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Original Breakfast Time logo
|Created by||BBC News|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|Original release||17 January 1983 – 29 September 1989|
|Followed by||Breakfast News (1989-2000)|
Breakfast Time was British television's first national breakfast television programme, broadcast from 17 January 1983 until 29 September 1989 on BBC1 across the United Kingdom. It was broadcast for the first time just over two weeks before TV-am, the commercial breakfast television station started its service with the programme Good Morning Britain.
The show was revolutionary for the time. It mixed hard news with accessible features, creating a cosy feel, with sofas and bright colours — a stark contrast to the Open University programming that had previously been broadcast during that timeslot. The presenters typically wore casual clothes instead of formal suits in contrast to the regular news broadcasts. Frank Bough, Selina Scott and Nick Ross anchored the show, with regulars such as Russell Grant (astrology) and Diana Moran, also known as the "Green Goddess" due to the colour of her leotard (fitness). The weather slot (known as Window On The Weather) was presented by Francis Wilson, and reflected the rest of the show in having a more laid-back feel. Window On The Weather actually introduced modern, projection style graphics some two years ahead of the transition from the old-style magnetic boards used in the BBC's main weather bulletins. Whilst Wilson was the resident weather presenter on the show, other presenters such as Michael Fish, Bill Giles and Ian McCaskill occasionally stood in during Wilson's absence.
Breakfast Time was an unexpected success. A rival commercial breakfast show, TV-am, was headed by a star line-up and almost everyone assumed it would trounce the BBC, but Breakfast Time got on the air first and the format and presenters proved supremely popular.
One of Breakfast Time's most notable episodes was on the morning of the Brighton bombing when Nick Ross in the studio presented continuous live coverage of the IRA's attack at the Conservative Party conference in 1984, including live pictures of the rescue of senior politicians such as Norman Tebbit.
In time TV-am simply copied the BBC's approach, and Breakfast Time became less sure-footed, losing some of its friendly accessibility as it strained to be more serious in tone. It adopted a news format on 10 November 1986, and on 2 October 1989 the show became Breakfast News.
- Frank Bough
- Sue Cook
- Jill Dando
- Fern Britton
- Debbie Greenwood
- David Icke
- Sally Magnusson
- John Mountford
- Jeremy Paxman
- Nick Ross
- Mike Smith
- Selina Scott
- John Stapleton
- Kirsty Wark
- Francis Wilson
During Breakfast Time's first broadcast, letters and telegrams were sent from different breakfast shows around the world to wish Breakfast Time good luck such as Network Ten for Australia, CTV for Canada, CBS and ABC for the United States, TVB for Hong Kong and NHK for Japan.
Among the in-studio guests on the first "Breakfast Time" on January 17, 1983 was Jane Pauley, presenter of NBC News "Today" in the United States.
- Ian Jones, Morning Glory: A history of British breakfast television. Kelly, 2004. ISBN 1-903053-20-X