2004 in British television

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List of years in British television (table)

This is a list of British television related events from 2004.

Events[edit]

January[edit]

  • 1 January – Thomas and the Magic Railroad makes its British television premiere on BBC One.
  • 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]
  • 15 January – BBC Four begins a six-part adaptation of the Alan Clark Diaries, starring John Hurt and Jenny Agutter. The series concludes on 17 February, and is later repeated on BBC Two.[6][7][8]
  • 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.[9]
  • 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.[10]
  • 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.
  • January – SMG sells its stake in Scottish Radio Holdings to EMAP for £90 million in anticipation of consolidation in the radio market.[11]

February[edit]

March[edit]

  • 5 March – Major James Hewitt wins Five's Back to Reality.[26][27]
  • 7 March – An edition of ITV London's The Week is the final London News Network produced programme to be aired.
  • 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.[30] The role of presenter is taken over by Cat Deeley.[31][32]
  • 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.[33]
  • 18 March – FremantleMedia confirms plans to bring the popular US TV series The Apprentice to the UK.[34]
  • 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.[35]
  • 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.[36]
  • 31 March – The LWT logo is seen on screen for the final time, having continued to appear as an endcap after the formation of ITV plc.
  • March –
    • Launch of the Islam Channel.
    • A new pay television service on digital terrestrial television, Top Up TV, launches. It offers ten channels, each of which broadcasts on a part-time basis.

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.[40]
  • 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.[41]
  • 13 April – BBC Two airs the television debut of Hawking, a drama about the life and work of theoretical physicist Professor Stephen Hawking, and which stars Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role.[42]
  • 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.[43]
  • 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.[44]
  • 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.[45]
  • 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?.[46]
  • 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.[47]
  • 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.[48] Complaints about the episode are also later upheld by Ofcom.[49]
  • April – The newly created ITV plc purchases NTL’s 35% stake in the ITV News Channel.

May[edit]

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.[64]
    • 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.[65]
  • 5 June – Launch of the BBC's Summer in the Sixties season with a night of classic TV from the 1960s on BBC Four, including episodes of Coronation Street, Z Cars, Not Only But Also, and Call My Bluff.[66] More 1960s programming is aired on 6 June, with episodes of World in Action and Till Death Us Do Part among the lineup.[67]
  • 7 June – Jane Danson returns to Coronation Street as Leanne Battersby after an absence of four years.[68]
  • 9 June – BSkyB unveil plans to launch a free-to-air service to rival Freeview.[69]
  • 11 June – BBC Four begins a re-run of classic the 1960s television series The Prisoner.[70]
  • 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.[71]
  • 22 June – Mark Thompson takes over as Director General of the BBC.[72]
  • 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.[73][74] Viewing figures for any programme would not reach the 20 million mark again for another eight years, when England faced Italy at Euro 2012.[75]

July[edit]

August[edit]

  • 6 August – Nadia Almada wins the fifth series of Big Brother.[86]
  • 8 August – EastEnders announce the introduction of a new family, the Millers, who will be seen on screen from September.[87]
  • 11 August – The Daily Mirror reports that a laptop stolen during a burglary at the home of a senior member of the EastEnders production team could lead to several months of major storylines being leaked as the computer contained scripts for upcoming episodes.[88]
  • 12 August – Five signs a deal with Sony Pictures Television International to premiere a number of films before they appear on pay-per-view platforms. These include the British television debut of Terminator 3.[89]
  • 19 August – Channel 4's subscription film channel FilmFour announces it will be available to non subscribers for the first weekend in October. The free weekend will coincide with the beginning of the channel's month long Killer Thrillers season.[90]

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.[98]
  • 4 October –
    • UK television debut of the US version of The Apprentice with Donald Trump on BBC Two.[99]
    • 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.[100]
  • It is announced that the entire Ferreira family will leave EastEnders in Spring 2005.[101]
  • 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.[102]
  • 27 October – British television premiere of the James Bond film Die Another Day on ITV1.[103]
  • 28 October – BBC One airs a special edition of Question Time from Miami, Florida, ahead of the 2004 US Presidential election.[104]
  • 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.[105]

November[edit]

  • 1 November – The digital television station ITV3 is launched at 9:00 pm, replacing Granada Plus.[106][107]
  • 5 November –
  • 14 November – Five shows the UK terrestrial television premiere of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.[109]
  • 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.[110]
  • 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.[111]
  • 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.[112]
  • 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.[113]
  • 26 November – Five airs the 2000th episode of its soap Family Affairs.[114]
  • 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.[115]

December[edit]

  • 1 December – BBC News reports that the digital switchover trial has begun after Ferryside and Llansteffan had their digital signal switched on a few days earlier. The towns were chosen because they received their signal from a single relay which had poor reception, and residents report that their viewing experience has improved since digital transmission began.[116]
  • 2 December – BBC Two unveils its winter season of programming, which will include a major documentary, Auschwitz, to coincide with Holocaust Memorial Day.[117]
  • 4 December – "Thunderbirds Are Go" by Busted is voted the 2004 Record of the Year by ITV viewers.[118]
  • 6 December – Joe Pasquale wins the fourth series of ITV1's I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!.[119]
  • 7 December – Netwise, the company that handled text voting for ITV's Record of the Year show says that thousands of customers who were accidentally overcharged will receive refunds after it emerged that some Virgin and T-Mobile users were charged multiple times for a single vote.[120]
  • 11 December – Steve Brookstein wins the first series of The X Factor.[121] On the same evening, actress Jill Halfpenny and dance partner Darren Bennett win the second series of Strictly Come Dancing.[122]
  • 12 December –
  • 25 December – The first Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone makes its UK television debut on BBC One as part of the channel's Christmas Day lineup.[125][126]
  • 26 December – Overnight viewing figures suggest BBC One beat ITV in the Christmas Day battle of the ratings, with EastEnders watched by 12.3 million viewers and The Vicar of Dibley achieving an audience of 11.8 million. The television premiere of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was seen by 7.9 million. On ITV, Coronation Street attracted 11.3 million, while the first Midsomer Murders Christmas special received 6.3 million viewers.[127]
  • 27 December – Debut of Pride, Simon Nye's tale about two lion cubs growing up on the African plains, and which is aired on BBC One. The film features the voices of numerous British actors and uses CGI technology to enhance footage of actual lions and other animals.[128]
  • 31 December –
    • New Year's Eve highlights on BBC One include the network television premiere of the psychological thriller Don't Say a Word.[129]
    • After five and a half years, Channel 4 has another rebrand replacing the previous squares idents with objects that transform into the Channel 4 logo.

Unknown[edit]

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]

  • 13 January – United States Nip/Tuck (2003–2010).
  • 17 October – Hex (2004–2006).

Cartoon Network UK[edit]

Nickelodeon UK[edit]

Boomerang UK[edit]

Toonami UK[edit]

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 Carlton Kids 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[130] 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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