Breakfast Time

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Breakfast Time
BBC Breakfast Time - 1st logo.jpg
Original Breakfast Time logo
Created byBBC News
Presented byVarious
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
Editor(s)Ron Neil
Original networkBBC1
Original release17 January 1983 (1983-01-17)[1] –
29 September 1989 (1989-09-29)[1]
Followed byBreakfast News

Breakfast Time was British television's first national breakfast television programme, broadcast from 17 January 1983 until 29 September 1989 on BBC1 across the United Kingdom. It was broadcast for the first time just over two weeks before TV-am, the commercial breakfast television station, started its service with the programme Good Morning Britain.


Breakfast Time mixed hard news with accessible features, creating a cosy feel, with sofas and bright colours;[2] the presenters typically wore casual clothes instead of formal suits, in contrast to the regular news broadcasts. Frank Bough, Selina Scott and Nick Ross anchored the show, with regulars such as Russell Grant (astrology) and Diana Moran, also known as the "Green Goddess" due to the colour of her leotard (fitness).

The news was read by Debbie Rix, while each region opted out of the main programme to broadcast short regional news bulletins. Initially, viewers in London and the South East were provided with their regional news by one of the main Breakfast Time presenters rather than a regional presentation team; this changed by the autumn of 1985 when the new London and South East regional news programme "London Plus" started to provide the regional news opt-outs during the programme.

The weather slot (known as Window On The Weather) was presented by Francis Wilson, and reflected the rest of the show in having a more laid-back feel. Window On The Weather actually introduced modern, projection-style graphics some two years ahead of the transition from the old-style magnetic boards used in the BBC's main weather bulletins. Whilst Wilson was the resident weather presenter on the show, other presenters such as Michael Fish, Bill Giles and Ian McCaskill stood in during Wilson's absence.

A commercial breakfast show, TV-am, launched two weeks later on ITV.[3] Despite TV-am's high-profile presenters, Breakfast Time proved more popular with viewers.[3][2]

Breakfast Time aired from 6:30 am until 9:00 am each weekday morning, compared to the seven-day-a-week service offered by TV-am. However, on Monday 18 February 1985, the programme changed to a later time slot of 6:50 am until 9:20 am.[4]

The programme notably broadcast continuous live coverage of the Brighton hotel bombing at the Conservative Party conference in 1984.[2] TV-am, meanwhile, were castigated by the broadcasting authority for their poor coverage of the event.[5] TV-am had just one crew covering the conference, but they had been called back to London to cover a train crash in Wembley.[6] Only John Stapleton was present in Brighton, and had to make do with phoning in reports from a public phone box, with a picture of him shown on screen, along with an archive picture of the hotel.

TV-am gradually adapted to an approach more like the BBC's, while Breakfast Time adopted a more formal news format on Monday 10 November 1986, with a news desk and presenters in suits.[1] Hardened journalists such as Jeremy Paxman and Kirsty Wark joined the team as the programme shifted its tone to analysis of the morning's news stories, especially politics; the new look programme also started later, running from 7:00 am until just before 9:00 am each weekday morning.[7][8]

On Monday 2 October 1989 the show became Breakfast News.[9]


BBC's first Breakfast Time team. Clockwise from top left: Francis Wilson, Debbie Rix, David Icke, Nick Ross, Selina Scott, Frank Bough.

First Edition wishes[edit]

During Breakfast Time's first broadcast, letters and telegrams were sent from different breakfast shows around the world to wish Breakfast Time good luck such as Network Ten for Australia, CTV for Canada, CBS and ABC for the United States, TVB for Hong Kong and NHK for Japan.[10]

Among the in-studio guests on the first "Breakfast Time" on 17 January 1983 was Jane Pauley, presenter of NBC News "Today" in the United States.

Further reading[edit]

  • Ian Jones, Morning Glory: A history of British breakfast television. Kelly, 2004. ISBN 1-903053-20-X


  1. ^ a b c "BBC NEWS - Programmes - Breakfast - Presenters - The Evolution of Breakfast".
  2. ^ a b c Gough, Patrick (13 January 2008). "Wake up call". Bournemouth Daily Echo. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  3. ^ a b "BBC Breakfast celebrates 30 years". BBC News. 13 January 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  4. ^ "Breakfast Time - BBC One London - 18 February 1985 - BBC Genome".
  5. ^
  6. ^ Bonner, P.; Aston, L. (13 December 2002). Independent Television in Britain: Volume 6 New Developments in Independent Television 1981-92: Channel 4, TV-am, Cable and Satellite. ISBN 9780230287136.
  7. ^ "Breakfast Time - BBC One London - 10 November 1986 - BBC Genome".
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 15 December 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ first tx. of "BBC BREAKFAST NEWS" (BBC1) BBC Timeline at the Wayback Machine (archived 29 November 2014)
  10. ^ Breakfast Time - First Edition Wishes from 17.1.1983. TVArk. 17 January 1983. Archived from the original on 29 April 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2013.

External links[edit]