie Whittaker star as the Thirteenth Doctor; she becomes the first woman to play the role of The Doctor.
– The Saturday evening 2017 in British television National Lottery Draw stops being shown on BBC One and is now only seen on the BBC iPlayer, the Corporation having taken the decision to stop broadcasting the draw live on BBC One after agreeing a news, debuts on the same channel, Impossible Channel 5, the and Teletubbies all celebrate their 20th anniversaries, Robot Wars , In the Night Garden... and Shaun the Sheep all celebrate their 10th anniversaries. ITV launches its pay-per-view service Golden Balls ITV Box Office, Wimbledon Tennis celebrates 90 years of coverage on the BBC during Wimbledon Tennis' 140th anniversary and Channel 4, S4C and all celebrate their 35th anniversaries. Countdown
– The BBC announces a deal with 2016 in British television Discovery Communications that enables it to broadcast coverage of the Summer and Winter Olympics up to and including the 2024 Summer Olympic Games, The agreement covers television, radio and online coverage, Channel 5, 5* and 5USA get a new look on 11 February as their stencil logos for their channels get their very first airing. 5* is also rebranded as 5Star on the same day, BBC Three closes after thirteen years on air to become an online only channel, celebrates its 30th anniversary with a special feature-length episode. 2016 also sees the debut of a new 3pm slot game show Casualty on ITV after the axing of two other 3pm slot game shows Tenable and 1000 Heartbeats . Rebound
– 10th anniversary of the 2015 in British television 2005 relaunch of , The rebooted series of Doctor Who will feature voiceovers from names including Teletubbies Jane Horrocks, Jim Broadbent and Fearne Cotton, it is revealed, EastEnders concludes the Who Killed Lucy Beale? storyline by revealing her younger brother Bobby Beale as her killer live in a special flashback episode to celebrate the show's 30th anniversary, celebrates its 50th anniversary with the debut of animated reboot Thunderbirds , Thunderbirds Are Go Brian Blessed and Dave Lamb. The CBBC channel will also air a 60-minute programme celebrating thirty years of The Broom Cupboard, the studio from which CBBC continuity presenters Andi Peters, Philip Schofield, Zoë Ball and Edd the Duck, Louisa Johnson becomes the youngest ever contestant to win and launch of YourTV on Freeview and YouView, Fox UK's first free-to-air channel and which is targeted at women. The X Factor
– 50th anniversary of the first edition of 2014 in British television . Although an edition was aired on New Year's Eve 2013, the anniversary itself goes unmarked by the BBC because of the programme's association with the late Top of the Pops Jimmy Savile. The first episode of Channel 4's controversial documentary series attracts several hundred viewer complaints. Benefits Street BBC Two celebrates its 50th anniversary along with . ITV axes its breakfast television programme Match of the Day after nearly four years on air, replacing it with Daybreak . Good Morning Britain
– 2013 in British television BBC Two launches in high-definition for the first time 2 and a half years after BBC One did, becomes the first ongoing British TV progaramme to reach and celebrate its 60th anniversary since Panorama BBC Wimbledon and BBC Cricket, More4 also launches in HD for the first time, CITV will celebrate its 30th anniversary by airing an Old Skool weekend and celebrates its 50th anniversary by airing a Doctor Who special episode all across both Britain and the globe. Spring 2013 also sees the BBC Television centre's old building close with all the BBC services in London moving to the new one next door known as the Broadcasting House along with the debut of and Gogglebox on Peaky Blinders Channel 4 and BBC Two.
– Spring of this year sees 2012 in British television come to an end with the 1,693rd edition, when The Weakest Link Anne Robinson retires from the show to concentrate on Brand newer series of , Watchdog CBeebies celebrates 10 years of being separated from CBBC, Spring 2012 also sees ending on Harry Hill's TV Burp ITV with a huge finale after 10 or 11 years of broadcast, as well as the celebrating their 15th actual anniversary on the Teletubbies BBC. The events of the Olympic Games begin airing with the opening ceremony in London as well as the debut of from July of this year. The Tipping Point Digital Switchover is completed in October as the final analogue transmitters are switched off in Northern Ireland.
– Viewers watch the 2011 in British television Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, and the first broadcast of on Mrs. Brown's Boys BBC One. Little Mix become the first group to win . The X Factor BBC Four begins rerunning old editions of on Thursday evenings, starting from April 1976. Top of the Pops – A series of US-style 2010 in British television head-to-head party leaders' debates are broadcast across UK television ahead of the 2010 general election, the first such debates to be held in the run up to a UK election. ITV's breakfast television service GMTV is axed after seventeen years on air, and replaced by . Daybreak celebrates its 50th year on air with a Coronation Street live episode, while marks its 25th anniversary. The ITV period drama EastEnders makes its television debut. Downton Abbey
– This year sees many changes at 2009 in British television ITV as the company encounters financial troubles and The returns after 3 years of absence along with Coach Trip . 2009 also sees The Biggest Loser Six TV in Oxfordshire and Southampton defunct after only 10 years of localized airing and begins on Horrible Histories CBBC, begins on Timmy Time CBeebies and , Divided and The Chase all begin on The Cube ITV1 as well.
– Weekly comparison between overweight and underweight people programme 2008 in British television appears, Supersize vs Superskinny Freesat officially launches while ITV HD launches a full service and ITV's returns for its third run after being axed again four years previously. News at Ten also debuts on The Inbetweeners E4 along with the zombie miniseries Big Brother . Dead Set
– A series of 2007 in British television scandals involving allegations of phone-in segments of television programmes and quiz channels conning viewers, The BBC launches BBC iPlayer, The town of Whitehaven in Cumbria becomes the first place in the UK to lose their analogue television signals and start the digital switchover and ITV Play is defunct and rebranded as ITV Bingo. 2007 also sees the debuts of , Golden Balls and Benidorm on Britain's Got Talent ITV1 along with the CBBC Halloween-themed game show , Trapped! and the Shaun the Sheep on Prank Patrol CBBC, on In the Night Garden... CBeebies and and Gavin & Stacey on Outnumbered BBC One.
– 2006 in British television ITV Play and the CITV Channel both launch, Michael Grade is appointed as chief executive of ITV, Richard Hammond is seriously injured while driving a jet-powered car for a piece for , Top Gear axe weekly episodes before revival by Christmas and Top of the Pops is also axed along with Stars in Their Eyes due to viewer shortages. 2006 also sees They Think It's All Over begin on The Slammer CBBC as well as on Dancing on Ice ITV.
– After an absence of 16 years 2005 in British television returns to British television starting with Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston in the leading role, The quiz show is launched along with the Deal or No Deal and Coach Trip , The Biggest Loser sequels to take over from The Two Ronnies Sketchbook , The Two Ronnies More4 is launched and the ITV News Channel is defunct. 2005 also sees the debut of on The Apprentice BBC One.
– 2004 in British television launches a year before the Supernanny London Bombings, sequels to take over from Strictly Come Dancing , Come Dancing Greg Dyke resigns as Director-General of the BBC in the wake of the Hutton Report and axes from ITV for a second time. News at Ten also debuts on Peppa Pig Channel 5, along with on Something Special CBeebies and the long-running ITV singing talent show . 2004 also sees The X Factor Tiny Pop launched in the UK to replace Pop Plus.
– 2003 in British television becomes the first British television programme to reach its 50th anniversary since Panorama BBC Wimbledon and BBC Cricket and ITV screens the controversial Martin Bashir documentary . Living with Michael Jackson
– 2002 in British television Will Young is voted winner of the first series of , Pop Idol begins on Harry Hill's TV Burp ITV1 with ITV2 showing repeats afterwards, along with and I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here , Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway CBeebies launches to separate from CBBC, ITV Digital is replaced by Freeview, the ITV Sport Channel is defunct and Channel 5 is rebranded as Five. 2002 also sees , Raven , The Story of Tracy Beaker and The Basil Brush Show begin on Dick and Dom in Da Bungalow CBBC along with appearing on Channel 5. BrainTeaser
– The world witnesses the 2001 in British television September 11 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington. Regular programming is suspended in order to bring up to date coverage of events relating to the attacks. Charles Ingram cheats to win the £1 million prize on . ITV's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire returns after being axed two years previously, the News at Ten ITV Sport Channel launches along with E4 and ITV rebrands its English and Welsh services to ITV1. 2001 also sees TV soap return after 13 years of absence and Crossroads debut on The Office BBC Two. – 2000 in British television Judith Keppel becomes the first contestant to win the £1 million prize on . The UK versions of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and The Weakest Link also debut this year. Big Brother celebrates 40 years on air with a Coronation Street live episode and the ITV News Channel launches.
– Popular television presenter 1999 in British television Jill Dando is assassinated outside her home in West London, The murder remains unsolved to the present day, Six TV, Britain's sixth and last terrestrial localised channel launches in both Oxfordshire and Southampton, ITV axes after a run of 32 years and News at Ten BBC One broadcasts a marathon 28-hour programme to welcome in the new millennium. 1999 also sees the debut of on Tweenies BBC One.
– Digital 1998 in British television satellite television is launched in the UK, spearheaded by Sky. The UK's first two digital only stations, BBC Choice and ITV2 are both launched. ITV launches , Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Sky Sports News is also launched and the last of the ongoing 1940s debuts leaves the BBC after nearly 50 years. 1998 also sees Come Dancing take over from Don't Try This at Home at You Bet! Shepperton Studios.
– Launch of 1997 in British television Channel 5, Britain's fifth terrestrial channel followed by the first appearance of the on Teletubbies BBC One & BBC Two, The UKTV network and BBC News 24 are also launched. Programming schedules are abandoned to provide up to date news coverage following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. 1997 also sees the futuristic game show filmed in the latter half of this year and then appears on Robot Wars BBC Two in the early half of the following year.
– Launch of 1996 in British television Granada Sky Broadcasting and an unsuccessful rebranding of the ITV Tyne Tees region. 1996 also sees the beginning of a new Friday entertainment show towards the new millennium on TFI Friday Channel 4.
– This year sees the launch of several new satellite TV channels, as well as the first 1995 in British television National Television Awards, while Channel 5 Broadcasting Ltd is awarded the licence to run Channel 5. also debuts on Father Ted Channel 4. 1995 also sees the beginning of the sport game show . They Think It's All Over
– The 1994 in British television 1988–1994 broadcasting ban is lifted when the Provisional IRA declares a ceasefire. Following an earlier attempt to award the broadcasting licence for a fifth UK terrestrial television channel, the ITC readvertises for bids. After an absence of 7 years returns along with University Challenge , Play Your Cards Right BBC One airs the first National Lottery draw and BBC Two celebrates its 30th birthday. 1994 also sees appear along with Wipeout . Small Talk
– 1993 in British television Carlton Television takes over the ITV London Weekday franchise, replacing Thames Television after 24 years. Additionally, Meridian Broadcasting takes over the South of England franchise from TVS, Westcountry Television takes over the South West England franchise from TSW, and GMTV takes over the breakfast television franchise from TV-am. 1993 also sees Teletext Ltd take over the ITV and Channel 4 teletext franchises from ORACLE.
– The controversial one-off drama 1992 in British television is broadcast on Ghostwatch BBC One, a 'live' investigation into a haunted North London house. UK Gold is launched, a joint venture between the BBC and Thames Television. The ITC invites bids to run a fifth UK television channel but rejects the sole application amid concerns about its business plan and investor commitment to the project. 1992 also sees , University Challenge , Thunderbirds and Stingray all move from Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons ITV to the BBC. Live coverage of top flight English football transferred from ITV to Sky Sports meaning that viewers had to pay a subscription fee to watch the newly formed Premier League.
– Regular programming is abandoned in order to bring live coverage of the 1991 in British television Gulf War after Allied Forces launch Operation Desert Storm against Iraq. Over the duration of the war there is extended coverage of events in the Persian Gulf. ITV also broadcasts news and discussion programmes about the war throughout the night. Some broadcasting, particularly in the earlier part of the war, comes from CNN. Also this year the ITV franchise auction results are announced and take effect starting midnight GMT on 1 January 1993. – 1990 in British television British Satellite Broadcasting (BSB) is launched, but later merges with Sky Television plc after an unsuccessful run, The Broadcasting Bill receives Royal Assent, pop music game show first appears on Stars in Their Eyes ITV along with and You've Been Framed! , popular Mr. Bean BBC sitcom also appears and One Foot in the Grave debut on Sky. The Simpsons
– 1989 in British television Sky Television plc is launched while the government introduces a controversial Broadcasting Bill that will pave the way for the deregulation of commercial television. Also starring A Grand Day Out Wallace and Gromit debuts first on Channel 4 before moving to the BBC and debuts on Red Dwarf BBC2.
– 1988 in British television Comic Relief airs its first Red Nose Day fundraiser on BBC One while ITV broadcasts , a hugely controversial episode of Death on the Rock Thames Television's current affairs strand, investigating This Week Operation Flavius, which resulted in the SAS killing three members of the IRA in Gibraltar. The British government introduces 6 years of regulations banning the direct broadcast of people representing eleven Irish republican and Ulster loyalist groups. appears along with You Bet! and This Morning . 1988 also sees the end of the long-running soap 15 to 1 along with Crossroads to be replaced by Play School . Playdays
– 1987 in British television , ThunderCats , Going for Gold and Fireman Sam all debut on Charlie Chalk BBC One, The TV-am strike begins after members of the technician's union the ACTT walk out in a dispute over the station's ‘Caring Christmas Campaign.’ What is meant to be a 24-hour stoppage continues for several months when staff are locked out by Managing Director Bruce Gyngell. ITV is unable to broadcast , the regular format is replaced with a skeleton service that sees non-technical staff operating cameras and Gyngell himself directing proceedings, as well as imported shows such as Good Morning Britain , Flipper and Batman being used to fill up the station's airtime. The strikers are eventually sacked and replaced with non union staff. Viewing figures remain high throughout the disruption, which continues well into 1988, although normal programming gradually resumes. Other ITV stations later follow Gyngell's example. 1987 also sees the Happy Days ITV Schools service move to Channel 4 to allow ITV to develop a fully commercial daytime schedule and and The Old Grey Whistle Test end as does the original run of The Two Ronnies . Two separate government studies identify spare frequency space on the University Challenge UHF band, prompting political debate about the viability of a fifth UK terrestrial TV channel.
– 1986 in British television BBC One begins a full daytime schedule service for the first time, while Yorkshire becomes the first ITV region to begin broadcasting 24 hours a day. 1986 also sees make its British television debut along with Neighbours , Pingu and Casualty . Catchphrase
– 1985 in British television debuts along with EastEnders , Howards' Way and Bertha on Telly Addicts BBC One, The 17-hour Live Aid concert takes place in both London and Philadelphia, The last 405-line transmitters are switched off in the UK and Children's BBC is also launched.
– 1984 in British television Thames Television goes off the air for one day when technical staff walk out on strike, BBC One airs the first edition of and Crimewatch debuts on Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends ITV 12 years before moving to satellite channels Cartoon Network and Nick Jr..
– 1983 in British television BBC One and ITV launch their respective breakfast television services. Children's ITV is also launched. 1983 also sees Bob Holness presenting the first edition of on Blockbusters ITV.
– 1982 in British television Channel 4, Britain's fourth terrestrial channel, goes on air, along with the first airing of its first and long running teatime game show and first animated Christmas special Countdown ; The Snowman S4C, a Welsh-language version is also launched. "The Satellite Channel", the channel which later became Sky One, also goes on air.
– Viewers watch the 1981 in British television Wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer, and Only Fools and Horses both debut on Postman Pat BBC One. debuts on Danger Mouse ITV. ATV, Southern, and Westward go off air after losing their broadcasting franchises – they are replaced on 1 January 1982 by Central, TVS and TSW respectively. – Launch of 1980 in British television , the first televising of Newsnight , Watchdog and Family Fortunes both debut on Play Your Cards Right ITV and the first BBC telethon. Children in Need
– Technicians at 1979 in British television Thames Television go on strike – the dispute quickly spreads to other regions in the ITV network and ITV is off air for eleven weeks from 10 August to 24 October, Ceefax begins subtitles for some programmes, Robin Day presents the first edition of and Question Time Terry Wogan presents the first edition of . Blankety Blank
– 1978 in British television Anna Ford becomes the first female news reader on ITN and the first of ITV's is aired, presented by An Audience with Jasper Carrott.
– Colour television licenses exceed black & white licenses and repeated black & white programmes for the first time in the UK since ITV's colour strike and 1977 in British television , an Jesus of Nazareth Anglo- Italian television miniseries dramatizing the birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus based on the accounts in the four New Testament Gospels debuts on British television. The series stars Robert Powell as Jesus.
– The 1976 in British television opens on the Multicoloured Swap Shop BBC, Punk group the Sex Pistols cause a storm of controversy and outrage in the UK by swearing well before the watershed on the regional Thames Television news programme Today, hosted by Bill Grundy but Grundy, who has goaded them into doing so, is temporarily sacked making the news programme Today come to an end.
– The popular sitcom 1975 in British television first appears along with Fawlty Towers , The Good Life and Space 1999 on British television screens, as well as the police drama Paddington Bear . 1975 also sees the first transmission of a The Sweeney James Bond film on British television.
– The 1974 in British television BBC teletext service Ceefax first goes on air with 30 pages of information, and the Saturday morning children's entertainment series is launched by Tiswas ATV.
– Debuts of 1973 in British television Thames Television's critically acclaimed documentary series , and The World at War on The Wombles BBC Two.
– First Community Cable Television Experiment awarded to 1972 in British television Greenwich Cablevision. – Debut of BBC One's and Newsround ITV's , both of which continue to air to the present day, and Emmerdale Farm . Rainbow
– End of ITV's colour strike, Launch of the 1971 in British television , popular comedy show Old Grey Whistle Test and the popular series The Two Ronnies . Upstairs, Downstairs – The 1970 in British television goes on air for the first time and staff at BBC Nine O'Clock News ITV begin a three-month colour strike, making colour television programmes black & white like in previous years, after a dispute with their management over pay from 13 November of this year to February and December of the following year. also debuts on The Goodies BBC Two, as well as . The Adventures of Rupert Bear
– 1959 in British television ITV's Anglia, Tyne Tees and Ulster regions go on air.
– ITV's 1958 in British television TWW and Southern regions go on air and , the world's longest-running children's programme, is first broadcast by the Blue Peter BBC along with long-running various sport show . Grandstand
– 1957 in British television , the longest-running television programme hosted by the same presenter, The Sky at Night Patrick Moore, begins on the BBC. ITV's Scottish region goes on air.
– 1956 in British television , regarded as the first modern Hancock's Half Hour sitcom which began on BBC Radio, is transferred to BBC television. ITV's Granada and ATV regions go on air during weekdays. The weekend franchise in both areas is operated by ABC.
– 1955 in British television ITV launches, resulting in the destruction of the BBC's 23-year-long monopoly on British television.
– 1954 in British television , regarded as Britain's first soap, begins airing. The Grove Family
– The 1953 in British television coronation of Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom sees a vast increase in television set sales.
– The funeral of King 1952 in British television George VI is televised in the UK.
– The 1951 in British television Holme Moss transmitter is opened in Northern England, making BBC Television available to the region for the first time. – First televised report of general election results in the 1950 in British television UK.
Timelines of television by history