1999 in British television

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This is a list of British television related events from 1999.

Events[edit]

January[edit]

February[edit]

  • 1 February – Kelly Brook takes over from Denise van Outen as co-presenter of Channel 4's The Big Breakfast.[17][18]
  • 2 February – As Glenn Hoddle is sacked as England Manager following the controversy over comments he made during a recent interview it is revealed his 13-year-old daughter, Zara, wrote to the BBC's Ceefax asking people to leave Hoddle alone to get on with his job.[19][20]
  • 3 February – It is reported that Martini is to sign a £1 million contract with ITV to sponsor a season of James Bond films. The channel is planning to screen all 18 Bond films, beginning with GoldenEye in March, then broadcasting them in chronological order, from Dr. No to Tomorrow Never Dies.[21] GoldenEye airs at 8.30 pm on 10 March.[22] Dr. No is screened on 29 May.[23] Tomorrow Never Dies makes its television debut on 9 October.[24]
  • 11 February – Three members of production staff are suspended from BBC One's The Vanessa Show following reports in The Mirror that fake guests appeared on the programme.[25] They are later sacked following an internal inquiry.[26]
  • 18 February – ITV screens the Granada Television film The Murder of Stephen Lawrence, a dramatisation of the aftermath of the 1993 murder of Stephen Lawrence told from the point of view of his parents.[27]
  • 23 February – Channel 4 debuts Russell T. Davies's groundbreaking series Queer as Folk.[28][29]
  • 25 February –
    • The BBC announces that Noel's House Party will be axed after eight years. The most recent edition of the show drew an audience of less than six million, and it will finish when its current run ends on 20 March.[30]
    • The Broadcasting Standards Commission upholds a complaint about a feature in the Teletext games magazine, Digitiser from 26 October 1998. The gossip column, Gossi the Dog had alluded to Gossi's master thrashing the talking cartoon dog with a belt.[31]
  • 26 February –

March[edit]

  • 5 March – After 32 years, what is billed as the last ever News at Ten is broadcast on ITV, hosted as usual by Trevor McDonald.[22] It is replaced with a 6.30pm bulletin, the ITV Evening News and an 11.00pm programme, ITV Nightly News from the following Monday (8 March).[36][37] In the event, News at Ten returns in 2001,[38] is axed again in 2004,[39] and resurrected in 2008.[40] It is restored as a five-nights-a-week programme from March 2009.[41] 5 March 1999 also sees the final broadcast of the ITV Evening News in its long running 5.40pm slot.[42] The changes at ITV also prompt other broadcasters to review their news scheduling. Sky News and BBC News 24 both launch 10.00pm bulletins to fill the gap left by News at Ten, while Channel 5 reschedules its evening news bulletin to 6.00pm. Channel 4 News is also relaunched.[37][43]
  • 8–12 March – ITV's first week without News at Ten includes the television premieres of two films, GoldenEye and The Specialist, an episode of Kavanagh QC, and a series of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.[44]
  • 9 March – A contestant who won £125,000 on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? despite answering a question incorrectly will be allowed to keep his prize money, it is reported. The error occurred after researchers matched the wrong answer with a question about tennis, but the mistake was quickly spotted by viewers. Celador, which produces the show, says it will review its checking procedure.[45]
  • 10 March –
    • Carlton Television buys Bob Geldof's production company, Planet 24, in a deal City analysts believe to be worth £15 million.[46]
    • The Vanessa Show is interrupted by a male streaker. The lads' magazine Front later claims responsibility for the stunt.[47]
  • 11 March – Reports that new Big Breakfast presenter Kelly Brook is struggling with her presenting role are laughed off by the programme after an email from its assistant producer suggested the number of big words in her script should be limited was leaked to the media.[48]
  • 12 March – This year's Comic Relief telethon includes a Doctor Who parody featuring Rowan Atkinson as The Doctor, Julia Sawalha as his sidekick, and Jonathan Pryce as The Master.[49] A special episode of The Vicar of Dibley includes cameo appearances by Johnny Depp and Sarah, Duchess of York.[50]
  • 15 March – Provisional viewing figures released for the first week of ITV's schedule changes indicate the channel enjoyed a 5% increase in ratings. ITV says it is pleased with the results, but expects the figures to drop again following the initial interest in its new lineup.[51]
  • 17 March
  • 21 March – Ernie Wise, the surviving half of UK comedy duo, Morecambe and Wise dies of a heart attack, aged 73, following ongoing heart trouble.[54]
  • 22 March –
    • It is announced that The Jack Docherty Show will end after two years as host Jack Docherty is to leave Channel 5. He says the show has "burned out" and is running out of guests. The final edition airs on 23 June.[55]
    • A November 1998 episode of children's series Sooty about fragrances in which the characters were seen sniffing medicine bottles is criticised by the Independent Television Commission amid concerns it could prompt copycat behaviour.[56]
  • 24 March –
  • 30 March –
    • UKTV announces plans to rebrand UK Gold Classics as UK Gold 2.[58] The changes will take place from the coming weekend.[59]
    • In its annual review of UK commercial television, the Independent Television Commission criticises ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 for showing too much sex.[60]

April[edit]

  • 2 April –
    • UK Gold launches new fireworks idents.
    • BBC One airs Parkinson Meets Woody Allen, a 50-minute programme in which film director Woody Allen gives his first British television interview for 35 years.[61] Allen is questioned extensively about his private life by host Michael Parkinson, but is reluctant to speak on some topics. The BBC subsequently rejects reports that Allen had asked producers to edit out parts of the interview in which he discusses his marriage to his stepdaughter.[62]
  • 3 April - After just two and a half years, Channel 4 is given another whole new look replacing the previous circles idents with all new squares idents.
  • 5 April –
  • 8 April –
    • Debut of the BBC children's series Miami 7 featuring the manufactured pop group S Club 7. The series combines drama and musical performance, and is intended as a vehicle to launch the group's music career, with their debut single being released on 7 June.[66]
    • ITV launches its new news and current affairs programme, Tonight with Trevor McDonald. Based on the format of US shows such as 60 Minutes and featuring a team of high-profile journalists, the first edition features an interview with the five individuals suspected of the murder of Stephen Lawrence. The launch comes amid reports that ITV news coverage has lost as many as a million viewers since News at Ten was axed in March.[67] The edition prompts fifteen complaints to the Independent Television Commission from viewers who felt it was wrong to give the men a platform to defend themselves, but the Commission rules in August that Martin Bashir's questioning had meant the programme was "anything but a platform" for the suspects.[68]
  • 14 April – ITV airs the British television premiere of Girls' Night, a film that was produced by Granada Television as part of the ITV Film Initiative, a scheme establish in 1996 aimed at boosting the British film industry and increasing the number of home grown films.[69]
  • 19 April – US talk show presenter Jerry Springer makes his UK television debut presenting the first of two editions of This Morning alongside Judy Finnigan while her husband Richard Madeley is busy working on another television project.[70]
  • 20 April – It emerges that Channel 4 have asked the producers of Brookside to tone down an attempted rape scene due to air the following evening because the content may be too graphic to air before the 9.00 pm watershed.[71]
  • 21 April – A week after the Government announces new targets for the proportion of ethnic police officers, ITV's The Bill announces two new black characters will join the series—Police Constable Di Worrell (played by Jane Wall) and Detective Constable Danny Glaze (Karl Collins), who will become the show's first black male CID officer. The Bill '​s producers say the announcement is not a response to the Government initiative, but had been planned for several months.[72]
  • 26 April – Television presenter Jill Dando is assassinated outside her home in west London.[73] Her death sparks a huge manhunt by the Metropolitan Police and leads to the trial of Barry George. Initially convicted of the murder, after a successful appeal and retrial, George is acquitted on 1 August 2008, thus leaving the crime unsolved.[74]
  • 27 April – Channel 5 announce plans to resurrect It's a Knockout with original presenter Stuart Hall at the helm. The channel is also bringing Jeremy Beadle back to television with a new series in which contestants win his money.[75]
  • 29 April –
  • 30 April – The BBC is reviewing whether or not to air the remaining episodes of Antiques Inspectors following Jill Dando's murder, Broadcast magazine reports. The series had made its debut with Dando as presenter on 25 April, with filming of the final episode completed two days before that.[79] The programme is subsequently cancelled,[80] but it is decided later in the year that it should be aired as a tribute to the presenter, with the series beginning its run from 5 September.[81]

May[edit]

  • 1 May – From the Earth to the Moon, a 13-part spin-off from the film Apollo 13 made by HBO debuts on Channel 4.[78]
  • 2 May – Sheena McDonald is released from hospital two months after she received severe head injuries when she was hit by a police van.[82]
  • 5 May – An inquest into the death of Rod Hull records a verdict of accidental death.[83]
  • 6–7 May – BBC One provides coverage of the first elections to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly, as well as the year's local elections.[84]
  • 9 May – Michael Parkinson presents the 1999 British Television Academy Awards, in which the UK television industry pays tribute to the late Jill Dando. She had been due to host the ceremony alongside Parkinson, but following her death the BBC had decided not to replace her.[85]
  • 10 May – BBC network news is relaunched with new music, titles and a red and ivory set. This design is used for the 25 October relaunch of News 24, enhancing cross-channel promotion of the service.
  • 11 May – The BBC confirms that EastEnders actress Danniella Westbrook will return to the soap as Sam Mitchell in the summer, three years after she was last seen on screen.[86]
  • 14 May – Helen Rollason presents the first Friday sport bulletin on BBC's Six O'Clock News.[87]
  • 18 May – The BBC's Crimewatch programme broadcasts a reconstruction of presenter Jill Dando's murder. The show opens without its usual titles and music.[88]
  • 19 May – ITV airs the first British Soap Awards, which are presented by Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan. The Awards ceremony had been recorded the previous weekend.[89]
  • 20 May –
    • The first Pride of Britain Awards, an annual event launched by The Mirror newspaper to honour ordinary people who have acted bravely or extraordinarily in challenging situations, are presented by Carol Vorderman at London's Dorchester Hotel.[90][91] The Awards are such a success that ITV agrees to screen the second event in 2000.[92]
    • The broadcasters union BECTU condemns plans to air a Party election broadcast by the far right British National Party due to be shown on 21 May and says it will support any of its members who refuse to work on the broadcast.[93] The BNP was allocated a party political broadcast slot for the forthcoming European election after fielding enough candidates to qualify for free airtime during the election campaign.[93] The Independent Television Commission receives seven complaints from viewers that the BNP should not have been allowed to air their views, but the Commission later rules that none of its rules were breached because the broadcast did not mention race or immigration, and to ban the BNP from television on principle would be undemocratic.[68]
  • 21 May – The funeral of Jill Dando is held in her home town of Weston-super-Mare in Somerset. Although the service itself is private, footage is relayed to a crowd gathered in the town's Ellensborough Park East.[94]
  • 24 May – The Digital Spy website reports that UK Gold 2 is to have its broadcasting hours extended from 1 June. The channel has operated on a limited basis, airing on Fridays to Sundays from 6.00pm to 2.00am, but will become a daily service.[95]
  • 25 May – Bostock's Cup a single comedy drama about a fictional football team winning the 1974 FA Cup Final airs on ITV.[96][97][98]
  • 26 May -
    • Following a ten day trial at London's Snaresbrook Crown Court, former London's Burning actor John Alford is jailed for nine months after he was convicted of supplying cocaine and cannabis resin to an undercover reporter. Alford had been the victim of a sting by a tabloid newspaper, a factor taken into account in his sentencing.[99] He is released from prison six weeks later.[100]
    • 19 million viewers witness Manchester United complete The Treble by beating Bayern Munich 2-1 in Injury time in the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona.[101]
  • 27 May – The Broadcasting Standards Commission upholds several viewer complaints about an episode of EastEnders aired on Valentine's Day that featured the killing of the character Saskia Duncan, which the watchdog rules was too graphic to be shown before the watershed, when the content could be seen by children.[102]

June[edit]

  • June – Six TV, Britain's sixth and last terrestrial localized channel launches in both Oxfordshire and Southampton as the Oxford channel in Oxfordshire and the Southampton channel in Hampshire.
  • 1 June –
  • 5 June – Ian Moor wins the tenth series of Stars in Their Eyes, performing as Chris De Burgh.[106]
  • 7 June – A study by the Broadcasting Standards Commission finds an increase in the number of viewer complaints about the amount of sex on television. Among those surveyed, the number feeling there was too much sex on television rose from 32% in 1997 to 38% in 1998.[107]
  • 10 June – BBC One announces that the short-lived The Vanessa Show, which was at the centre of a fake guests controversy earlier in the year, will be axed. The final edition will air on 23 July.[108]
  • 13 June – S Club 7, stars of the BBC children's television series Miami 7, reach number one in the UK Singles Chart with their debut single "Bring It All Back".[109]
  • 19 June – The marriage of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie Rhys-Jones takes place at St. George's Chapel, Windsor.[110]
  • 22 June – The Independent Television Commission criticises Channel 4 for failing to warn viewers about the level of expllicit sex scenes in its controversial gay drama, Queer as Folk. Concern is also expressed about the series' first episode, which included a scene portraying the seduction of a teenager below the age of consent by an older gay male, but says the content did not breach broadcasting regulations.[111]
  • 24 June – The Broadcasting Standards Commission rejects viewer complaints about the second series of BBC One drama The Lakes, which had featured sexual violence, rape, and a relationship between a Roman Catholic priest and a member of his congregation, saying the programme "had not exceeded acceptable boundaries". However, the watchdog does uphold complaints and expresses its concerns about the first episode of Channel 4's Queer as Folk.[112]
  • 25 June – It is announced that Pearson TV chairman Greg Dyke will succeed John Birt as Director General of the BBC from April 2000.[113]
  • 30 June – Janet Street-Porter, pioneer of "yoof" television at the BBC, is appointed as editor of The Independent on Sunday, her first major role in print journalism.[114]

July[edit]

  • 1 July – BBC One airs a special edition of Question Time from Birmingham featuring Leader of the Opposition William Hague as the sole panelist.[115]
  • 3 July – FilmFour will launch an interactive service similar to Digital Teletext, the website Digital Spy reports.[116]
  • 6 July –
    • BBC Director-General John Birt warns that the increase in paid for digital television could lead to a "knowledge underclass" if public service broadcasters such as the BBC do not remain universally available.[117]
    • ITV unveils its first autumn schedule since moving News at Ten to a later time slot. Highlights include a new adaptation of Charles Dickens' novel Oliver Twist written by Alan Bleasdale that will attempt to update the character of Fagin, moving him away from the Ron Moody interpretation that is often associated with the story.[118]
  • 8 July –
  • 14 July – Debut of BBC One's groundbreaking series The Secret Life of Twins.[121]
  • 15 July – US crime drama The Sopranos makes its British television debut on Channel 4.[122][123]
  • 16 July –
    • BBC One airs Two Ronnies Night, an evening of programmes paying tribute to The Two RonniesRonnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker. The evening sees the two comedians reunited on screen for the first time since 1986.[124]
    • Channel 4 announces the axing of the highly acclaimed Trial and Error, a series that investigates miscarriages of justice, which it feels is outdated. The final edition, looking at the murder of Billie-Jo Jenkins airs on 26 July.[125]
    • Channel 4 launches its Over the Moon season to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1969 moon landing. The season includes Real Time Apollo, a five-day broadcast of footage of the moon mission, airing at roughly the same time events happened in 1969. The programme also features interviews with Buzz Aldrin, who took part in the mission.[126]
  • 17 July – Debut of Channel 4's Late Night Poker,[127] a series which helped to popularise poker in the 2000s and developed a cult following.[128] The programme includes under table cameras allowing viewers to view players' cards that are hidden from the others taking part in the game, and is unique in that participants are allowed to smoke on air.[129]
  • 19 July – Channel 4 airs an evening of programmes about space ahead of the moon landing anniversary.[130]
  • 22 July – Test cricket coverage debuts on Channel 4, with an updated format and new presenters.[131]
  • 23 July –
  • 24 July – Goodness Gracious Me Night, an evening of programming dedicated to the Asian comedy sketch show Goodness Gracious Me airs on BBC Two.[135]
  • 30 July –

August[edit]

  • 2 August – It is announced that ITV has signed BBC sports presenter Des Lynam on a four-year contract. He is to become the company's main football presenter.[139]
  • 3 August – Liza Tarbuck is chosen to replace Kelly Brook as co-presenter of The Big Breakfast.[140][141]
  • 5 August – Publication of the Davies Report, which sets out proposals for the future funding of BBC digital services.[142]
  • 6 August – ITV axes two programmes from its prime time Monday night slot because of falling ratings. Tested to Destruction, presented by Carol Vorderman, and documentary series The Sexual Century debuted at 9.00 pm and 9.30 pm respectively on 26 July, but will be replaced from 9 August and aired elsewhere in the schedule.[143]
  • 8 August – Noel Edmonds announces he is leaving the BBC because its programmes are "too boring". His contract with the Corporation expires in March 2000, and he will present two further shows before his departure, an August Bank Holiday special and Noel's Christmas Presents Unwrapped.[144]
  • 9 August – Helen Rollason, who in 1990 became the first female presenter on BBC One's Grandstand, dies aged 43, following a two year battle with cancer.[145][146]
  • 11 August – BBC One and Channel 5 show live coverage of the 1999 solar eclipse. It is not shown live on the ITV network, but in the only region where the eclipse was total, Westcountry Television (just weeks away from losing its on-screen identity) opts out and provides its own coverage.[147]
  • 12 August – The BBC programme complaints unit rules that jokes about speech impediments made by comedian Frank Skinner on an edition of his BBC One chat show on 20 May were "insensitive".[148]
  • 13 August – Following a successful month-long trial, Cable & Wireless Communications begins offering its customers email and internet services through their television sets.[149]
  • 16 August – The US version of ITV's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? debuts on ABC with Regis Philbin as host. The show's success leads to an increase in interest in UK game shows from American producers.[150][151]
  • 19 August – Claims by The Sun that it has obtained a document detailing EastEnders plotlines for the forthcoming year have been dismissed by the show's producers.[152]
  • 27 August – The BBC names Gordon Brewer and Anne Mackenzie as the presenters of Newsnight Scotland, BBC Two's forthcoming Newsnight opt-out for Scottish viewers.[153]
  • 31 August – The BBC unveils plans to create separate television, radio, and online news services for four new regions in London and the South East.[154]

September[edit]

  • 1 September - Launch of Nick Jr., the UK's first television channel dedicated to viewers under the age of seven.[155]
  • 2 September –
    • Comedian Frank Skinner has been dropped by the BBC after demanding a reported £20 million to stay with the network.[156]
    • ITV's Tonight with Trevor McDonald, launched earlier in the year, is to be cut from an hour to 45 minutes, and moved from Thursdays to Wednesdays. ITV says this is to make way for documentaries and drama in the Thursday slot.[157]
  • 3 September – An updated version of the 1970s slapstick game show It's a Knockout makes its Channel 5 debut, with Keith Chegwin taking on the presenting role. He is joined by Frank Bruno, Lucy Alexander and Nell McAndrew.[158][159] Two series are aired over the following 18 months, before Channel 5 announce in April 2001 that they have no plans to commission more series.[160]
  • 5 September – ITV debuts Springer on Sunday, a one-off David Letterman-style chat show presented by Jerry Springer. Guests include Robbie Coltrane, Glenda Jackson and Tom Jones.[161][162]
  • 6 September –
    • The ITV London Weekday franchise Carlton drops the on-air branding of the Central and Westcountry ITV regions, replacing them with Carlton.[163]
    • CITV show Art Attack is broadcast twice weekly on Mondays and Wednesdays
    • Debut of ITV's daytime topical discussion show, Loose Women.[164]
  • 7 September – A man is arrested by police after using a coffee table to smash his way through a plate glass window into the BBC newsroom at White City as journalists prepare for the 11.00am bulletin. The intruder also hurled computers and furniture in what is reported to be a protest against the BBC's coverage of a story. The broadcaster launches an inquiry into the incident, after security was tightened at the BBC in the wake of Jill Dando's murder.[165][166][167][168]
  • 9 September – Debut of the ITV documentary series The Second World War in Colour, showing rare colour footage of World War II and which took ten years to collate together. The series is narrated by the actor John Thaw.[169][170]
  • 11 September – The first of Channel 4's '100 Greatest' programmes air, 100 Greatest TV Moments.
  • 13 September – Blackadder Back and Forth, a new installment of the Blackadder comedy series will be part of the exhibition at the Millennium Dome from January 2000. The episode will receive its television debut on Sky in 2001, with the BBC also planning to show it.[171] The episode is part of "Skyscape", the Sky-sponsored entertainment venue at the Dome, something which had led to some confusion over who owns the broadcasting rights to the series that made its debut on the BBC.[172]
  • 15 September – A police officer is charged with driving without due care and attention over the accident that left newsreader Sheena McDonald in hospital.[173][174]
  • 20 September – Jerry Springer UK debuts on ITV.[175]
  • 23 September – Launch of BBC Text, the service which was renamed BBCi in 2001, and BBC Red Button in 2008.[176]
  • 25 September – Addressing clergy at a conference in Lancashire, The Right Reverend Allan Chesters, Bishop of Blackburn, criticises soaps such as Coronation Street for their high divorce rates.[177]
  • 28 September – A service of thanksgiving is held for Jill Dando at All Soul's Church in Langham Place, London, which is attended by family, friends and colleagues.[178] The service includes a special address from BBC Director-General John Birt.[179]
  • 29 September – The European Commission rejects a complaint from BSkyB that the licence fee funding of BBC News 24 is illegal under EU law because it amounts to state funding.[180]
  • 30 September – The BBC announces details of 2000 to 1, a unique quiz for the millennium that will give one person the chance to win a year off work with prize money equivalent to double their annual salary. The show, launched by Gary Lineker, will air through December, with the winner being decided on New Year's Eve.[181][182]

October[edit]

  • 1 October–6 November – ITV provides coverage of the 1999 Rugby World Cup, hosted for the second time by several countries. Wales are the principle host, but many matches are played in England, Scotland, Ireland and France.
  • 2 October – The Mirror '​s Matthew Wright reports that a recent Coronation Street storyline involving the death of the character Judy Mallett (played by Gaynor Faye) has helped to save the life of a woman who sought medical help after watching the episode in which Judy died of a blood clot in her leg following a car crash. The unnamed woman had recently been involved in a motoring accident herself and was experiencing leg pain that she had attributed to bruising. She subsequently attended hospital where doctors diagnosed a blood clot.[183]
  • 4 October – Launch of Newsnight Scotland, the BBC Scotland opt-out of the main Newsnight programme on BBC Two.[184][185]
  • 4 October-8 November – The six part documentary series Walking with Dinosaurs airs on BBC One, using computer-generated imagery and animatronics to show life in the Mesozoic Era.[186][187][188]
  • 7 October – Gimme Some Truth, a 56-minute documentary featuring unseen footage of John Lennon is set to be aired on British television. Work was recently completed on the project, but a deal to broadcast it is yet to be agreed.[189]
  • 8 October – The BBC prepares itself for a backlash from EastEnders viewers after a murder trial in the soap ends in a wrongful conviction. The character Matthew Rose is found guilty of the manslaughter of Saskia Duncan, but the killing was actually carried out by Steve Owen, who walks free.[190] The episode prompts a tabloid newspaper campaign to free Rose, who is dubbed "The Walford One". Joe Absolom, who plays the character, announces a few days later his intention to leave the show at the end of the year, although he will be seen on screen until February 2000.[191]
  • 11 October – Debut of BBC One's The Major Years, a three part documentary about the premiership of former Prime Minister John Major.[192][193]
  • 12 October – Launch of Open, the UK's first interactive television shopping channel, available to Sky Digital subscribers. Viewers can access services from several high street retailers, including W H Smith, Dixons and HSBC.[194]
  • 14 October – BBC One airs a special edition of Question Time recorded in Sydney, Australia, ahead of the country's republic referendum.[195]
  • 18 October – Sheena McDonald presents the 1999 Gramophone Awards, her first public appearance since her accident in February.[196]
  • 19 October – At a hearing at London's Horseferry Road Magistrates Court, a media studies student who went on the rampage in the BBC newsroom in September pleads guilty to affray and common assault.[197] At a subsequent hearing in March 2000, the man, who was protesting against TV licence charges and planned to tackle Greg Dyke on the issue, is ordered to be detained indefinitely at a psychiatric hospital because of ongoing mental health problems.[198]
  • 20 October – Figures from Broadcasters' Audience Research Board indicate that the first episode of Walking with Dinosaurs was watched by 18.9 million viewers, making it the all time most watched science programme in the UK, and the BBC's 19th most watched programme of all time. 15 million saw the episode on 4 October, while a further 3.91 million watched the repeat on 10 October.[199]
  • 21 October – L!VE TV is expected to close after emerges that Mirror Group Newspapers are in negotiations with NTL to sell the channel.[200]
  • 25 October –
  • 29 October – ITV chief executive Richard Eyre is named as the new head of Pearson TV, replacing Greg Dyke in the new year.[202]
  • 31 October – TeleG is established as the first daily digital Gaelic TV channel in Scotland.[203]

November[edit]

December[edit]

  • 2 December – Comedian Frank Skinner has signed a three year deal with ITV and will take his chat show to the network.[225]
  • 4 December – The millennium quiz 2000 to 1 debuts on BBC One, with Michael Parkinson and Katy Hill presenting.[226]
  • 7 December – Channel 5 broadcasts the TV movie Winter Angel, a revival of the popular 1970s BBC science-fiction series Doomwatch.[227][228]
  • 11 December – "Flying Without Wings" by boy band Westlife wins the 1999 Record of the Year.[229]
  • 12 December – Recently retired National Hunt trainer Jenny Pitman is presented with the first Helen Rollason Award at the 1999 BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony.[230]
  • 13 December –
    • The Independent Television Commission rules that an episode of Jerry Springer UK featuring rubber fetishists that aired on 27 September was unsuitable for its 8.00pm timeslot.[231]
    • ITV says it has unearthed colour footage of World War I, and plans to make a follow-up documentary to its popular series The Second World War in Colour. The channel has also commissioned a raft of historical documentaries for the 10.00pm slot.[232]
  • 16 December – Channel 4 has signed a £100 million deal to regain the rights to show US TV series Friends and ER, which it has shared with Sky One since 1996. The deal means new episodes of both series will make their British television debut on Channel 4 from 2001, instead of the current arrangement where Sky is allowed to show them first.[233]
  • 19 December – Charlotte Church makes her acting debut in an episode of Heartbeat.[234]
  • 24 December – Ian Woodley becomes the first person on British television to win a million pounds, on a segment of the Channel 4 show TFI Friday called Someone's Going to be a Millionaire (a reference to ITV's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, which at the time had not had a million pound winner).[235]
  • 25 December –
    • ITV beats BBC One in the Christmas Day ratings for the first time since 1984, airing a mixture of soaps, the drama A Touch of Frost and three episodes of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. Coronation Street is the most viewed programme with am audience of 14.74 million. However, although ITV had the largest number of viewers for peak viewing, in terms of figures for the overall day, BBC One had the larger percentage of audience share.[236]
    • Channel 4 airs the controversial modern opera Powder Her Face based on the life of Margaret, Duchess of Argyll. The work, which includes a scene depicting oral sex, is broadcast from 8.40 pm in order to time the explicit content to appear after the 9.00 pm watershed.[237]
  • 29 December – Along with other terrestrial and satellite networks, the BBC simulcasts the "What is it like to lose someone?" ad campaign, featuring the parents of a young woman killed by a drink driver. The commercial, which explores the couple's grief over the loss of their daughter is part of a new Millennium Drink-Drive campaign.
  • 31 December –
    • Over 60 countries take part in 2000 Today, a program seeing in the start of the new millennium. In the UK the 28-hour marathon show is shown on BBC One and hosted by Michael Parkinson, Gaby Roslin and David Dimbleby.[238]
    • Motivation expert John Mitchell wins the BBC One quiz 2000 to 1 after a tie-breaker in which his opponent answered a question incorrectly. He wins £70,000 and a year off work.[239][240]
    • On ITV, Sir Trevor McDonald and Dermot Murnaghan present Countdown 2000, a programme showing key events from around the UK and the rest of the world as nations welcome in the new millennium.[241]

Debuts[edit]

BBC One[edit]

BBC Two[edit]

ITV (Including ITV and ITV2)[edit]

Channel 4[edit]

Channel 5[edit]

Television shows[edit]

Changes of network affiliation[edit]

Shows Moved from Moved to
It's a Knockout BBC One & ITV Channel 5

Returning this year after a break of one year or longer[edit]

1950s[edit]

1960s[edit]

1970s[edit]

1980s[edit]

1990s[edit]

Ending this year[edit]

Births[edit]

Deaths[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fuller, Rick (1 January 1999). "Outen with the old..; Denise bids last farewell to the Big Breakfast". Daily Record (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 15 June 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Hayward, Anthony (11 February 1999). "Obituary: Bryan Mosley". The Independent (Independent Print Limited). Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  3. ^ "ITV's millionaire windfall". BBC News (BBC). 5 January 1999. Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
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