It is August 9th and my journey back to the 1983/84 football season is due to begin with the Charity Shield match between reigning champions Liverpool and FA Cup winners Manchester United on 20th August.
In preparation for my time travels, I will be whetting your appetite for this nine-month theme by sharing samples of popular culture from this era. Today I have published a television round up from 1983 with thanks to Wikipedia.
- 1 January – Channel 4 airs One in Five, a late-night profile of homosexual lifestyles. This programme and The Eleventh Hour: Veronica 4 Rose, featuring two schoolgirls discussing lesbianism, lead to extreme criticism for the channel and an attempt by Conservative MP John Carlisle to have the channel banned.
- 3 January – Children’s ITV premieres as a new branding for the late afternoon programming block on the ITV network replacing Watch It!.
- 6 January –
- 14 January – TV-am broadcasts a special edition to give advertisers shortly before the launch on 1 February.
- 17 January – At 6.30am, Britain’s first-ever breakfast television show, Breakfast Time, launches on BBC1.
- 1 February – TV-am launches on ITV, with Good Morning Britain.
- 4 February – American sitcom Cheers makes its British television debut on Channel 4 for the first time.
- 6 February – The Australian soap opera Sons and Daughters makes its British television debut when Central becomes the first ITV region to begin screening the programme. All other ITV regions soon follow suit.
- 8 February – Minipops premieres on Channel 4. Though a ratings success, it is axed after only one series due to heavy media criticism.
- 14 February – Granada Television faces an industrial dispute in which Coronation Street and World in Action are wiped out across the network.
- 17 February – Woodland Animations introduces a new stop-motion animated series, Gran, to BBC1 following the success of Postman Pat.
- 23 February – After months of “will she or won’t she?” drama, Deirdre Barlow (Anne Kirkbride) makes the choice to break up with Mike Baldwin (Johnny Briggs) and reunite with her estranged husband Ken (William Roache) on Coronation Street. The episode was one of the highest-rated in the soap’s history.
- 28 February – TV-am cuts its Daybreak programme to thirty minutes, allowing Good Morning Britain to begin half an hour earlier. Original Daybreak presenters Robert Kee and Angela Rippon are both replaced, with Gavin Scot (Weekdays) and Lynda Barry (weekends).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. Created by David Claridge and launched by TV-am children’s editor Anne Wood to entertain younger viewers during the Easter holidays, Roland is generally regarded as TV-am’s saviour, being described as “the only rat to join a sinking ship”.
- 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.
- 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.
- 19 April – Angela Rippon and Anna Ford are axed from TV-am.
- 29 April – Michael Parkinson is appointed to TV-am’s board of directors.
- 1 May – Debut of Alfresco on ITV, starring Robbie Coltrane, Ben Elton, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Siobhan Redmond and Emma Thompson. It was named after from the Italian word meaning “in the fresh air”, unusually for a comedy sketch show of the time.
- 2 May – From today, Ceefax pages are broadcast during all daytime downtime although BBC2 continues to fully close down for four hours after Play School. Teletext transmissions also begin on Channel 4 at around this time.
- 4 May – Jack Scott retires from the Met Office and presents his final national forecast for BBC Weather after 14 years, and joining Thames News remained as weatherman for five years.
- 5 May –
- London-based listings magazine Time Out is not allowed to publish full day’s television listings for BBC, ITV and Channel 4 programmes together, for some reasons that the Radio Times (BBC television/radio) and TVTimes (ITV/Channel 4) has brought the rights to publish other magazines such as newspapers, before the deregulation of television listings from 1 March 1991.
- Top of the Pops celebrates its 1000th edition. The programme is also broadcast on BBC Radio 1 to allow viewers to listen to the programme in stereo.
- 11 May – Peter Adamson makes his last appearance as Len Fairclough on Coronation Street.
- 17 May – Engineering Announcements is broadcast on ITV for the final time.
- 23 May – TV-am’s new look starts. Daybreak is axed, with Good Morning Britain extending to start at 6:25 am. Commander David Philpott is moved to present the weather at the weekends only, with Wincey Willis becoming the new weekday weather presenter.
- 24 May – Engineering Announcements is shown on Channel 4 and S4C for the first time.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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”.
- 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 9:00am until 3:00pm, 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.
- 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.
- 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 –
- Gerry Anderson and Christopher Burr’s science-fiction puppet series Terrahawks debuts on ITV, the show was Anderson’s first in over a decade to use puppets for its characters, and made use of latex muppet-style hand puppets to animate the characters in a process Anderson dubbed “Supermacromation“.
- Channel 4 broadcasts Tony Harrison‘s The Oresteia, an adaptation of classical Greek myths.
- 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.
- 24 October – Sixty Minutes launches on BBC1, replacing Nationwide but it ended less than a year later, and Reporting Scotland name was dropped, becoming Scotland Sixty Minutes.
- 25 October – BBC1 airs the seventh season of the US drama series Dallas.
- 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.
- 6 November – The final edition of Sale of the Century broadcasts on ITV after 12 years.
- 11 November – Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais‘ comedy drama Auf Wiedersehen, Pet debuts on ITV.
- 17 November – Debut of the film Those Glory Glory Days on Channel 4, part of the First Love series.
- 23 November – 20th anniversary of the first broadcast of Doctor Who.
- 25 November – The BBC airs The Five Doctors, a 90-minute episode of Doctor Who made to celebrate its 20th anniversary.
- 29 November – BBC1 airs An Englishman Abroad, based on the true story of a chance meeting of actress Coral Browne, with Guy Burgess (Alan Bates), a member of the Cambridge spy ring who spied for the Soviet Union while an officer at MI6. The production was written by Alan Bennett and directed by John Schlesinger; Browne stars as herself.
- ITV’s animated series Danger Mouse viewing figures reach 21.59 million, an all-time high for a British children’s programme.
- 3 December –
- 10 December – Veteran ITN newscaster Robert Kee introduces The Day After airs on ITV, starring Jason Robards, JoBeth Williams, Steve Guttenberg and John Lithgow. The film is about a fictional war between the NATO forces and the Warsaw Pact countries that rapidly escalates into a full-scale nuclear exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union were due to start World War III.
- 21 December – First showing on British television of The Fog, John Carpenter‘s 1980 horror film, which airs on BBC1.
- 24 December – British television premiere of Flash Gordon airs on BBC1, starring Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Topol, Max von Sydow, Timothy Dalton and Brian Blessed.
- 25 December – Premiere of Skywhales on Channel 4.
- 27 December – BBC2 shows the British television debut of Oh, God!, Carl Reiner‘s comedy about an unassuming supermarket manager chosen by God to spread his message, and starring George Burns and John Denver.
- 29 December – One year on, David Bowie introduces The Snowman is aired on Channel 4.
Whilst we are looking at television from 1983, I thought this would be a good opportunity to look at commercials from that era. These give away a lot about popular culture, as you can see through the following YouTube clip: