TV Cream

TV: B is for...

Breakfast Time

"Frank Bough said 'Thank you! You're a Prince!'. Must say, they're a smashing team on that show."“IT’S 6.30AM, Monday 17 January 1983,” proclaimed the nation’s favourite uncle from within a cosy pullover and fetching slacks, “you’re watching the very first edition of BBC Television’s BREAKFAST TIME, Britain’s first ever regular early morning television programme. A very good morning to you all!” So began easy-on-the-ear (FRANK BOUGH’s chocolate tones), easy-on-the-eye (SELINA SCOTT’s dresses) small screen side-order to your tea and toast par excellence. Every day Frank and Selina would materialise from within plush red leather sofas, wicker tables and steaming pots of coffee to pretty much set in stone what UK breakfast telly would be like now and forever. And it was ace. Helping to clear the plates were NICK ROSS (third banana, serious features, something for the young mums); FRANCIS WILSON (weather window, knitted jumpers, something for the older ladies); GLYNN CHRISTIAN (cooking, related to that bloke off Mutiny On The Bounty); RUSSELL GRANT (horoscopes, more knitted jumpers, twat); DEBBIE RIX (read the news); the GREEN GODDESS (aka Diana Moran, leading commuters at London railway stations through fitness regimes at 6.45am); DAVID ICKE (sport, still more knitted jumpers); LYNN FAULDS WOOD (explaning why plates broke when you dropped them) MIKE SMITH (pop news for ver kids); and later DEBBIE GREENWOOD (former Miss Great Britain, Selina’s replacement) and GUY MICHELMORE (Cliff’s son, action man, holiday stand-in). Pissed all over TV-am from a great height (until GREG DYKE showed up). Went to France for the 40th anniversary of D-Day in “let’s get serious now” mode. Went round the country’s seaside resorts in “let’s rip off Greg Dyke” mode. Some bad personnel decisions (i.e. STEVE BLACKNELL becoming full-time entertainment correspondent). Some great personnel decisions (i.e. BOB WILSON taking over from Icke). Then – oh no! Half-arsed full-scale revamp in 1986 ruined everything, with the couches ditched for desks and everyone put into suits. Plus JEREMY PAXMAN joined. Previous format now deemed “too silly” for a country self-evidently desperate for hard news and nothing but over egg soldiers. Frank looked unhappy. Likes of JOHN STAPLETON, KIRSTY WARK and JILL DANDO shipped in. Frank quit. Axe fell when whole show mutated into BBC BREAKFAST NEWS in 1989. Everyone kept calling it Breakfast Time, though.



  1. Glenn A

    July 12, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    The early version was like a breakfast version of Nationwide and was ten times more popular than Good Morning Britain, which seemed to major on long interviews with Tony Benn at 8 am, when people really wanted a short news bulletin and some happier features than Benn discussing the future of socialism with David Frost. Breakfast Time has definitely been an influence on GMTV, which continues its mix of news, weather and lighter articles on the other side( as we used to say).

  2. Dave Nightingale

    July 13, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    And…cue Frank in his cardie…

  3. Ian Jones

    July 13, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    That’s TV history, right there. Really wonderful stuff.

  4. Tom Ronson

    October 27, 2022 at 5:00 am

    Frank Bough became an unlikely aspirational figure for young Adrian Mole, who approved of him as a ‘steady sort of bloke’ and pestered his mother into buying him a grey zip-up cardigan. We all know what Bough was up to away from the cameras, of course, so the joke writes itself. Selina Scott famously interviewed the dreadful Donald Trump and managed to wind him right up. Good for her.

  5. Glenn Aylett

    October 27, 2022 at 8:41 pm

    @ Tom Ronson, Bough was one of the best presenters of his era and well loved by Middle England viewers that he appealed most to, but seemingly coke and dungeons aside, Selina Scott said he was difficult to work with and Fern Britton received a fair amount of unwanted attention from Bough. Yet he is dead ands can’t defend himself and in his imperial late seventies/ early eighties heyday, he was the best presenter on the BBC and capable of doing everything from rugby league to singing with Morecambe and Wise.

  6. Richardpd

    October 27, 2022 at 10:33 pm

    The BBC managed to get one over on TV-AM by making this a lot easier going that expected & wrong footing TV-AM.

    I remember both being one of those things in the 1980s were TV seemed to get more exciting, just like Children’s TV presentation.

  7. Glenn Aylett

    February 19, 2023 at 3:58 pm

    Anyone remember when Selina Scott became an unwanted nickname for the hapless Mr Scott in series 9 of Grange Hill? Trevor Cleaver decided to wind up the poor man with a nasty rant in a lesson that he was almost punched in the face.

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