BBC Breakfast at 30: Marking 30 Years Of Breakfast Television in the UK

Today, Thursday 17 January 2013, is the 30th anniversary of the launch of breakfast television in the UK. The BBC launched its new “Breakfast Time” programme, beating ITV to the launch of its own service, TV-AM (which had a very troubled launch).

The show was a departure for the BBC as it had a much more relaxed feel than news programmes at that time, achieving a delicate balance between hard news and lighter items. Frank Bough, Selina Scott and Nick Ross presented, together including astrologer Russell Grant, ‘Green Goddess’ fitness expert Diana Moran and weather presenter Francis Wilson.

The programme has undergone numerous changes in its 30 year history. The programme adopted a harder news format in 1989 under the title “Breakfast News” and returned to its softer origins in 2000.

We now take 24 hour online and television news for granted. But in their absence, breakfast television was responsible for breaking major news stories in the 1980s such as the bombing of the Grand Hotel in Brighton during the Conservative Party Conference in 1984 and the great storm of 1987 which caused considerable damage across the South East of England.

Below is a clip from the launch of Breakfast Time on 17 January 1983, a behind the scenes feature from 1989, and two clips of highlights from the 20th anniversary of Breakfast Time in 2003.

I will return to the launch of TV-AM in time for its 30th anniversary and I wrote about Channel 4’s history of breakfast programming last year, as part of its 30th anniversary.

The launch of Breakfast Time, 17 January 1983

Breakfast Time – Behind The Scenes 1989

The 20th anniversary of Breakfast Time, 17 January 2003

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