1980: John Lennon was declared dead at 3.50am UK time, which means it’s very likely this Midday News report would have been the first some people would have heard of it. Later on Nationwide paid tribute with Andy Peebles using his Last Man To Interview Lennon card for the first time, before BBC1 dropped Paul Newman film Winning in favour of a showing of Help! Even later on, News At Ten and a Whistle Test special. By coincidence Granada’s schools series Politics: What’s It All About? was filming the preparations for the big ITN bulletins.
1981: ATV Today had three weeks left, which may explain why Anne Diamond was whipping through all the major stories while Bob Warman got on with other stories. In case you were wondering about the lead, missing child Robert Clarke had caught a train to London by himself, found out about his disappearance in a newspaper and returned home on the 11th.
1982: Tomorrow’s World has got it all – a parachute simulator, a phone in a suitcase and a shower of aspirin. Interesting how reports and features just happen as opposed to being linked. Maggie Philbin inviting Kieran Prendeville to feel her bicep is certainly an ending.
1987: It’s bemoaned these days that TV begins its Christmas countdown too early, but it was ever thus. You’ll have seen from the Help! link above that note BBC1 was already advertising the big films, now a scoot through this BBC1 prime-time includes two festive comedy and entertainment trails, including the first A Bit Of Fry And Laurie. There’s also a Clothes Show the intro to which seems to make a mockery of all we think we know about both the show and the fashion of the time – Victoriana, knitting, socks and, twas such a thing, Morpeth Fashion Week. After all that came the Nine O’Clock Newshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1yksyRXUcc – superpower talks, Shakoor Rana and Prince Harry making a face – with yet another Christmas trailer, this one for drama, following.
1990: Coronation Street started today in 1960, so Granada had all the excuse they needed to throw big thirtieth birthday bash. It’s carried off well for a shiny floor tribute too, though the opening dance routine on the cobbles makes a mockery of the idea that kind of thing became passe a decade earlier. Amid a quintessential LE line-up – Ronnie Corbett, Marti Webb, Wayne Dobson – there’s a genuine great opening montage (Daran Little, who much later wrote The Road To Coronation Street while working as an Eastenders scriptwriter and now produces Made In Chelsea, is credited as archive consultant), a corpsing Les Dawson smashes through the fourth wall by reviving Ada opposite a non-Cissie Roy Barraclough and the big heartwarming finish is a 91 year old Doris Speed.