TV Cream

100 Greatest TV Moments

55) “A very good morning to you all!”

Uncle Frank wakes us up, 17th January 1983

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The launch of breakfast telly in Britain was fairly controversial at the time, to the extent that when the IBA gave out their pitch documents for those wishing to bid for the franchise to run it, they continually referred to “if a breakfast licence is awarded”, giving them the opportunity to simply write off the whole thing. But at the Beeb, Ron Neil, editor of the soon-to-be-launched Breakfast Time, had a secret weapon to make watching telly at half past six in the morning the most natural thing in the world – Frank Bough. Having been on television non-stop for some twenty years, presenting Olympic Games and General Elections, Bough was a hugely popular figure among the audience, who knew they were in safe hands. His laid-back, avuncular approach combined credibility with cosiness, and so on that bleak January morning in 1983, those tuning in out of interest to “the last new thing in television”, in Neil’s words, were greeted with the lovely ring-a-ding theme tune (and incredibly long title sequence that goes on for well over a minute with a virtually static image) and then Frank’s opening words. His tone was reassuring and instantly you felt at home, and those opening moments, judged perfectly, set the tone for a big hit show. What’s just as important is what Frank’s wearing – as after he showed up for rehearsals wearing a jumper, Ron Neil immediately told him to stick with that for the shows itself, something of a departure from the old way of doing things at BBC News and an agreeably ordinary form of dress, exactly the kind of thing the average viewer would wear, making it seem totally inclusive. Allied to the mystique of Selina Scott, Breakfast Time got the mix exactly right and rightly thrashed the complacent ITV. Noel Edmonds, Russell Harty and Terry Wogan were also considered for the role of Breakfast Time anchor but none perhaps had Frank’s mix of authority and affability, and without him it’s questionable as to whether breakfast TV would have been a success in the UK.



  1. Mark Lahiff

    February 11, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Hello there.
    Nice screen shot from a great time 1983 . Does anyone know if it possible to get to see theses shows ?, trying to see if i can find the one about the Canoe Marathon with frank and russell interview at the back of the tv building it.

  2. Richardpd

    January 8, 2022 at 4:51 pm

    Adrian Mole’s crush on Selina Scott is one amusing aspect of The Growing Pains.

    According to the Storm In An Eggcup documentary TV-AM were caught out by Breakfast Time getting the right mix of things & trounced in the ratings.

    considering Alan Hall gets a drubbing over making too many mistakes (especially letting Nationwide wither & die, then replacing it with 60 Minutes), this was a rare triumph on his watch.

  3. Glenn Aylett

    June 24, 2023 at 1:32 pm

    Frank Bough had his faults, two of which destroyed his career and revelations after he died that female staff found him sexist and hard to work with, but as a presenter, he was part of that BBC generation who could make reading out a bus timetable sound interesting. Breakfast Time, until the suits decided presenters should sit behind a desk and behave like they were on Newsnight, was far better than TV-AM and I always loved the start up sequences and music. Some of the programme’s tradition continues with BBC Breakfast which is both entertaining and informative and far better than Good Morning Briain, which it beats hands down every morning.

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