1988 in British television
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This is a list of British television related events from 1988.
- 4 January – BBC1 moves the repeat episode of Neighbours to a 5:35pm evening slot, the decision to do this having been made by controller Michael Grade on the advice of his daughter.
- 6 January – All ITV regions network Emmerdale Farm in the Wednesday and Thursday 6.30pm slot.
- 11 January – The first episode of the game show Fifteen to One airs on Channel 4.
- 25–29 January – TV-am airs a week of live broadcasts from Sydney to celebrate Australia's bicentenary.
- 5 February – Comic Relief airs its Red Nose Day fundraiser on BBC1.
- 13–28 February – The 1988 Winter Olympics are held in Calgary, Alberta and broadcast to television audiences around the world.
- 15 February - Red Dwarf makes its debut on BBC2
- 20 February – London's Burning makes its debut as a regular series on ITV, having been developed from Jack Rosenthal's original 1986 film.
- 19 March – Two off-duty British soldiers are killed after stumbling into an IRA funeral procession in Belfast. Footage of the incident is captured by journalists and widely broadcast.
- 22 March – Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher tells the House of Commons that journalist have a "bounden duty" to assist the police investigation into the corporals killings by handing over their footage. Many have refused to do so fearing it could place them in danger.
- 23 March – Film of the corporals killings is seized from the BBC and ITN under the Prevention of Terrorism and Emergency Provisions Acts.
- 4 April – The original series of Crossroads airs for the last time on ITV. It returns in 2001 before being axed again in 2003.
- 6 April – ITV's chart show The Roxy airs for the last time.
- 15 April – The Pogues perform their controversial hit Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six – a song expressing support for those convicted over the Guildford and Birmingham pub bombings – on the Ben Elton Channel 4 show Friday Night Live. The song is cut short, however, by a commercial break.
- 28 April – ITV broadcasts Death on the Rock, a hugely controversial episode of Thames Television's This Week current affairs strand, investigating Operation Flavius, which resulted in the SAS killing three members of the IRA in Gibraltar on 6 March.
- 16 May – The youth strand DEF II is launched on BBC2 in the UK.
- 30 May – Debut of Charles Wood's screenplay Tumbledown about the experiences of Scots Guard Robert Lawrence, who was left paralysed after being shot in the head by a sniper at the Battle of Mount Tumbledown during the Falklands War.
- 8 June –
- 11 June – The Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute concert is staged at Wembley Stadium, London, and broadcast to 67 countries and an audience of 600 million. In the UK it is broadcast on BBC 2.
- 23 June - Three gay rights activists invade the BBC studios during a six o'clock bulletin of the BBC News.
- 19 July – The Bill broadcasts the first episode of its fourth season and switches to a year-round serial format.
- 3 August – Brookside is moved from Tuesdays to Wednesdays which means the soap can now be seen on Mondays and Wednesdays.
- 31 August – ITV airs a version of The Hound of the Baskervilles starring Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke.
- 8 September – Channel 4 drops plans to invite Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams to appear on an edition of its late night discussion programme After Dark following objections from other contributors.
- 17 September-2 October – The 1988 Summer Olympics are held in Seoul, South Korea and broadcast to television audiences around the world.
- 30 September – Television presenters Mike Smith and Sarah Greene are seriously injured in a helicopter crash in Gloucestershire.
- 3 October – The magazine programme This Morning makes its debut. It is presented by Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan until 2001.
- 19 October – Home Secretary Douglas Hurd issues a notice under clause 13(4) of the BBC Licence and Agreement to the BBC and under section 29(3) of the Broadcasting Act 1981 to the Independent Broadcasting Authority prohibiting the broadcast of direct statements by representatives or supporters of 11 Irish political and military organisations. The ban lasts until 1994, and denies the UK news media the right to broadcast the voices, though not the words, of all Irish republican and Loyalist paramilitaries. The restrictions – targeted primarily at Sinn Féin – means that actors are used to speak the words of any representative interviewed for radio and television.
- 25 October – As the 25th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy approaches ITV airs the two part documentary The Men Who Killed Kennedy, a film which explores discrepancies and inconsistencies in the US Government's official version of events.
- 2 November –
- In the House of Commons, an amendment introduced by the opposition Labour Party condemning the government's decision over the broadcasting ban as "incompatible with a free society" is rejected, despite some Conservative MPs voting with Labour.
- Evacuation, an episode of ITV's The Bill features one of the series early prominent events - an explosion at Sun Hill police station.
- 8 November – BBC 1 airs Episode 523 of Neighbours featuring the wedding of Scott Robinson and Charlene Mitchell, which is watched by 20 million viewers.
- 13 November-18 December - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, one of C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, is aired as a six-part TV serial by the BBC, featuring actors including Ronald Pickup, Barbara Kellerman and Michael Aldridge.
- 23 November – The BBC science fiction series Doctor Who celebrates its 25th anniversary and begins the three part serial Silver Nemesis.
- 24 November – Frank Ruse, a left-wing Labour councillor for Liverpool City Council accompanies Liverpool's Pagoda Chinese Youth Orchestra to London for an appearance on Blue Peter. He is given a Blue Peter badge, but later receives a BBC headed letter requesting its return. The letter (later discovered to be a forgery) claims the programme had been approached by the office of Labour leader Neil Kinnock expressing concern that a councillor with hard-left views had been given a Blue Peter badge. Upon receiving the returned badge, the BBC writes back to Ruse stating that it had not sent the letter. The incident prompts Ruse to start an enquiry to find out who sent the hoax letter.
- 26 November – Tugs a children's model animated series made by Clearwater Features (the company behind the first two seasons of Thomas the Tank Enigne & Friends) debuts on ITV.
- 1 December – ITV's ORACLE Teletext service launches Park Avenue, a teletext based soap opera. It is written by Robert Burns and runs until ORACLE loses its franchise at the end of 1992.
- 3 December – Comedian Steve Tandy wins New Faces of '88.
- 11 December – Launch date of the Astra Satellite. The satellite will provide television coverage to Western Europe and is revolutionary as one of the first medium-powered satellites, allowing reception with smaller dishes than has previously been possible.
- 13 December – Central airs the final episode of Sons and Daughters making it the first ITV region to complete the series.
- 22 December – BBC1 airs Civvy Street, a spin-off episode of EastEnders set during World War II.
- 25 December – The final edition of It's a Knockout to air on BBC1 is another celebrity special, It's a Charity Knockout From Walt Disney World, featuring teams of celebrities from the United Kingdom, United States and Australia. The series returns to S4C in 1991.
- 26–30 December – As part of a Christmas special, Channel 4 soap Brookside airs five episodes over five consecutive days.
- Unknown – Ulster Television in Northern Ireland is the last in the ITV network to begin 24-hour transmission.
- 3 January – First of the Summer Wine (1988–1989)
- 3 May – 4 Square (1988–1991)
- 30 May – Tumbledown
- 3 September – Noel's Saturday Roadshow (1988–1990)
- 12 September – Stoppit and Tidyup (1987–1990)
- 18 September – On the Record (1988–2002)
- 17 October – Playdays (1988–1997)
- 20 October – Charlie Chalk (1988–1989)
- 29 December – You Rang, M'Lord? (1988–1993)
- 15 February – Red Dwarf (1988–1999, 2009).
- 9 May – DEF II (1988–1994)
- 18 October – Colin's Sandwich (1988–1990)
- 4 January – After Henry (1988–1992)
- 20 February –
- 16 April – All Clued Up (1988–1991)
- 19 July - Wheel of Fortune (1988–2001)
- 26 July – I Can Do That (1988–1991)
- 3 September – The Hit Man and Her (1988–1992)
- 6 September – Count Duckula (1988–1993).
- 3 October – This Morning (1988—present)
- 24 November – Children's Ward (1988–2000).
- 26 November - TUGS (1988–1989)
- 1 December – Park Avenue on ORACLE (1988–1992)
- 3 December – How to Be Cool (1988)
- 4 January – Fifteen to One (1988–2003, 2013–present)
- 23 September – Whose Line Is It Anyway? (1988–1998)
- Come Dancing (1949–1998)
- Panorama (1953–present)
- Opportunity Knocks (1956–1978, 1987–1990)
- This Week (1956–1978, 1986–1992)
- What the Papers Say (1956–2008)
- The Sky at Night (1957–present)
- Blue Peter (1958–present)
- Grandstand (1958–2007)
- Coronation Street (1960–present)
- Songs of Praise (1961–present)
- Doctor Who (1963–1989, 2005–present)
- World in Action (1963–1998)
- Top of the Pops (1964–2006)
- Match of the Day (1964–present)
- Mr. and Mrs. (1964–1999, 2008–2010, 2012–present)
- Jackanory (1965–1996, 2006–present)
- The Money Programme (1966–present)
- The Big Match (1968–2002)
- Rainbow (1972–1992, 1994–1995)
- Emmerdale (1972–present)
- Newsround (1972–present)
- Last of the Summer Wine (1973–2010)
- That's Life! (1973–1994)
- Wish You Were Here...? (1974–2003)
- Arena (1975–present)
- Jim'll Fix It (1975–1994)
- One Man and His Dog (1976–present)
- Grange Hill (1978–2008)
- The Book Tower (1979–1989)
- Blankety Blank (1979–1990, 1997–2002)
- The Paul Daniels Magic Show (1979–1994)
- Antiques Roadshow (1979–present)
- Question Time (1979–present)
- Children in Need (1980–present)
- Bergerac (1981–1991)
- 'Allo 'Allo! (1982–1992)
- Wogan (1981–1992)
- Brookside (1982–2003)
- Countdown (1982–present)
- Timewatch (1982–present)
- Right to Reply (1982–2001)
- Breakfast Time (1983–1989)
- Dramarama (1983–1989)
- Don't Wait Up (1983–1990)
- Aspel & Company (1984–1993)
- Good Morning Britain (1983–1992, 2014–present)
- First Tuesday (1983–1993)
- Highway (1983–1993)
- Blockbusters (1983–93, 1994–95, 1997, 2000–01, 2012–present)
- Ever Decreasing Circles (1984–1989)
- Wide Awake Club (1984–1992)
- Bob's Full House (1984–1990)
- Spitting Image (1984–1996)
- The Bill (1984–2010)
- Three Up, Two Down (1985–1989)
- Home to Roost (1985–1990)
- Howards' Way (1985–1990)
- Busman's Holiday (1985–1993)
- EastEnders (1985–present)
- The Cook Report (1985–1998)
- Crosswits (1985–1998)
- Telly Addicts (1985–1998)
- Comic Relief (1985–present)
- Bread (1986–1991)
- Brush Strokes (1986–1991)
- Naked Video (1986–1991)
- Boon (1986–1992, 1995)
- Every Second Counts (1986–1993)
- Lovejoy (1986–1994)
- Beadle's About (1986–1996)
- The Chart Show (1986–1998, 2008–2009)
- Casualty (1986–present)
- All Clued Up (1987–1992)
- Allsorts (1987–1995)
- Going Live! (1987–1993)
- Watching (1987–1993)
- The Time, The Place (1987–1996)
- Going for Gold (1987–1996, 2008–2009)
- Chain Letters (1987–1997)
- ChuckleVision (1987–2009)
Ending this year
- 2 January
- 13 January – Your Mother Wouldn't Like It (1985–1988)
- 28 January – Yes Minister (1980–1988)
- 11 March – Play School (1964–1988)
- 18 March – Rockliffe's Babies (1987–1988)
- 4 April – Crossroads (1964–1988, 2001–2003)
- 6 April – The Roxy (1987–1988)
- 17 April - Hot Metal (1986–1988)
- 13 May – Tales of the Unexpected (1979–1988)
- 30 May – All in Good Faith (1985–1988)
- 26 August – Child's Play (1984–1988)
- 28 August – Get Fresh (1986–1988)
- 10 October – Sorry! (1981–1982, 1985–1988)
- 23 October – Network 7 (1987–1988)
- 27 October – Beat the Teacher (1984–1988)
- 1 December – Button Moon (1980–1988)
- 3 December – New Faces (1973–1978, 1986–1988)
- 17 December – How to Be Cool (1988)
- 24 December – 3-2-1 (1978–1988)
- 27 December – Executive Stress (1986–1988)
- 14 January – Jack P. Shepherd, actor
- 28 March – Lacey Turner, actress
- 2 December – Alfred Enoch, actor
- 1 January – Margot Bryant, 90, actress (Minnie Caldwell in Coronation Street)
- 7 January – Trevor Howard, 74, actor
- 18 March – Percy Thrower, 75, gardener and broadcaster
- 15 April – Kenneth Williams, 62, comic actor
- 27 April – David Scarboro, 20, actor
- 8 June – Russell Harty, 53, television presenter
- 9 July - Barbara Woodhouse, 78, Dog trainer (Training Dogs the Woodhouse Way)
- 20 September – Roy Kinnear, 53, actor
- "6 MURDERS LINKED IN BELFAST COURT". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). 23 March 1988. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
- Moloney, Ed (1991). "Chapter 1: Closing Down the Airwaves: The story of the Broadcasting Ban". In Rolston, Bill. The Media and Northern Ireland. Macmillan Academic and Professional Ltd. ISBN 0 333 51575 7.
- Mike Ketchum. "The Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute Concert, Wembley Stadium, London, 11 June 1988". African National Congress. Archived from the original on 2009-05-08. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
- "Sinn Fein chief's TV invitation withdrawn". The Times (News international). 9 September 1988.
- "BBC presenters in helicopter crash". BBC On This Day. 1988-09-10. Retrieved 17 May 2009.
- Eldridge, John Eric Thomas; Philo, Greg (1995). Glasgow Media Group Reader: Industry, Economy, War and Politics 2. Psychology Press. p. 48.
- Political Debate and the Role of the Media: The Fragility of Free Speech. European Audiovisual Observatory. 2004. p 91 footnote 14. ISBN 978-92-871-5675-4.
- Welch, Francis (5 April 2005). "The 'broadcast ban' on Sinn Fein". BBC News.
- West, Michael (3 November 1988). "Thatcher wins backing for IRA-TV ban". The Telegraph. p. 34. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
- Simon, Jane (13 October 1996). "101 Neighbours Facts To Oz-tonish You!". The People (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 10 August 2012.
- "Is Kylie really so lucky, lucky, lucky?". Belfast Telegraph (Independent News and Media). 27 June 2008. Retrieved 21 March 2014. (subscription required (. ))
- "Blue Peter: Inside The Archives by Richard Marson (page 252, Series 1988–1989 Programme 22)". Kaleidoscope Publishing. 27 October 2008. Retrieved 2 February 2009.
- "Dear Blue Peter...: The Best of 50 Years of Letters to Britain's Favourite Children's Programme 1958–2008 by Biddy Baxter (pages 20–21)". Short Books. 4 September 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
- How to Be Cool at the BFI database