2007 in British television

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This is a summary of the year 2007 in British television.

Events[edit]

Date Event
2 January This Life returns for a ten-year reunion special.
Des O'Connor takes over from Des Lynam as co-presenter (with Carol Vorderman) of Channel 4's long-running quiz show Countdown.
3 January Celebrity Big Brother 5 launched on Channel 4, with celebrities such as Jermaine Jackson, Dirk Benedict and Leo Sayer.[1]
5 January Leslie Ash officially opens the Centre for Healthcare Associated Infections (CHIA), a national facility at the University of Nottingham dedicated to conducting research into superbug infections. Ash is also the Centre's patron.[2]
7 January Laura Pearce, a 24-year-old civilian employee of Gloucestershire Constabulary, becomes the first contestant to win the £250,000 on the British version of Deal or No Deal.[3]
Hannah Waterman and Marti Pellow win the second series of BBC One's Just the Two of Us.[4]
8 January Michael Grade takes over as chief executive of ITV plc.[5]
13 January Coronation Street actor Antony Cotton wins the second series of ITV's Soapstar Superstar.[6]
17 January Protests are held in India and the UK against Celebrity Big Brother after Jade Goody, Danielle Lloyd and Jo O'Meara are alleged to be racially abusive to Bollywood star, Shilpa Shetty. The programme has also attracted several thousand complaints from viewers to Ofcom, Channel 4 and the police, and is criticised by senior politicians both in the UK and India.[7][8][9]
19 January Jade Goody is evicted from Celebrity Big Brother following the racism row. Goody and Shilpa Shetty had both faced eviction, with Goody receiving 82% of the public vote. During a post-eviction interview, from which the wider public is banned, Goody says that she is "embarrassed and disgusted" by her behaviour. She had also apologised to Shetty before leaving the Big Brother house.[10]
22 January BBC News 24 re-branded with new titles and on-screen graphics.
26 January Jo O'Meara is evicted from Celebrity Big Brother. Viewing clips of her behaviour in the Big Brother house during a post-eviction interview, she says that it looks "very bad", but says she is not a racist.[11]
28 January The final edition of )Grandstand, the flagship BBC sports programme, is aired after nearly 50 years on television screens.[12]
Shilpa Shetty wins the fifth series of Celebrity Big Brother. During the live final, Danielle Lloyd apologises for her behaviour toward the actress during the series.[13]
2 February Plans by Channel 4 to air a series of documentaries about masturbation in March are postponed after the event attracted controversy and criticism from senior television figures. The programmes would be shown separately at a later date and not as part of a season.[14]
9 February Paul Merton presents his last edition of Room 101.
14 February Samuel Preston walks off live on an episode of Never Mind the Buzzcocks after insults about his wife Chantelle Houghton. Team captain Bill Bailey replaced him with a member of the audience, Ed Seymour.[15]
15 February Michael Starke, who played Sinbad in Brookside, is to join the cast of Coronation Street as take-away owner Jerry Morton. He will be seen onscreen from 18 March.[16]
18 February BBC Two launches 14 new idents designed by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and produced by Red Bee Media, with the "2" becoming a "Windows of the World" a portal through which the world is seen differently.
Richard & Judy is scrutinised when it is claimed that the winners were already chosen for its premium-rate phone-in quiz, "You Say, We Pay". This results in the start of the phone-in scandal.
1 March A channel agreement between Virgin Media and BSkyB for Virgin to broadcast non-premium Sky channels ends at midnight. Virgin Media and Sky had failed to reach agreement on the issue and subsequently Sky One, Sky Two, Sky Travel, Sky Travel Extra, Sky Sports News and Sky News were removed from the Virgin line-up.
2 March The Attorney General for England and Wales, Lord Goldsmith, obtains an injunction from the High Court preventing the BBC from broadcasting an item about investigations into the alleged cash for honours political scandal.
5 March ITV's quiz channel ITV Play comes under attack from the scandal. As a result, ITV allow independent auditor Deloitte to review programmes with phone-ins that generate revenue such as Dancing on Ice and The X Factor.
7 March The BBC's correspondent in the Gaza Strip, Alan Johnston, who is the only foreign reporter from a major media organisation based in Gaza, is kidnapped, All the main Palestinian militant groups called for his release.
Louise Redknapp presents the controversial ITV documentary The Truth About Size Zero in which she attempts to drop to a size zero in 30 days by following a strict weight loss regime in order to highlight eating disorder issues.[17][18][19]
Five's game show BrainTeaser is axed after only 5 years.
9 March The BBC's Castaway returns for a second, but shorter series.[20]
13 March ITV Play is shut down permanently to be rebranded as ITV Bingo due to the phone-in scandal.
14 March BBC children's programme Blue Peter is now involved with the phone-in scandal, after it is discovered they used a girl who was visiting the studio to pose as a caller live on the show.
16 March During Comic Relief night, the last ever episode of The Vicar of Dibley was broadcast.
17 March Rugby player Kyran Bracken and skating partner Melanie Lambert win the second series of Dancing on Ice.[21]
19 March In the Night Garden appears to the BBC on the same month as the Teletubbies 10th anniversary.
20 March Dancing on Ice reveals they lost 11,500 phone calls, as they were not delivered to Vodafone until next Monday morning (26 March)
22 March Four years after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, a special edition of BBC One's Question Time debates the war's legacy.[22]
27 March Moira Stuart is replaced as presenter of the news bulletin during Sunday AM, leaving her without a regular news slot.[23] The decision to remove her from the programme prompts media allegations of ageism at the BBC, something which is rejected by Director-General Mark Thompson, who in April tells the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee that Stuart was replaced because of the changing role of television news presenting, which is moving towards television journalism rather than traditional news presenting.[24] Stuart continues to present for the broadcaster, but on 3 October, it is confirmed that she will leave BBC News.[25]
The teleshopping channel iBuy closes after just under two years on air.
30 March ITV announces that Dermot O'Leary will replace Kate Thornton as host of The X Factor after Thornton was sacked from the programme after presenting three series.[26]
31 March Freema Agyeman makes her debut as Doctor Who assistant Martha Jones as the science fiction drama returns for a third series. Any Dream Will Do, a search for someone to play Joseph in the Lloyd Webber musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat also debuts on BBC One.[27]
The Teletubbies celebrate their 10th anniversary for a TV comeback after 5 or 6 years of absence.
1 April The Sky at Night celebrates 50 years with a special anniversary edition.
7 April Debut of ITV's Grease is the Word which will search for two actors to play Danny and Sandy in a new stage production of Grease.[28]
13 April Have I Got News for You starts to produce a video podcast featuring unbroadcast material.
21 April BBC sports journalist Jacqui Oatley becomes the first female commentator to appear on Match of the Day.[29]
23 April A BBC Panorama disclosed that callers to GMTV's phone-in competitions may have been defrauded out of millions of pounds, because the telephone system operator, Opera Interactive Technology, had determined the winners before the phone lines had closed. GMTV responded by suspending the phone-in quizzes, but claimed that "it was confident it had not breached regulators' codes". Opera Interactive also denied any wrongdoing.
30 April Channel 4 airs the Cutting Edge documentary Blind Young Things, a programme about students at the Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford. The film won a Royal Television Society award for Channel 4 and the Cutting Edge team in 2008.[30]
14 May BBC One broadcasts "Scientology and Me" a Panorama investigation into Scientology by journalist John Sweeney. A clip from the programme of Sweeney losing his temper and shouting at a disruptive scientologist representative is widely released on the internet and by DVD by scientologists prior to airing.
16 May Launch of Freesat, a free-to-air digital satellite television joint venture between the BBC and ITV plc.
24 May Ofcom rules that Celebrity Big Brother breached its code of conduct during the last series, and that Channel 4 made "serious editorial misjudgements" in the way it dealt with some of the incidents that sparked the racism row.[31]
29 May ITV has axed its celebrity singing contest, Soapstar Superstar after two series, believing it to be too similar in format to The X Factor.[32]
31 May The BBC Trust approves plans for several BBC departments, including BBC Sport, to be moved to a new development in Salford.[33]
4 June It is announced that Dannii Minogue will replace Louis Walsh as a judge on the forthcoming series of The X Factor,[34] joining Simon Cowell and Sharon Osbourne. Walsh had intended to leave the show, but later decided to return after being invited back.[35]
7 June Following the Celebrity Big Brother racism controversy earlier in the year, a contestant on the eighth series of Big Brother is removed from the show after her use of the word "nigger" during a conversation with another contestant.[36]
8 June Adele Adkins, a 19-year-old singer from London makes her television debut on BBC Two's Later... with Jools Holland, performing her song "Daydreamer". She became one of the first artists to appear on the show without having released a record because producer Alison Howe booked her after hearing a demo tape. Adele's debut album, 19, is released in January 2008.[37][38]
9 June Lee Mead wins BBC One's Any Dream Will Do and will take the lead role of Joseph in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at the Adelphi Theatre from 17 July. ITV's Grease is the Word is won by Danny Bayne and Susan McFadden, who will play Danny and Sandy in a forthcoming production of Grease beginning at the Piccadilly Theatre on 8 August.[39]
Debut of Britain's Got Talent, a co-production between Talkback Thames and Simon Cowell's SyCo for ITV. The series is a search for a variety act to perform at this year's Royal Variety Performance. The winner will also receive a prize of £100,000.[40]
13 June Simon Ambrose wins the third series of The Apprentice.[41]
15 June A contestant on Britain's Got Talent is withdrawn from the contest after police contacted the series to alert producers that he is on the Sex Offenders Register.[42]
17 June Opera singer Paul Potts wins the first series of Britain's Got Talent.[43]
19 June Nick Ross announces he is leaving Crimewatch, with July's edition of the show being the final one he will present.[44] The announcement renews media speculation that the BBC has an ageist policy towards its presenters.[45][46]
2 July Nick Ross presents his final episode of Crimewatch after 23 years at the helm. He had been on the programme since it began in 1984.[47]
Launch of Press TV, an English-language global news channel owned by the Iranian state broadcaster IRIB.[48]
18 July Six BBC programmes, Children in Need, Comic Relief, Sport Relief, TMi and two radio programmes (The Liz Kershaw Show and White Label) have been discovered have been involved in the phone in scandals.
26 July The 2005 British Comedy Awards broadcast on ITV now become involved with the phone-in scandal, when it is discovered that people phoning in to vote for the People's Choice Award called when the programme was not being broadcast live, and last half-hour of the show had been recorded when ITV showed a news broadcast.
2 August 2007 sees the BBC celebrating their 75-year service in television (85 years for radio). The first BBC Television Service began on 2 August 1932.
8 August Former Peak Practice actor Gray O'Brien joins the cast of Coronation Street as catalogue salesman Tony Gordon.[49]
9 August The success of Australian soaps such as Neighbours on British television has led to the wide use of phrases such as "No worries" in British English since the late 1980s, a report on Australia's Nine News suggests.[50]
31 August Brian Belo wins series eight of Big Brother.[51]
3 September CBBC identity relaunched, with its third marketing campaign since the launch of the CBBC channel.
5 September The BBC scraps plans for Planet Relief, a programme similar to Comic Relief and Sport Relief for fear of bias against critics of climate change and that people would prefer more factual programmes on the subject.
7 September–20 October ITV provides coverage of the 2007 Rugby World Cup, hosted by France.
9 September In an advertising first, eBay begin showing live auction adverts between programmes, showing an auction with picture, current bid, time auction ends, and postage and packaging charges
The BBC One Sunday morning political programme Sunday AM is renamed The Andrew Marr Show when it returns after its summer break.
10 September ITV and Trevor McDonald are cleared of racism by Ofcom over remarks made on McDonald's News Knight show. The remarks concerned comedian Bernard Manning, who had died a few months previously, with McDonald referring to Manning as a 'fat, white bastard'.[52]
18 September It is announced that E.ON is to end its sponsorship of ITV Weather after 16 years.[53] The sponsorship deal was the longest on UK terrestrial TV to date, beginning on 22 September 1991 (when sponsorship of ITV programmes was first allowed). Until June 2007, ITV Weather was sponsored by the energy supplier Powergen, and since then by Powergen's parent company E.ON.
21 September ITV postpone broadcasting the 2007 British Comedy Awards due to the phone-in scandals.
26 September ABC1 ceases broadcasting.
The Bionic Woman returns after a break of nearly 30 years but is axed again 2 months later.
28 September Trapped! appears as CBBC's first ever Halloween-themed game show since CITV's Terror Towers.
1 October Virgin1 launches at 9 pm, replacing Ftn.
The BBC announces that former 5 News presenter Kirsty Young will replace Fiona Bruce as presenter on Crimewatch from January 2008. Bruce is to take over as presenter of The Antiques Roadshow from Michael Aspel, who plans to retire.[45][46]
5 October BBC newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky is to leave the broadcaster to present Five News, it is reported. She will take up the new presenting role in the New Year.[54]
9 October Sky One apologises to viewers after a "technical fault" during a public vote on the 7 October edition of its show, Cirque de Celebrite, meant some of the votes were not registered.[55]
14 October UKTV Bright Ideas ceases broadcasting to be replaced on Freeview by Dave.
15 October UKTV G2 is rebranded as Dave and becomes a free-to-air channel replacing newly defunct UKTV Bright Ideas.[56] The name for the channel, aimed at a young male audience, was chosen by UKTV because "everyone knows a bloke called Dave".[57]
17 October – 14 November The town of Whitehaven in Cumbria becomes the first place in the UK to lose their analogue television signals and start the digital switchover, starting with BBC Two. The other four channels were switched off on 14 November.
20 October The BBC Switch teenage block of shows is launched to cater for the underserved 12–16-year olds.
29 October Sky News issues an apology after an aside from presenter Julie Etchingham was accidentally broadcast during live coverage of a speech by Conservative Party leader David Cameron when Etchingham's microphone was accidentally left switched on.[58]
31 October ITV confirms that Julie Etchingham will join the broadcaster to present a relaunched News at Ten alongside Sir Trevor McDonald from January 2008.[59][60]
21 November Insurance firm esure is revealed as E.ON's successor as the sponsor of ITV's national weather bulletins. The two-year deal, rumoured to be worth £10 million, was negotiated by Carat Sponsorship and will take effect from 1 January 2008, with esure and Sheilas' Wheels as the sponsors, alternating between the two brands every two months.[61]
30 November Christopher Biggins wins the seventh series of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!.[62]
15 December Leon Jackson wins the fourth series of The X Factor.[63]
22 December Singer Alesha Dixon and her dancing partner Matthew Cutler win the fifth series of Strictly Come Dancing.[64]
25 December BBC One gets its highest rated Christmas Day schedule in years, with "Voyage of the Damned", the Christmas special of Doctor Who getting the shows' biggest audience since 1979 (13.31 million) and a special episode of EastEnders getting 14.38 million, that shows' biggest rating in three years and the highest rated show of 2007. Another success was a one-off special of To the Manor Born, returning after 26 years, with an audience of 10.25 million.
BBC iPlayer, an online service for watching previously aired shows, is launched.
27–28 December Assault on Sun Hill, a two-part The Bill story features an armed siege at the fictional police station that leaves several characters traumatised.

Debuts[edit]

BBC One[edit]

Date Debut
1 January The Sarah Jane Adventures
12 January After You've Gone
16 March Celebrity Apprentice
25 March Play It Again
31 March Any Dream Will Do
13 April Ruddy Hell! It's Harry and Paul
8 May HolbyBlue
25 May Ronni Ancona & Co
16 June Jekyll
Would I Lie to You?
28 August Outnumbered
28 September Trapped!
15 October Real Rescues
26 October The Armstrong and Miller Show
17 November The Omid Djalili Show
Who Dares Wins

BBC Two[edit]

Date Debut
22 February Fear, Stress & Anger
19 March In the Night Garden
12 April Roman's Empire
16 April Get 100
4 May Maxwell
25 July Heroes
4 October The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle
The Peter Serafinowicz Show
5 October The Tudors

ITV (1/2/3/4/CITV)[edit]

Date Debut
2 February Benidorm
10 February Primeval
18 June Golden Balls
24 June News Knight with Sir Trevor McDonald
3 September The Alan Titchmarsh Show

Channel 4[edit]

Date Debut
3 January Celebrity Big Brother
Desperate Housewives Season Three
Embarrassing Bodies
25 January Skins
30 May Big Brother 8
16 July Win My Wage
5 October Other People
12 October Ladies and Gentlemen
19 October Plus One
2 November Free Agents
9 November The Kevin Bishop Show

Five[edit]

Date Debut

BBC Three[edit]

Date Debut
23 May Gavin & Stacey

BBC Four[edit]

Date Debut
15 October Doctors to Be: 20 Years On
30 October The History of the World Backwards

Changes of network affiliation[edit]

Show Moved from Moved to
TNA Impact TWC Fight Bravo 2 [1]
The Apprentice BBC Two BBC One
Top of the Pops
American Dad! BBC Three
Prison Break Five Sky One
Robot Wars Challenge
  • ^1 It later moved to Bravo in early 2008

Channels[edit]

New channels[edit]

Date Channel
6 August Pop Girl
9 August Ftn +1
20 August Channel 4 +1
1 October Virgin1
Virgin1 +1
10 December Channel 4 HD

Defunct channels[edit]

Date Channel
13 March ITV Play
27 March iBuy
26 September ABC1
1 October Ftn
Ftn +1
5 October Radio Music Shop
15 October UKTV Bright Ideas

Rebranded channels[edit]

Date Old Name New Name
13 March ITV Play ITV Bingo
15 October UKTV G2 Dave
UKTV G2 +1 Dave +1

Television shows[edit]

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

Programme Date of original removal Original channel Date of return New channel(s)
Dale's Supermarket Sweep 6 September 2001 ITV 12 February 2007 N/A (Same channel as original)
Teletubbies for 10th Anniversary episodes 5 January 2001
5 January 2002
BBC One 31 March 2007 BBC Two & CBeebies
The Bionic Woman 13 May 1978 ITV 26 September 2007 N/A (Same channel as original)
To the Manor Born 29 November 1981 BBC One 25 December 2007

1950s[edit]

1960s[edit]

1970s[edit]

1980s[edit]

1990s[edit]

2000s[edit]

Big Brother racism controversy[edit]

2007 saw Channel 4 reality show Big Brother involved in two high-profile race-rows.

Celebrity Big Brother 5[edit]

In January, Jade Goody, her mother Jackiey Budden and boyfriend Jack Tweed, along with Danielle Lloyd and Jo O'Meara, were accused of racist bullying towards Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty. This resulted in protests in India and a record number of complaints to British TV regulator Ofcom and to Channel 4.

Big Brother 8[edit]

At the end of May, Channel 4 broadcast an apology for not intervening in the bullying just moments before the eight non-celebrity series started; all housemates in this series were given strict warnings about racism before entering. Just one week after the launch, Emily Parr was removed from the house in the early hours of the morning for saying the word "nigger" to black housemate Charley Uchea just hours before. This incident was widely discussed in the media; viewers complained about Channel 4 broadcasting the word, however, other viewers complained that Emily had been treated unfairly, as she did not use the word in a spiteful context, instead possibly imitating rappers who use the word in their songs.

Ending this year[edit]

Date Show Channel(s) Debut(s)
4 January The Holiday Programme BBC 1969
What Not to Wear 2001
Green Wing Channel 4 2004
CITV weekday afternoon block ITV 1983
12 January The Price Is Right 1984
28 January Grandstand BBC 1958
7 March BrainTeaser Channel 5 2002
16 March The Vicar of Dibley BBC 1994
10 April Life on Mars 2006
19 April Sea of Souls 2004
13 July Art Attack ITV 1990
14 July Popworld Channel 4 2001
10 August Win My Wage 2007
31 August Dale's Supermarket Sweep ITV 1993 & 2007
13 September Born to Be Different Channel 4 2003 & 2006
28 November The Bionic Woman ITV 1976 & 2007
15 December Parkinson 1971

Top 10 highest rated shows of 2007[edit]

Rank Show Rating
1 EastEnders 14.34 million
2 Doctor Who 13.31 million
3 Rugby World Cup 2007 13.10 million
4 Coronation Street 13.08 million
5 The Vicar of Dibley 13.08 million
6 X Factor results 12.23 million
7 Concert for Diana 12.22 million
8 Strictly Come Dancing 12.09 million
9 The X Factor 11.78
10 Britain's Got Talent 11.58 million

Death[edit]

Date Name Age Broadcast credibility
7 January Magnus Magnusson 77 Television presenter (Mastermind)
9 February Ian Richardson 72 Scottish actor (House of Cards)
8 March John Inman 71 Actor (Are You Being Served?)
18 June Bernard Manning 76 Comedian
29 July Mike Reid 67 Comedian and actor (EastEnders, Runaround)
Phil Drabble 93 Television presenter, author and countryman (One Man and His Dog)
6 September Ronald Magill 87 Actor (Emmerdale)
1 October Ronnie Hazlehurst 79 Theme tune composer. (Only Fools and Horses, Yes Minister, Are You Being Served? and The Two Ronnies)
16 October Deborah Kerr 86 Actress (A Woman of Substance)
9 November Trish Williamson 52 TV weather presenter, journalist, producer and director[65]
19 November Dick Wilson 91 Actor
22 November Verity Lambert 71 TV producer (Doctor Who)
1 December Anton Rodgers 74 Actor

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