List of years in British television       (table)
 1977 .  1978 .  1979 .  1980  . 1981  . 1982  . 1983 
1984 1985 1986 -1987- 1988 1989 1990
 1991 .  1992 .  1993 .  1994  . 1995  . 1996  . 1997 
This is a list of British television related events from 1987.


  • 24 February – The sitcom Hardwicke House makes its debut on ITV. The series is badly received by critics and viewers and is cancelled after just two episodes (the second broadcast the following evening). The remaining five episodes of the series have never been transmitted.
  • 26 February – Michael Checkland succeeds Alasdair Milne as Director-General of the BBC.
  • 25 April – The Australian soap opera Prisoner: Cell Block H makes its debut on Central Television in the Midlands. This is believed by many to be the series debut on British television, but in fact it had been running in the Yorkshire region since 1984. Central were the first region to conclude the series, however.
  • 11 June-12 June – Coverage of the results of the 1987 general election are broadcast both on BBC1 and ITV.
  • 7 September – Sylvester McCoy becomes the seventh actor to play the Doctor in BBC One's long-running Doctor Who.
  • 14 September – After 30 years on ITV, the schools service ITV Schools moves to Channel 4 allowing ITV to concentrate on building a fully commercial daytime schedule.
  • 15 October – During a weather forecast BBC meteorologist Michael Fish reports "Earlier on today, apparently, a woman rang the BBC and said she heard there was a hurricane on the way; well, if you're watching, don't worry, there isn't, but having said that, actually, the weather will become very windy, but most of the strong winds, incidentally, will be down over Spain and across into France.".[1] Hours later, Britain is hit by the worst storm for 284 years.[2] Fish later drew criticism for the comments, but has since claimed that they referred to Florida, USA, and were linked to a news story immediately preceding the weather bulletin, but had been so widely repeated out of context that the British public remains convinced that he was referring to the approaching storm.
  • 16 October – As a result of the Great Storm of 1987 electrical power to TV-am's studios is lost and an emergency programme has to be transmitted from facilities at Thames Television's Euston Road centre using reports from TV-am's own crews and those of ITN, TSW and TVS. The BBC's Breakfast Time which would usually come from Lime Grove and was able to broadcast as the studios were without power, as was most of BBC Television Centre at Wood Lane. The early part of the programme was broadcast from the continuity suite at TV Centre usually used for Children's BBC presentation as this area had generator support, before a larger studio was able to be brought into use.
  • October – The TV-am strike begins after embers of the technician’s union the ACTT walk out in a dispute over the station's ‘Caring Christmas Campaign’. What is meant to be a 24 hour stoppage continues for several months when staff are locked out by Managing Director Bruce Gyngell. Unable to broadcast Good Morning Britain, the regular format is replaced with a skeleton service that sees non-technichal staff operating cameras and Gyngell himself drecting proceedings, as well as imported shows such as Flipper, Batman and Happy Days being used to fill up airtime. The strikers are eventually sacked and replaced with non union staff. Viewing figures remain high throughout the disruption, which continues well into 1988, although normal programming gradually resumes. Other ITV stations later follow Gyngell's example.
  • 4 November–18 November – Damon and Debbie becomes the first 'soap bubble'. It was a miniseries which took two characters from Brookside into new locations and their own story.
  • 17 November – The BBC sees the first appearance of The 999 Programme from S4C Fireman Sam.
  • December – Thamesside TV, a pirate TV station set up by Thameside Radio goes on air in the same city. There were only two known broadcasts in December 1987.[3][4]
  • 25 December - ITV enjoys a record breaking audience when more than 26 million viewers tune in for the Christmas Day episode of Coronation Street, in which Hilda Ogden (Jean Alexander) makes her last appearance in the show after 23 years.
  • 31 December – In an unusual move, the Chimes of Big Ben are integrated into an episode of EastEnders on BBC 1. Character Den Watts brought a television into the bar of the Queen Vic, watched' the chimes in their entirety, and the episode resumed.
  • Unknown – Network 21, a Pirate television station in London broadcasts for around 30 minutes on Friday evenings.


BBC 1Edit

BBC 2Edit


Channel 4Edit

Television showsEdit

Returning this year after a break of one year or longerEdit






Ending this yearEdit




Years in television1987
Template:TV countries/1987

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.