2004 in British television

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List of years in British television (table)
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • This is a list of British television related events from 2004.

    Events[edit]

    January[edit]

    • 2 January – The BBC cancels the appearance of Coca-Cola sponsorship credits in the music charts in its BBC One Top of the Pops show, after criticism from politicians and health campaigners that it would be promoting junk food and unhealthy drink products to teenagers.[1]
    • 4 January –
      • ITV introduces a sixth weekly episode of Emmerdale airing on Sunday evenings at 7:00 pm. The episode is dropped in 2008 to allow for one-hour episodes on Tuesdays.
      • Debut of the Channel 4 reality series Shattered in which ten contestants are challenged with going without sleep for seven days while their actions are constantly monitored. Over the seven days the ten housemates must undergo daily performance testing and a variety of challenges, while competing for a potential prize fund of £100,000, which is reduced by £1,000 every time a contestant closes their eyes for more than ten seconds. The series, and the remaining prize money of £97,000, is won by Clare Southern on 10 January.[2] It is subsequently branded as "misconceived and dangerous" by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, although Channel 4 says that sleep experts were consulted when putting together the series and that care was taken with the selection of participants.[3]
    • 9 January – The BBC announces that the Kilroy talk show will be taken off air while the Corporation investigates negative comments its presenter Robert Kilroy-Silk made about Arabic people in the previous weekend's Sunday Express.[4]
    • 13 January – Acclaimed US medical drama Nip/Tuck makes its British television debut on Sky One, attracting an audience of 1 million. The series had been heavily publicised on terrestrial television prior to its broadcast.[5]
    • 16 January – Robert Kilroy-Silk resigns as a BBC One talk show host after 17 years following the controversy over comments he made about Arabs.[6]
    • 28 January – The Hutton Inquiry into the circumstances of the death of Dr. David Kelly is published. This is taken by most of the press to strongly condemn the BBC's handling of the David Kelly affair and to exonerate the government. The BBC's Director-General, Greg Dyke, chairman of the Board of Governors, Gavyn Davies, and the journalist at the centre of the controversy, Andrew Gilligan, resign. The UK media in general condemns the report as a whitewash.[7]
    • 29 January – Mark Byford becomes acting Director General of the BBC following Greg Dyke's resignation.
    • 30 January – ITV's News at Ten ends for a second time, with its replacement, the News at 10:30, launching the following Monday.

    February[edit]

    March[edit]

    • 5 March – Major James Hewitt wins Five's Back to Reality.[20][21]
    • 8 March –
    • 13 March – Charles Ngandwe, performing as Paul Robeson, wins the fifteenth series of Stars in Their Eyes. The edition is also the last to be presented by Matthew Kelly, who had announced the previous day that he would be leaving the series.[24] The role of presenter is taken over by Cat Deeley.[25][26]
    • 14 March – Channel 4 airs the documentary He's Starsky, I'm Hutch, a programme which prompts actor David Soul to write an open letter to the channel complaining about the way he was portrayed in the film. Soul had co-operated with the documentary, but felt it betrayed because it had concentrated too much on the negative aspects of his life.[27]
    • 18 March – FremantleMedia confirms plans to bring the popular US TV series The Apprentice to the UK.[28]
    • 22 March – Christopher Eccleston is announced as the ninth actor to play The Doctor in Doctor Who. A new 13-part series will be filmed in Cardiff later in the year and make its debut in 2005.[29]
    • 29 March – BBC Two Controller Jane Root will leave her role to take up a position with the Discovery Network in the United States, it is reported.[30]
    • March – Launch of the Islam Channel.

    April[edit]

    • 1 April –
    • 2 April – Michael Grade is appointed as new BBC chairman, taking over the role from Gavyn Davies, who stepped down in the wake of the Hutton Report.[34]
    • 7 April – Former Bad Girls actress Debra Stephenson is to join Coronation Street as new character Frankie Baldwin. She will be seen onscreen from June.[35]
    • 15 April – ITV announce plans for Vote for Me, a Pop Idol-style contest to find a Parliamentary candidate. The series will be presented by Jonathan Maitland.[36]
    • 19 April - Tots TV begins screenings on CBeebies and BBC Two, These broadcast continue until 2009
    • 20 April – BBC Two celebrates 40 years on air by broadcasting Happy Birthday BBC Two.[37]
    • 23 April – ITV unveils plans for The X Factor, a new music talent contest developed by Pop Idol judge Simon Cowell that will see a panel of judges mentoring acts and competing against each other to have their act chosen as the winner.[38]
    • 24 April – Computer programmer and quiz expert Pat Gibson becomes the fourth contestant to win the £1 million prize on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.[39]
    • 26 April – Michael Parkinson is to take his Parkinson chat show to ITV after the network poached him from the BBC, it is reported. Parkinson's decision to make the move was also influenced by BBC plans to move his show to a different time slot to make way for the return of Match of the Day. His final BBC show is recorded on 29 April for transmission on 8 May.[40]
    • 27 April – The BBC's Programme Complaints Committee rules that an episode of EastEnders that dealt with the aftermath of the rape of a character was unsuitable for family viewing after it received several complaints from viewers.[41] Complaints about the episode are also later upheld by Ofcom.[42]

    May[edit]

    • 2 May – Merseybeat actress Leslie Ash's publicist has released a statement saying that she is undergoing treatment in hospital for "an unknown infection", which she is believed to have contracted during an earlier hospital stay. Ash was treated for a broken rib and collapsed lung a few days earlier, which she said had occurred as a result of her falling onto a table during lovemaking with her husband, former footballer Lee Chapman. The infection has left Ash with partial loss of feeling below the waist, but she is said to be responding to treatment and is described as stable.[43] The infection is subsequently diagnosed as Methicillin-Sensitive Staphylococcus aureus, a bug that attacks the nervous system.[44] Following her recovery, Ash later speaks about how she almost died from the infection. She is also left requiring the aid of crutches to walk.[45]
    • 7 May – The BBC airs its final episode of The Simpsons, having lost the broadcasting rights to Channel 4 in February 2002. Behind the Laughter is the last episode shown on the BBC. However, broadcasting rights were held until 2006, two years later.
    • 8 May – The final edition of Parkinson to air on BBC One. Guests include The Corrs, Boris Becker, Jamie Cullum and Patrick Kielty.[46]
    • 14 May – BBC Four Controller Roly Keating is appointed to succeed Jane Root as Controller of BBC Two.[47]
    • 15 May –
    • 19 May –
      • A UK version of the popular US TV series The Apprentice is to be produced for the BBC, with Amstrad founder and chairman Sir Alan Sugar as presenter. Applications will be invited for 14 candidates to take part in the programme, which will air in 2005.[49]
      • Martin Bashir is to leave ITV after signing a deal to work for the US ABC network, where he will be a correspondent on its 20/20 news programme.[50]
    • 21 May – Mark Thompson is appointed new Director General of the BBC.[51]
    • 24 May – Former pop star Billie Piper is announced as the new Doctor Who companion Rose Tyler.[52]
    • 26 May – As part of a government trial to test the feasibility of switching the UK to digital television, Ferryside and Llansteffan, two towns in Carmarthenshire, have been chosen to become the first places in the UK to have their analogue signal switched off. Residents who do not currently have access to digital television will be provided with set-top boxes to enable them to receive a digital signal before the analogue transmitter is turned off later in the year. The government hopes to convert the UK to digital television by 2010.[53]
    • 27 May – Channel 4 airs Paul Greengrass's controversial film Omagh, a graphic portrayal of the events surrounding the Omagh bombing. The film, which took two years to research and make, had previously received a cinema showing that was attended by victims and their families, and later goes on general release.[54]
    • 28 May – Channel 4 airs the final episode of US sitcom Friends, with the episode watched by 8.6 million viewers.[55]
    • 31 May – Long running children's animated television series Peppa Pig premieres on Five.

    June[edit]

    • 4 June –
      • BBC News reports that having been axed by BBC America in September 2003, EastEnders will air in the US once again. Episodes will appear on the subscription channel Dish Network, beginning from where BBC America left the series.[56]
      • Kitten Pinder is evicted from the Big Brother UK house, shouting against The Queen and the aristocracy on the way out. She is the first contestant to be evicted by the show's producers rather than through an audience vote after she repeatedly broke the rules during her stay in the house.[57]
    • 7 June – Jane Danson returns to Coronation Street as Leanne Battersby after an absence of four years.[58]
    • 9 June – BSkyB unveil plans to launch a free-to-air service to rival Freeview.[59]
    • 12 June–4 July – Euro 2004 is held in Portugal.
    • 14 June – Quiz TV launches in the UK, one of the country's first phone-in quiz channels. Many more launched over the next few years, though Quiz TV itself would close down in 2006.
    • 17 June – The live feed of Big Brother is taken off air as the housemates become aggressive and fight. Security guards are sent in to break up the fight, while Hertfordshire Police ask to view footage of the incident after being contacted by members of the public.[60]
    • 22 June – Mark Thompson takes over as Director General of the BBC.[61]
    • 24 June – The highest rated audience of the year is recorded in the UK as 20.66 million watch England's football match against Portugal in the quarter finals of Euro 2004.[62][63] Viewing figures for any programme would not reach the 20 million mark again for another eight years, when England faced Italy at Euro 2012.[64]

    July[edit]

    August[edit]

    September[edit]

    October[edit]

    • 1 October –
      • As part of its response to the Hutton Inquiry the BBC launches Newswatch, a programme providing a viewer and listener right-to-reply on BBC News's reporting and coverage of news events.
      • BBC Technology, incorporating the BBC's Broadcast Engineering division, is sold to Siemens AG Business Services for approximately £200m, and a £2bn, 10-year outsourcing contract.
      • ITV talk show host Trisha Goddard will move to Five in 2005 after signing a two-year contract with the broadcaster.[83]
    • 4 October –
      • UK television debut of the US version of The Apprentice with Donald Trump on BBC Two.[84]
      • Peppa Pig begins its first broadcast on ABC in Australia.
    • 13 October –
      • The BBC, ITV and Channel 4 announce that audio description, which helps people with sight loss to follow television programmes by describing some of the visual content, is now available through Sky.[85]
    • It is announced that the entire Ferreira family will leave EastEnders in Spring 2005.[86]
    • 21 October – BSkyB launch their free digital satellite TV service that offers viewers a selection of 140 TV and 80 radio channels for a one-off payment of £150.[87]
    • 27 October – British television premiere of the James Bond film Die Another Day on ITV1.[88]
    • 28 October – BBC One airs a special edition of Question Time from Miami, Florida, ahead of the 2004 US Presidential election.[89]
    • 30 October – The BBC receives "hundreds of complaints" after reporter Barbara Plett describes herself crying when a frail Yasser Arafat was evacuated to France for medical treatment. Ultimately these complaints are partially upheld by the BBC Governors' Programme Complaints Committee.[90]

    November[edit]

    • 1 November – The digital television station ITV3 is launched at 9:00 pm, replacing Granada Plus.[91][92]
    • 5 November –
    • 15 November – It emerges that Mersey Television boss Phil Redmond wrote to Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport offering to buy the publicly funded Channel 4. However, Ofcom says that the channel will not be privatised.[94]
    • 17 November – It is reported that merger talks between Channel 4 and Five have been called off after complexities arose between the public broadcaster Channel 4 and its commercial counterpart.[95]
    • 18 November – The video for the new charity single Do They Know It's Christmas? by Band Aid 20 airs simultaneously on all five main UK television networks, as well as over twenty satellite and cable stations. This unprecedented broadcast attracts 13.5 million viewers between 5:50 and 6:00pm.[96]
    • 24 November – A report by Ofcom has recommended that elderly and visually impaired people should be given financial assistance to help them buy equipment capable of receiving digital television before the analogue signal is switched off. The report suggests the government may need to set aside £250m–£400m to cover the cost of this.[97]
    • 26 November – Five airs the 2000th episode of its soap Family Affairs.
    • 29 November – The BBC announces that Top of the Pops will move from its Friday evening BBC One slot to BBC Two, where it will air on Sunday evenings.[98]

    December[edit]

    Unknown[edit]

    • Peppa Pig begins its first television screening in New Zealand on TV3.

    Debuts[edit]

    BBC One[edit]

    BBC Two[edit]

    BBC Four[edit]

    BBC News 24[edit]

    CBBC[edit]

    • 8 March – Bamzooki (2004–2010, 2011–present)

    ITV (Including ITV1, ITV2 and ITV3)[edit]

    Channel 4[edit]

    Five[edit]

    S4C[edit]

    Sky One[edit]

    • 17 October – Hex (2004–2006).

    Television shows[edit]

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

    • Postman Pat (1981, 1991–1994, 1996, 2004–2008).
    • Switzerland/United Kingdom Pingu (1986–1998, 2004–2006)
    • Tots TV (1993–1998, 2004–2009)

    Changes of network affiliation[edit]

    Show Moved from Moved to
    What Not to Wear BBC Two BBC One
    The Kumars
    United States The Simpsons (UK Terrestrial Rights) Channel 4
    Tots TV ITV CBeebies

    Channels[edit]

    New channels[edit]

    Date Channel
    8 March UKTV Documentary
    UKTV Documentary +1
    UKTV People
    UKTV People +1
    27 September ABC1
    1 November ITV3

    Defunct channels[edit]

    Date Channel
    8 March UK Horizons
    UK Horizons +1
    1 November Granada Plus

    Rebranded channels[edit]

    Date Old Name New Name
    8 March UK Bright Ideas UKTV Bright Ideas
    UK Drama UKTV Drama
    UK Food UKTV Food
    UK Food +1 UKTV Food +1
    UK Gold UKTV Gold
    UK Gold +1 UKTV Gold +1
    UKG2 UKTV G2
    UK History UKTV History
    UK History +1 UKTV History +1
    UK Style UKTV Style
    UK Style +1 UKTV Style +1
    27 July Pop Plus Tiny Pop

    Ongoing[edit]

    1920s[edit]

    • BBC Wimbledon (1927–present)

    1950s[edit]

    1960s[edit]

    1970s[edit]

    1980s[edit]

    1990s[edit]

    2000s[edit]

    Ending this year[edit]

    Deaths[edit]

    Date Name Age Cinematic Credibility
    27 January Rikki Fulton 79 Scottish actor and comedian.
    18 March Richard Marner 82 Russian-born British actor. ('Allo 'Allo!)
    28 March Sir Peter Ustinov British actor.
    30 March Alistair Cooke 95 BBC broadcaster and transatlantic commentator.
    Hubert Gregg 89 BBC broadcaster.
    13 April Caron Keating 41 television presenter
    14 May Shaun Sutton 85 writer, director, producer and longest-serving Head of Drama at BBC Television.
    16 May Harry Elton 74 television producer (Coronation Street)
    29 May Jack Rosenthal[112] 72 playwright
    23 June Peter Birrel 68 English actor (Frontier in Space, Alexander the Greatest)
    18 August Hugh Manning 83 English actor (Emmerdale, Mrs Thursday)
    1 September Richard Everitt 71 television producer (Coronation Street)
    29 September Christopher Hancock 76 English actor (EastEnders)
    13 October Ivor Wood 72 Children's TV director (The Magic Roundabout, The Wombles, Paddington Bear, Postman Pat etc.)
    6 November Fred Dibnah 66 presenter and steeplejack
    9 November Emlyn Hughes 57 Former footballer and A Question of Sport captain

    See also[edit]

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