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1980: Green light for breakfast television
A shake-up of broadcasting franchises has paved the way for the launch of breakfast television.

The Independent Broadcasting Authority announced the breakfast contract will go to TV-am and will launch in 1983, a year later than planned, to lessen the impact on independent local radio.

It will also avoid clashes with a fourth channel launching in 1982 and the impact on company revenues.

In regional franchises TSW, Television South West, will take over from Westward, which was praised by the IBA for its control of management problems but was faced with fierce competition.

TVS, South and South East Communications, will take over from Southern which faced three times as much competition as any other company and was praised for its religious and children's schedules.

The IBA said it ultimately chose companies with programme makers of particular promise.


In separate statements both companies, which have a long established history, said they were "shattered" by the decision.

The IBA's announcement today also shocked many with its decision to award breakfast news to the new company TV-AM and not ITN.

The TV-am consortium is headed by Peter Jay, former UK ambassador to Washington, and the journalist David Frost.

Esther Rantzen, Anna Ford and Angela Rippon have been involved in the bid for a year and will join as programme makers from its inception.

They will be joined by Michael Parkinson, Robert Kee and Mr Frost as the presenters of the morning programme starting at 0615 GMT until 0915.

Mr Frost said the show would provide a "fast moving magazine programme" for all the family.

IBA also announced changes within the remainder of the 15 companies which fought against bids from 29 rival companies.

Yorkshire TV and Tyne Tees cannot be controlled by Trident, their holding company but must be run separately with firm proposals by February.

In the East and West Midlands, the new split area, ATV must restructure the company and reduce the shareholding of its parent body to 51% by February.

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TV-am logo - copyright owner Ian White - permission granted 29.11.05
Tv-am will launch in 1983. Logo courtesy of Ian White.

In Context
TV-am had a rocky rise to popularity and an abrupt end.

The IBA set TV-am's launch at May 1983 to allow the new Channel 4 a secure start, but brought this forward to February with news the BBC was launching a rival "Breakfast Time".

The BBC launched its morning show in January and received higher ratings than TV-am.

It led to a cull of employees at TV-am including Peter Jay, Anna Ford and Angela Rippon in favour of "people-next-door" Anne Diamond and Nick Owen.

But ratings continued to plummet until Greg Dyke's creation of furry puppet Roland Rat who proved popular with children.

TV-am was transformed with a softer image and by the late 1980s it had amassed huge audiences.

But a new government act on broadcasting in 1990 changed the way franchises were awarded and TV-am lost out, going off air in 1992.

Stories From 28 Dec

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