List of years in British television       (table)
 1986 .  1987 .  1988 .  1989  . 1990  . 1991  . 1992 
1993 1994 1995 -1996- 1997 1998 1999
 2000 .  2001 .  2002 .  2003  . 2004  . 2005  . 2006 

This is a list of British television related events from 1996.


  • 15 January-11 March – Our Friends in the North, a nine-part serial spanning the 1960s to the 1990s in the lives of four friends, is shown on BBC2.
  • 18 February – ITV airs the final episode of the long running satirical puppet show Spitting Image.
  • March – Launch of the business and financial news channel CNBC Europe, which is based in London.
  • 8 March – Mersey Television boss and creator of soaps Brookside and Hollyoaks, Phil Redmond predicts that in the future every major soap on television will be aired five nights a week.[1]
  • 24 March – ITV airs Coronation Street – The Cruise, something which proves to be controversial as the film had only been released on VHS a few months earlier to celebrate the show's 35th anniversary.
  • 27 May – Doctor Who, an American television movie continuation of the famous British series of the same name, airs on BBC One. This television movie is regarded as being a part of the same story as the original series and is an unsuccessful pilot for a new, American co-produced series. Paul McGann stars as the Eighth Doctor. It is the only film considered canon, but Doctor Who only makes a proper comeback in 2005.
  • 14 June – After 32 years (barring six months in 1973), Top of the Pops moves from its traditional Thursday evening slot to Fridays.
  • 19 July-4 August – The 1996 Summer Olympics are held in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • 1 September – Sky 2 launches in the UK, a sister channel to the then-titled Sky 1. It closes a year later, but a channel of almost the same name (Sky Two) would later launch in 2005.
  • 1 September – The Computer Channel is launched. It was later renamed .tv (pronounced Dot TV).
  • 2 September – The ITV region Tyne Tees Television is rebranded as Channel 3 North East. The rebranding is unsuccessful, and the original name returns two years later.
  • 1 October – The defunct Granada Sky Broadcasting launches.
  • 1 October - WBTV: The Warner Channel launched in the UK
  • 12 October - After nearly 14 years, Channel 4 is given a whole new look replacing the original blocks idents with all new circles idents.
  • 19 October - Fox Kids launched in the UK (1996–2009)
  • 1 November – Two channels, Sky Scottish and The Computer Channel launch.
  • 23 November - The BBC picks up the Terrestrial rights to The Simpsons and is first shown at 5.30pm on BBC1, with a Sunday lunchtime repeat on BBC2.
  • 24 November – ITV introduces a fourth weekly episode of Coronation Street, airing on Sundays at 7:30pm.
  • 30 November – During the live broadcast of The National Lottery on BBC 1, the draw machine fails to start, causing the draw to be delayed by 50 minutes; Resident psychic Mystic Meg later said that she had been predicting it all day.[2]
  • 29 December – Time On Our Hands, the final episode of a Christmas trilogy of the popular sitcom Only Fools and Horses, airs on BBC1. Publicised as the last ever episode, it draws 24.35 million viewers, the largest ever audience for a sitcom in the UK, and discounting Diana, Princess of Wales's funeral until her death the following year, the biggest UK television audience of the 1990s. In the event, however, the show returns for three subsequent specials, one shown each Christmas from 2001.


BBC 1Edit

BBC 2Edit


Channel 4Edit

The Children's Channel (TCC)Edit

Television showsEdit

Returning this year after a break of one year or longerEdit

  • 10 April – The Two Ronnies for a 25th Anniversary special (1971–1987, 1991, 1996, 2005)
  • 6 May – The Liver Birds (1969–1979, 1996)
  • 27 May – Doctor Who (1963–1989, 1996, 2005–present)
  • March – The Wombles (1973–1975, 1990–1991 BBC, 1996–1997 ITV)







Ending this yearEdit



Years in television1996
Template:TV countries/1996
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