List of years in British television       (table)
 1987 .  1988 .  1989 .  1990  . 1991  . 1992  . 1993 
1994 1995 1996 -1997- 1998 1999 2000
 2001 .  2002 .  2003 .  2004  . 2005  . 2006  . 2007 

This is a list of British television related events from 1997.


  • 1 January – ITV introduces a third weekly episode of Emmerdale.
  • 6 January – Channel 4 closes down for the last time after 15 years. From 6 am, the channel broadcasts 24 hours a day.
  • 3 February –
  • 10 March – Dave Spikey becomes the sixth host of the final series of ITV weekday morning game show Chain Letters on the same year as its 10th anniversary.
  • 22 March – First screening of the BBC television science documentary The Language Master, in which language teacher Michel Thomas taught French to sixth form students for five days at a further education college in London .[1] As a result of the interest generated by this documentary, UK publisher Hodder and Stoughton commissioned Thomas to produce commercial versions of his courses.[2]
  • 30 March –
  • 31 March - The Teletubbies first appearance on the BBC follows the lanch of Channel 5.
  • 1 April – At 4:40 am, Channel 5 begins a rerun of the Australian soap Prisoner: Cell Block H. This is the series' first networked screening in the UK as, during its earlier run on ITV, scheduling of the programme had varied from region to region.
  • 5 April – The Grand National is delayed after a suspected IRA bomb threat. The race is run on Monday 7 April at 5:00 pm. It is the last of 50 Nationals (including the void race of 1993) to be commentated on by Peter O'Sullevan.
  • 8 April – BBC journalist Martin Bell announces that he is to stand as a candidate against Neil Hamilton in the Tatton constituency on an anti-corruption platform.[3]
  • 25 April – The final edition of Chain Letters is aired after 10 years of broadcast.
  • 1 May – UK General Election night: for the first time, the brothers David Dimbleby and Jonathan Dimbleby anchor rival results programmes on BBC 1 and ITV respectively. The same arrangement will occur for the general elections in 2001 and 2005.
  • 3 May – Katrina and the Waves win the Eurovision Song Contest with the song "Love Shine a Light", the first time the UK has won the competition since 1976 and 1981.
  • 25 June – The Independent Television Commission (ITC) award the sole DTT broadcast licence to British Digital Broadcasting.
  • 3 July – Peter Snow presents Newsnight for the last time, though he will continue to make occasional appearances as a political analyst until 2005.
  • 5 July – ITV screens the comedy pilot The Grimleys. A full series begins in 1999 and airs for three series until 2001.
  • 31 August –
  • 6 September – The live broadcast of the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales is watched by 2.5 billion viewers worldwide.[4] The ceremony's footage goes down in the Guinness World Records as the biggest TV audience for a live broadcast.[5] In the UK, 32.10 million viewers watch the broadcast. It is the UK's second most-watched broadcast of all time, behind 1966's World Cup final.[6]
  • 22–25 September – BBC 1 soap Eastenders airs a series of episodes from Ireland which attract criticism from viewers and the Irish embassy because of their negative and stereotypical portrayal of Irish people. The BBC later issues an apology for any offence the episodes caused.[7][8]
  • 3 October – The 'Virtual Globe' ident is seen for the final time on BBC One after six years in use. The BBC logo changes from parallelogram to square.
  • 4 October – BBC One adopts new "hot air balloon" globe identifications to coincide with the introduction of the network's new corporate logo. See BBC One 'Balloon' idents.
  • 27 October – UK Living changes its name to Living TV, to distance itself from the forthcoming UKTV network.
  • 1 November – The UKTV network is launched in the UK. Existing channel UK Gold is joined by UK Horizons, UK Arena and UK Style.
  • 4 November – BBC News Online is launched.
  • 8 November – BBC One closes down for the last time after 65 years, making BBC Two England's last terrestrial channel to still close down at night. From the next day, BBC News 24 broadcasts on BBC1 through the night.
  • 9 November – BBC News 24 is launched, the BBC's first new UK channel since BBC Two in 1964.
  • 1 December –
    • The original four Sky Box Office channels launch.
    • Konnie Huq presents her first episode of the UK children's programme Blue Peter. She will go on to be the longest running female presenter and third longest overall in the show's history, presenting for eleven years before leaving in January 2008.
  • 9 December – CNBC Europe announces its intention to merge with the Dow Jones news channel in Europe, European Business News.
  • 20 December – The ITC award the three pay-TV digital multiplex licences to British Digital Broadcasting.


BBC OneEdit

  • 20 February – Chalk (1997)
  • 31 March – Teletubbies (1997–2001, 2007–2009, 2012–present)
  • 7 April – 50/50 (1997–2005)
  • 10 May – Jonathan Creek (1997–2004, 2009–2010)

BBC TwoEdit


Channel 4Edit


Channel 5Edit

Disney Channel UKEdit

Sky OneEdit

Television showsEdit

Changes of network affiliationEdit

Shows Moved from Moved to
Captain Pugwash BBC ITV
James the Cat ITV Channel 5
Blockbusters Sky1 BBC Two

Returning this year after a break of one year or longerEdit







Ending this yearEdit




Years in television1997
Template:TV countries/1997

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