List of years in British television

This page indexes the individual year in British television pages. Each year is annotated with a significant event as a reference point.

2020s

  • 2023 in British television – The BBC News channel airs the final edition of The Papers, its nightly review of the following morning's newspaper headlines. From the following day, discussion of newspaper headlines will form part of its news content. BBC World News broadcasts coverage of the funeral of Pope Benedict XVI, The government confirms Channel 4 has been saved from privatisation and Panorama becomes the first ongoing British TV programme to reach and celebrate its 70th anniversary since BBC Wimbledon in 1997 and The Boat Race in 2008.
  • 2022 in British televisionBBC Three is relaunched as a television channel, six years after becoming an online service, while later in the year, BBC Director-General Tim Davie announces plans to move BBC Four and the CBBC Channel online. News UK launches the talkTV news channel. GB News begins a daily broadcast of the national anthem, 25 years after it was last aired daily by BBC television. BBC One hospital drama Holby City comes to an end after 23 years, while Channel 5 announces it will stop showing Neighbours, with the soap's final episode airing in July; Amazon Studios then picks up the series, announcing it will return in 2023. The Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II is celebrated on television, including BBC One soap EastEnders, where the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall make a cameo appearance. On 8 September, the death of Queen Elizabeth II is announced. All major television networks provide coverage of events following her death, while her funeral is broadcast by over 50 UK television channels and watched by a cumulative audience of 28 million. The proclamation of accession of Charles III also becomes the first such ceremony to be televised. The Old Bailey trials of Ben Oliver and Jemma Mitchell become the first criminal cases in England and Wales to have their sentencing phase broadcast on television after the Crown Court (Recording and Broadcasting) Order 2020 is enacted.
  • 2021 in British television – All major television networks cover the Death and funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, which occurs on 9 April, with the BBC receiving a record number of complaints (109,741) after it clears its schedule to provide rolling news coverage. GB News launches in June, with Nigel Farage joining as one of its presenters. The recording and release of many TV programmes are delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! takes place in Wales for a second year, but is forced off air for a number of days without a clear winner following damage caused by Storm Arwen; Talking Pictures TV launches the TPTV Encore catch-up service. 2021 also sees a two new game shows on BBC Two called Lightning and Unbeatable after the axing of BBC One's Impossible. The recording and release of some TV programmes are expected to be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 2020 in British television – Many popular TV shows, such as Through the Keyhole and Take Me Out are axed. The production of many TV shows is halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ITV announces that the 2020 series of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! will be staged at Gwrych Castle in North Wales due to travel restrictions imposed because of COVID. After the UK government axes funding for free television licences for over-75s the BBC are forced to start charging for them again from 1 August. Channel 4's Alternative Christmas Message causes controversy after it is delivered by a deepfake version of The Queen and airs at the same time as the real Christmas Message. Brexitcast ends on TV two days prior to it ending on the radio. The Crown Court (Recording and Broadcasting) Order 2020 paves the way for television cameras to be allowed to film the sentencing phase of criminal trials in England and Wales.

2010s

  • 2019 in British television – The Doctor Who seasonal special is moved from Christmas Day to New Year's Day. BBC Two Scotland closes and is replaced by a new BBC Scotland channel. The Jeremy Kyle Show is axed by ITV due to the death of a guest. The BBC One current affairs programme This Week is shown for the last time after sixteen years on air, and replaced by Brexitcast. Channel 4 opens its new national headquarters in Leeds.
  • 2018 in British television – BBC One airs the first of two editions of the latest version of The Generation Game, 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 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 The Circle debut on Channel 4. Series 11 of Doctor Who sees Jodie Whittaker star as the Thirteenth Doctor; she becomes the first woman to play the role of The Doctor.
  • 2017 in British television – The Saturday evening 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, Impossible debuts on the same channel, Channel 5, the Teletubbies and Robot Wars all celebrate their 20th anniversaries, In the Night Garden..., Shaun the Sheep and Golden Balls all celebrate their 10th anniversaries. ITV launches its pay-per-view service ITV Box Office, Wimbledon Tennis celebrates 90 years of coverage on the BBC during Wimbledon Tennis' 140th anniversary and Channel 4, S4C and Countdown all celebrate their 35th anniversaries.
  • 2016 in British television – The BBC announces a deal with 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, Casualty celebrates its 30th anniversary with a special feature-length episode. 2016 also sees the debut of a new 3pm slot game show Tenable on ITV after the axing of two other 3pm slot game shows 1000 Heartbeats and Rebound.
  • 2015 in British television – 10th anniversary of the 2005 relaunch of Doctor Who, The rebooted series of Teletubbies will feature voiceovers from names including 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, Thunderbirds celebrates its 50th anniversary with the debut of animated reboot 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 The X Factor and launch of YourTV on Freeview and YouView, Fox UK's first free-to-air channel and which is targeted at women. The vintage-film and nostalgia television channel Talking Pictures TV is launched.
  • 2014 in British television – 50th anniversary of the first edition of Top of the Pops. 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 Jimmy Savile. The first episode of Channel 4's controversial documentary series Benefits Street attracts several hundred viewer complaints. BBC Two celebrates its 50th anniversary along with Match of the Day. ITV axes its breakfast television programme Daybreak after nearly four years on air, replacing it with Good Morning Britain.
  • 2013 in British televisionBBC Two launches in high-definition for the first time 2+12 years after BBC One did, Panorama becomes the first ongoing British TV programme to reach and celebrate its 60th anniversary since BBC Wimbledon in 1987 The Boat Race in 1998 and BBC Cricket in 1999, More4 also launches in HD for the first time, CITV will celebrate its 30th anniversary by airing an Old Skool weekend and Doctor Who celebrates its 50th anniversary by airing a 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 Gogglebox and Peaky Blinders on Channel 4 and BBC Two.
  • 2012 in British television – Spring of this year sees The Weakest Link come to an end with the 1,693rd edition, when 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 Harry Hill's TV Burp ending on ITV with a huge finale after 10 or 11 years of broadcast, as well as the Teletubbies celebrating their 15th actual anniversary on the BBC. The events of the Olympic Games begin airing with the opening ceremony in London as well as the debut of Tipping Point from July of this year. The Digital Switchover is completed in October as the final analogue transmitters are switched off in Northern Ireland. In Scotland, the sentencing phase of the trial of David Gilroy is the first in the United Kingdom to be filmed for broadcast.
  • 2011 in British television – Viewers watch the Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, and the first broadcast of Mrs. Brown's Boys on BBC One. Little Mix become the first group to win The X Factor. BBC Four begins rerunning old editions of Top of the Pops on Thursday evenings, starting from April 1976.
  • 2010 in British television – A series of US-style 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. Coronation Street celebrates its 50th year on air with a live episode, while EastEnders marks its 25th anniversary. The ITV period drama Downton Abbey makes its television debut.

2000s

1990s

1980s

1970s

  • 1979 in British television – Technicians at 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 Question Time and Terry Wogan presents the first edition of Blankety Blank.
  • 1978 in British televisionAnna Ford becomes the first female news reader on ITN and the first of ITV's An Audience with is aired, presented by Jasper Carrott.
  • 1977 in British television – 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 Jesus of Nazareth, an 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.
  • 1976 in British television – The Multicoloured Swap Shop opens on the 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.
  • 1975 in British television – The popular sitcom Fawlty Towers first appears along with The Good Life, Space 1999 and Paddington Bear on British television screens, as well as the police drama The Sweeney. 1975 also sees the first transmission of a James Bond film on British television.
  • 1974 in British television – The BBC teletext service Ceefax first goes on air with 30 pages of information, and the Saturday morning children's entertainment series Tiswas is launched by ATV.
  • 1973 in British television – Debuts of Thames Television's critically acclaimed documentary series The World at War, and The Wombles on BBC Two.
  • 1972 in British television – First Community Cable Television Experiment awarded to Greenwich Cablevision. – Debut of BBC One's Newsround and ITV's Emmerdale Farm, both of which continue to air to the present day, and Rainbow.
  • 1971 in British television – End of ITV's colour strike, Launch of the Old Grey Whistle Test, popular comedy show The Two Ronnies and the popular series Upstairs, Downstairs.
  • 1970 in British television – The BBC Nine O'Clock News goes on air for the first time and staff at 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. The Goodies also debuts on BBC Two, as well as The Adventures of Rupert Bear.

1960s

1950s

  • 1959 in British television – The first Vienna New Year's Concert to be broadcast on television is aired by the BBC. ITV's Anglia, Tyne Tees and Ulster regions go on air.
  • 1958 in British television – ITV's TWW and Southern regions go on air and Blue Peter, the world's longest-running children's programme, is first broadcast by the BBC along with long-running various sport show Grandstand.
  • 1957 in British televisionThe Sky at Night, the longest-running television programme hosted by the same presenter, Patrick Moore, begins on the BBC. ITV's Scottish region goes on air.
  • 1956 in British televisionHancock's Half Hour, regarded as the first modern 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 Weekend TV.
  • 1955 in British televisionITV launches, resulting in the destruction of the BBC's 23-year-long monopoly on British television.
  • 1954 in British televisionThe Grove Family, regarded as Britain's first soap, begins airing.
  • 1953 in British television – The coronation of Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom sees a vast increase in television set sales.
  • 1952 in British television – The funeral of King George VI is televised in the UK.
  • 1951 in British television – The Holme Moss transmitter is opened in Northern England, making BBC Television available to the region for the first time.
  • 1950 in British television – First televised report of general election results in the UK.

1940s

  • 1949 in British television – The Sutton Coldfield television transmitter is opened in the Midlands, making it the first part of the UK outside London to receive BBC Television and long-running dancing show Come Dancing launches.
  • 1948 in British television – The BBC Television Service resumes broadcasting again and begins its coverage of the Olympic Games in London.
  • 1947 in British television – The BBC Television Service broadcasts are temporarily suspended since World War II due to a national fuel crisis.
  • 1946 in British television – The BBC resumes broadcasting for the first time since the end of World War II.
  • 1945 in British television – No television is broadcast during World War II. World War II ends on 2 September.
  • 1944 in British television – No television is broadcast during World War II.
  • 1943 in British television – No television is broadcast during World War II.
  • 1942 in British television – No television is broadcast during World War II.
  • 1941 in British television – No television is broadcast during World War II.
  • 1940 in British television – No television is broadcast during World War II.

1930s

  • 1939 in British television – Television broadcasts are suspended during World War II for fear that the signals would help German bombers.
  • 1938 in British television – First news bulletin carried by BBC television, in sound only. Previously, the service had aired British Movietone News cinema newsreels.
  • 1937 in British television – First outside broadcast at the Coronation of King George VI.
  • 1936 in British television – Electronically scanned television begins from Alexandra Palace.
  • 1935 in British television – Baird stops broadcasting in September.
  • 1934 in British television – The agreement for joint experimental transmissions by the BBC and John Logie Baird's company comes to an end.
  • 1933 in British television – The first television revue, Looking In, is shown on the BBC
  • 1932 in British televisionBBC Television begins broadcasting a regular channel, which later becomes BBC One.
  • 1931 in British television – No events for this year.
  • 1930 in British television – John Logie Baird installs a television receiver at the British Prime Minister's residence in London.

1920s

  • 1929 in British televisionJohn Logie Baird begins broadcasting 30-minute-long programmes for his mechanically scanned televisions.
  • 1928 in British television – John Logie Baird's Television Development Company demonstrates their model A, B, and C 'televisors' to the general public.
  • 1927 in British television – The BBC begins broadcasting as the British Broadcasting Corporation under the Royal Charter.
  • 1926 in British televisionJohn Logie Baird demonstrates the world's first television system.

Timelines of television by history

Television channels

  • Timeline of the BBC
    • Timeline of the BBC Television Service
    • Timeline of BBC One
    • Timeline of BBC Two
    • Timeline of non-flagship BBC television channels
  • Timeline of ITV
    • Timeline of ABC Weekend TV
    • Timeline of Anglia Television
    • Timeline of ATV
    • Timeline of Border Television
    • Timeline of Carlton Television
    • Timeline of Central Independent Television
    • Timeline of Channel Television
    • Timeline of Grampian Television
    • Timeline of Granada Television
    • Timeline of HTV West
    • Timeline of London Weekend Television
    • Timeline of Meridian Broadcasting
    • Timeline of Scottish Television
    • Timeline of Southern Television
    • Timeline of Thames Television and Associated-Rediffusion
    • Timeline of TSW and Westward
    • Timeline of TV-am
    • Timeline of TVS
    • Timeline of Tyne Tees Television
    • Timeline of Ulster Television
    • Timeline of Westcountry Television
    • Timeline of Yorkshire Television
  • Timeline of Channel 4
  • Timeline of Channel 5
  • Timeline of Sky Limited
  • Timeline of UKTV

Nations

  • Timeline of ITV in Wales
  • Timeline of television in Northern Ireland
  • Timeline of television in Scotland
  • Timeline of television in Wales

Cities

  • Timeline of television in London

See also

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