Timeline of TV-am

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This is a timeline of breakfast television station TV-am

  • 1980
    • 24 January – The Independent Broadcasting Authority announces that in the next ITV franchising round it will offer a national licence for breakfast television.
    • 28 December – The IBA announces that TV-am has been awarded the contract to provide ITV with a breakfast television service. It beat off seven other bids for the franchise, to begin transmission in June 1983[1] so as to avoid clashing with the launch of Channel 4, which went on air in November 1982.
  • 1982
    • No events.
  • 1983
    • 1 February – TV-am launches on ITV, with Good Morning Britain. It is beaten to air by two weeks by the BBC's breakfast service Breakfast Time; the service operates seven days a week between 6 am to 9:15 am.
    • 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 Scott (weekdays) and Lynda Barry (weekends).[3][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]
    • 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]
    • 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]
    • April – Greg Dyke joins as Editor-in-Chief.
    • May – The 10-minute interval between the end of TV-am and the start of the regional ITV franchises at 9:25 am ends because the switch of the broadcast signals from TV-am to each regional ITV franchise becomes an automatic process and the IBA extended TV-am's hours to 9:25 am to allow for continuous programming.
    • 23 May – TV-am's new look starts.[15] 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.[16]
    • June – Nick Owen and Anne Diamond start joint-presenting Good Morning Britain.
    • August – TV-am has a ratings success when they employ Chris Tarrant to host a series of outside broadcasts from seaside resorts across the UK.
  • 1984
    • Australian business tycoon Kerry Packer takes a substantial minority interest in the company, and in early May he appoints his own Chief Executive, Bruce Gyngell, to help make the company financially viable. Greg Dyke leaves with a few weeks of the appointment to take a new position with TVS.[17] Ten days later, general manager Michael Moor also left the station.[18]
    • 12 October – The cost-cutting is brought sharply into focus in its coverage of the Brighton hotel bombing. The night before the terrorist attack, TV-am sent the production team home as it could not afford to pay for hotel rooms; when the blast occurred in the early hours, the BBC and ITN provided immediate coverage. TV-am's response was limited to a caption of reporter John Stapleton reporting over the phone.[19] Trade union agreements at the time meant that technical staff at the local ITV station TVS could not provide cover for another commercial television company, and TV-am's previous conflicts with ITN meant that the latter would not share its footage; the whole affair earned the company a severe rebuke from the IBA, who told the company to invest and improve its news coverage, or it would lose its licence.
    • 13 October – The first edition of children's programme Wide Awake Club is broadcast. It replaces Data Run and Rub-a-Dub-Tub; also cancelled is summertime filler SPLAT. The change is part of the cost-cutting programme.[20]
  • 1985
    • 3 January – TV-am expands its broadcasting hours. Weekday programmes begin ten minutes earlier during the week, at 6:15 am[21] and weekend programmes begin at 6:55 am.
    • 14 September – Wide Awake Club is extended and now runs for two hours, from 7:30 am until 9:25 am.
    • 3 October – Roland Rat transfers to the BBC. Commenting on the move, he says, "I saved TV-am and now I'm here to save the BBC."[22]
    • October – Following Roland Rat's move to the BBC, TV-am launches a new children's programme – a spin-off from Wide Awake Club called Wacaday.
  • 1987
    • For a short period in 1987, prior to the start of 24-hour broadcasting on ITV, a selection of teletext pages were broadcast in-vision prior to the start of TV-am. These pages mostly consisted of news and information about TV-am.
    • July – TV-am reintroduces a news hour, running from 6 am until 7 am.
    • September – TV-am recommences broadcasting each day from 6 am.
    • 23 November – The TV-am strike begins after members of the technicians 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. TV-am is unable to broadcast Good Morning Britain, the regular format is replaced with shows such as Flipper, Batman and Happy Days.
    • 7 December – A skeleton service that sees non-technical staff operating cameras and Gyngell himself directing proceedings, begin to allow Good Morning Britain to start broadcasting again. To begin with TV-am is able to switch from airing 100% pre-recorded material with the introduction of a 30-minute live segment each morning presented by Anne Diamond.[24]
    • 14 December – TV-am extends its live broadcasting to an hour a day.[24]
  • 1988
    • 14 January – Talks between TV-am's management and the ACTT begin aimed at resolving the ongoing strike.[24]
    • 25–29 January – TV-am airs a week of live broadcasts from Sydney to celebrate Australia's bicentenary, and featuring Anne Diamond and Mike Morris.[24]
    • 1 February –
      • TV-am celebrates its fifth birthday, with Anne Diamond joined by Richard Keys, Gyles Brandreth, Su Pollard and Jimmy Greaves. It is the first time TV-am has been able to get its daily output down to an hour of pre-recorded material since the beginning of the strike. However, the station continues to air imports of old US shows for several months.[24]
      • The deadline on which the ACTT must accept TV-am's "Ten Point Plan" aimed at resolving the strike. However, the plan is rejected by a ballot and the union refuses to resume negotiations.[24]
    • 16 February – TV-am Managing Director Bruce Gyngell sacks the station's locked out staff, and calls a meeting of its remaining employees the following morning to announce that the ACTT will never again organise itself at TV-am's studios. His decision fails to resolve the crisis, however, as picketing continues and the quality of its output remains unchanged.[24]
    • 30 May – TV-am does not go on air, with its airtime instead taken up by coverage of ITV's Telethon '88. The ACTT had asked its members to boycott the programme on this date, and fearful of sparking a nationwide dispute, TV-am's acting Managing Director, Adrian Moore, allows ITV to use the early morning airtime.[24]
    • July – Stephen Barden is appointed TV-am's new Managing Editor. With the station facing criticism from the IBA over the quality of its output, he acts quickly to improve matters. Repeats of imported US programmes finally come to an end, while new programming is launches, and programmes such as Frost on Sunday (off air since the strike began) are restored.[24]
    • 19 August – Following concerns about the quality of TV-am's programming, an emergency meeting of the IBA considers whether to review the station's franchise in early 1989. However, it is ultimately decided not to proceed with the review since the next franchise round is approaching, and the IBA feels the success of both organisations is mutually exclusive.[24]
    • 1 November – Having decided to step down from her presenting role on TV-am, Anne Diamond makes her final regular appearance on the station.[24]
  • 1991
    • September – Children's programme Hey, Hey, it's Saturday! is axed.
    • October – TV-am looks to branch out into radio when it bids with Virgin Communications Ltd to operate the UK's second Independent National Radio station.
    • 16 October – The ITC announces the results of the franchise round. Following the Broadcasting Act 1990, the ITC had to conduct a franchise auction whereby contracts would be given to the highest bidder, subject to fulfilling a programming ‘quality threshold.’ TV-am loses the national breakfast television franchise to Sunrise Television, later to be known as GMTV due to it not being the highest bidder.
  • 1992
    • February – Ahead of the loss of its franchise, TV-am closes its in-house news service and contracts it out to Sky News for a one-off payment. Other original programming, especially children's programming, is wound down ahead of the end of the company's franchise.
    • April – Independent Music Radio, the consortium which TV-am is a part, is awarded the second Independent National Radio licence.[25]
    • June – David Frost leaves. His final interviewee is Margaret Thatcher whose legislation was responsible for TV-am losing its licence.
    • 31 December – At 9:25 am, TV-am ends its final broadcast after 9 years and 10 months on air.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Southern and Westward TV lose franchises and others to be restructured. By Kenneth Gosling; the Times, Monday, 29 December 1980; pg. 1
  2. ^ "TV-am Studios". Ian White. 2005.
  3. ^ TV-am to start main show earlier. By Kenneth Gosling; the Times (London, England), 25 February 1983; pg. 2;
  4. ^ Breakfast TV battle claims first victim.By Kenneth Gosling; the Times (London, England), Thursday, 17 February 1983; pg. 1
  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. ^ 1. "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. ^ Barker, Dennis (21 May 1983). "TV-am ready with its new look". The Guardian.
  16. ^ "New radio show for Wincey Willis". BBC News. BBC. 20 August 2010. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  17. ^ TV-am chief to go in cuts dispute. By David Hewson, Arts Correspondent; the Times (London, England), Monday, 21 May 1984; pg. 3
  18. ^ Hewson, David (2 June 1984). "Manager quits TV-am after four weeks". The Times. p. 2.
  19. ^ "John Stapleton Reporting From Brighton – Image" (JPG). Hub.tv-ark.org.uk. Retrieved 2015-03-03.
  20. ^ "Ragdoll Story". Ragdoll.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2010-11-04. Retrieved 2013-09-07.
  21. ^ Thames Television closedown 2 January 1985
  22. ^ Hewson, David (3 October 1985). "Roland Rat joins Wogan at the BBC". The Times. News International. p. 3.
  23. ^ "TV presenter Nick Owen honoured". BBC News. 16 October 2006. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Jones, Ian (30 November 2003). "Eight: "I know a lot of people can't stand me"". Morning Glory: A History of British Breakfast Television. Kelly Publications. p. 93–102. ISBN 978-1903053201.
  25. ^ Henry, Georgina (3 April 1992). "TV-am and Virgin awarded pop radio franchise". The Guardian. London. p. 2. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  26. ^ Hosking, Patrick (2 December 1992). "TV-am gives up hunt for a new business". The Independent. London. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
  27. ^ Hosking, Patrick (29 April 1993). "Branson takes to the airwaves: Hopes are high as Virgin Radio begins broadcasting". The Independent. London. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
  28. ^ Bell, Emily (13 April 1997). "Branson to buy back radio shares". The Observer. London. p. 37. Retrieved 29 May 2009.