1983 in British television

This is a list of British television-related events from 1983.

List of years in British television (table)





  • late February/early March – The BBC begins broadcasting a 30-minute Ceefax slot prior to the start of Breakfast Time. It is called Ceefax AM. It is first mentioned in the Radio Times on 21 March.[4]
  • 18 March –
    • Amid falling ratings and mounting pressure from investors, Peter Jay steps aside as TV-am's Chief Executive allowing Jonathan Aitken to take on the role.[5][6][7]
    • Channel 4 broadcasts in-vision teletext pages for the first time. Two magazines are shown – 4-Tel on View and Oracle on View – and in fifteen minute bursts which are repeated several times each day prior to the start of each day's transmissions. Teletext pages are only shown on weekdays.
  • 23 March – The BBC regrets that because of an industrial dispute at the printers in next week's edition of Radio Times are in short supply, but copies will be available in the South West, West, North East, parts of South and North of England, and no S4C listings in the Wales edition.


  • 1 April – Roland Rat makes his first appearance on TV-am.[8] Created by David Claridge and launched by TV-am children's editor Anne Wood to entertain younger viewers during the Easter holidays,[9][10] Roland is generally regarded as TV-am's saviour, being described as "the only rat to join a sinking ship".[11]
  • 2 and 9 April – Two issues of Radio Times fail to be published, due to industrial action.
  • 5 April – Debut of First Tuesday on ITV, the subject matter was mainly social issues and current affairs stories from around the world, with programmes being shown on the first Tuesday of the month.
  • 7 April – ITV airs an evening of programmes under the banner of ITV's Channel Four Showcase. It includes both current and upcoming Channel 4 programmes.[1]
  • 12 April – Timothy Aitken succeeds his cousin Jonathan as chief executive of TV-am due to the IBA rules regarding MPs operating a television station.[12]
  • 19 April – Angela Rippon and Anna Ford are axed from TV-am.[13]
  • 29 April – Michael Parkinson is appointed to TV-am's board of directors.[14]



  • 9–10 June – BBC1 and ITV broadcast coverage of the 1983 general election.
  • 15 June – The first episode of The Black Adder, the first in the successful Blackadder series of sitcoms, debuts on BBC One.
  • 24 June – BBC Schools programmes are broadcast as For Schools, Colleges, and on BBC1, for the final time ahead of their move to BBC2 in the autumn.
  • 27 June – The shareholders of Satellite Television agree a £5 million offer to give News International 65% of the company.[19][20]


  • 16 July – Debut of The Mad Death on BBC1, the three-part series examined the effects of an outbreak of rabies in the United Kingdom and was noted for its occasionally chilling content.
  • 29 July – Hit US action-adventure series of the 1980s The A-Team is shown for the first time in the UK on ITV.


  • 5 August – After 14 years on air, the final edition of Nationwide broadcasts on BBC1 for the last time.
  • 16 August – ITV broadcasts Woodentop as part of its Storyboard series. It would later be turned into a series and re-titled The Bill, commencing on 16 October 1984 and lasting until 31 August 2010.
  • 27–28 August – BBC2 Rocks Around the Clock by broadcasting non-stop music programmes all day and also all night.[21]
  • 29 August – Blockbusters is launched on ITV, hosted by Bob Holness and features sixth-form students as contestants.


  • 5 September – Debuts of Filmation's He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and Reilly, Ace of Spies on ITV.
  • 6 September – ITV broadcasts Killer. It would later be turned into a series and re-titled Taggart.
  • 9 September – London Weekend Television launches a computerised version of its ident with the tagline "Your Weekend ITV".[22]
  • 12 September – Animated series for children Henry's Cat created by veteran British animators Stan Hayward and Bob Godfrey begins its screening on BBC1.
  • 16 September – BBC2 closes down during the day for the final time – all future daytime downtime is filled by Pages from Ceefax.
  • 19 September – Daytime on Two launches on BBC2. Broadcasting during term time from just after 9:00 am until 3:00 pm, the strand encompasses the BBC Schools programming previously shown on BBC1 and the BBC's adult educational programmes which are shown at lunchtime. A special version of the BBC Two 'Computer Generated 2' ident is launched to introduce the programmes and a special sequence of Ceefax pages, called the Daytime on Two information Service, is broadcast during the longer gaps between programmes.[23][24]
  • September – Central finally launches its East Midlands service. An industrial dispute had prevented Central from launching its East Midlands service when it first went on air at the start of 1982.


  • October – Ceefax in Vision is seen through the morning and into the afternoon on BBC2 at the weekend for the first time during the Open University’s off-season. They continue to be shown on weekend mornings until the end of January when the OU reopens for the new term.
  • 2 October – ITV shows a live top flight football match for the first time since 1960. This marks the start of English football being shown on a national basis rather than on a regional basis, resulting in The Big Match becoming a fully national programme.
  • 3 October – Bananaman makes its debut on BBC1, based on the Nutty comic strip with the voices of Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie.
  • 4 October –
    • BBC1 broadcasts the Welsh children's animated series SuperTed which was based on a series of stories written by Welsh writer, producer and animator Mike Young to help his son overcome his fear of the dark. The series had been so popular it was spawned into merchandising and was broadcast in many countries worldwide.
    • The Adventures of Portland Bill, a stop-motion animated series from FilmFair London debuts on ITV.
  • 9 October –
  • 12 October – Doris Speed makes her last appearance as Annie Walker on Coronation Street.
  • 16 October – Satellite Television begins officially broadcasting in the UK. The channel had launched the previous year on cable in various European countries but to view the channel in the UK, a satellite dish approximately 10 feet (3 meters) wide had been required due to the channel being broadcast via the Orbital Test Satellite.[25]
  • 24 October – Sixty Minutes launches on BBC1, replacing Nationwide but it ended less than a year later.
  • 25 October – BBC1 airs the seventh season of the US drama series Dallas.[26]
  • 28 October – The famous "turkey" incident on Family Fortunes, in which one contestant (Bob Johnson) while playing the Big Money round, offered the answer to the first three questions, the answer scored zero for the first two questions and 21 points for the third question.







Channel 4Edit

Television showsEdit

Changes of network affiliationEdit

Shows Moved from Moved to
Des O'Connor Tonight BBC1 ITV
BBC Schools and Colleges programmes BBC2
Tell the Truth ITV Channel 4
WKRP in Cincinnati

Continuing television showsEdit


  • BBC Wimbledon (1927–1939, 1946–2019, 2021–present)


  • The Boat Race (1938–1939, 1946–2019)
  • BBC Cricket (1939, 1946–1999, 2020–2024)






Ending this yearEdit



Date Name Age Cinematic Credibility
2 January Dick Emery 67 comedian and actor
29 July David Niven 73 actor
20 October Peter Dudley 48 actor (Coronation Street)
15 November John Le Mesurier 71 actor (Dad's Army)
26 December Violet Carson 85 actress (Coronation Street)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "1983 : Off The Telly". Retrieved 23 January 2019.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ TV-am to start main show earlier. By Kenneth Gosling. The Times (London, England), 25 February 1983; pg. 2;
  3. ^ Breakfast TV battle claims first victim. By Kenneth Gosling. The Times (London, England), Thursday, 17 February 1983; pg. 1
  4. ^ "BBC One London – 21 March 1983 – BBC Genome". genome.ch.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  5. ^ Move to oust Jay at ailing TV-am. The Times (London, England), Friday, 18 March 1983; pg. 1
  6. ^ Jay ousted as backers move to save TV-amBarker, Dennis;Simpson, DavidThe Guardian (1959–2003); 19 March 1983; P1
  7. ^ TV-am shake-up expected after Peter Jay quits. The Times (London, England), Saturday, 19 March 1983
  8. ^ "Roland Rat Superstar". Ratfans.com. 1983-04-01. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  9. ^ "Roland Rat". TV-am. Archived from the original on 2013-10-17. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  10. ^ "Anne Wood C.B.E. – The Children's Media Foundation". Thechildrensmediafoundation.org. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  11. ^ Westcott, Matt (12 January 2015). "Car Torque with TV rodent superstar Roland Rat". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  12. ^ Gosling, Kenneth (13 April 1983). "Cousin of Aitken is TV-am chief". The Times. London, England. p. 2.
  13. ^ Barker, Dennis; Wainwright, Martin (20 April 1983). "TV-am sacks Ford and Rippon". The Guardian (1959–2003). p. 1.
  14. ^ Gosling, Kenneth (30 April 1983). "Parkinson gets key role in TV-am's future with place on board". The Times. London, England. p. 3.
  15. ^ "Top of the Pops – BBC One London – 5 May 1983". BBC Genome. BBC. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  16. ^ Transdiffusion Broadcasting System (3 September 2015). "☆ Last IBA Engineering Announcements on ITV – 17 May 1983". Retrieved 14 October 2018 – via YouTube.
  17. ^ Barker, Dennis (21 May 1983). "TV-am ready with its new look". The Guardian.
  18. ^ "New radio show for Wincey Willis". BBC News. BBC. 20 August 2010. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  19. ^ News International buys 65% of satellite group. By Bill Johnstone, Electronics Correspondent. The Times, Wednesday, 29 June 1983; pg. 13
  20. ^ Title The franchise affair: creating fortunes and failures in independent televisionAuthors Asa Briggs, Joanna SpicerEdition illustratedPublisher century, 1986Original from the University of MichiganDigitized 9 Oct 2006 ISBN 9780712612012
  21. ^ "BBC Two England – 27 August 1983 – BBC Genome". genome.ch.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  22. ^ "Ident Central" LWT 1970–1986". Archived from the original on 2019-02-18. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  23. ^ Broadcast of the Daytime On 2 Information Service
  24. ^ BBC2 Schools and Colleges inc Continuity
  25. ^ TV satellite set for weekend debut. By Bill Johnstone, Electronics Correspondent. The Times, Wednesday, 12 October 1983
  26. ^ "BBC One London - 25 October 1983 - BBC Genome". genome.ch.bbc.co.uk.
  27. ^ "BFI Screenonline: P'tang, Yang, Kipperbang (1982)". www.screenonline.org.uk. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  28. ^ "Cosgrove Hall: 30 years". BBC Manchester. June 2006. Retrieved 2013-10-12.
  29. ^ "The Fog – BBC One London – 21 December 1983 – BBC Genome". genome.ch.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  30. ^ "Oh God! – BBC Two England – 27 December 1983 – BBC Genome". Genome.ch.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-01-13.