List of years in British television       (table)
 1991 .  1992 .  1993 .  1994  . 1995  . 1996  . 1997 
1998 1999 2000 -2001- 2002 2003 2004
 2005 .  2006 .  2007 .  2008  . 2009  . 2010  . 2011 

This is a list of British television related events from 2001.


  • 1 January – The BBC reality show Castaway 2000 comes to an end as the participants leave the island of Taransay.[1]
  • 15 January – The ITC clears Celador and ITV of allegations that Judith Keppel's win on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? had been rigged to draw audiences away from BBC One.[2]
  • 18 January – Channel 4 launches E4, a digital entertainment channel, at 8.15pm.
  • 19 January – The ITV Nightly News is shown on ITV for the last time after 2 years.
  • 22 January – News at Ten returns to ITV, having been axed 2 years earlier. It is once again presented by Trevor McDonald.[3]
  • 4 March – A bomb explodes outside BBC Television Centre.[4] The blast is later attributed to dissident Irish Republican terrorists and it is suggested the BBC Panorama programme which named individuals as participants in the Omagh bombing was the motive.
  • 5 March – The ITV soap Crossroads returns with a new series after an absence of 13 years.[5] Response is initially favourable, but the show is soon criticised for its confusing storylines.
  • 9 March – The first series of Celebrity Big Brother UK in aid of Comic Relief sees six celebrities enter the Big Brother 1 house for a week long series.[6] As Comic Relief is shown by the BBC this is a rare collaboration between two rival television networks. While Channel 4 airs daily highlight shows, BBC One also broadcasts 10-minute updates, as well as the final, which is part of the Red Nose Day telethon.
  • 16 March – Comedian Jack Dee is voted winner of Celebrity Big Brother.[7]
  • 17 March – The controversial horror film The Exorcist is shown on British television for the first time when it is screened by Channel 4.[8]
  • 5 April – The culmination of the Who Shot Phil? storyline in EastEnders with the revelation that Phil Mitchell (played by Steve McFadden) was shot by Lisa Shaw (Lucy Benjamin).[9] To make way for the 45 minute episode in the schedules, the BBC negotiated to have the kick-off of the UEFA Cup semi final between Liverpool and Barcelona delayed by fifteen minutes.[10] The episode receives 20.05 million viewers, the highest rated EastEnders episode of the decade.[11]
  • 15 May – The Smash Hits TV Channel is launched.
  • 21 May – The UK version of Survivor debuts on ITV.
  • 7 June-8 June – Coverage of the 2001 general election is shown on British television. The election sees the Labour Party attain a second successive General Election victory.
  • 25 June – Interactive television makes its debut during coverage of the Wimbledon tennis tournament.
  • 30 June- A power failure at the BBC Television Centre knocks out all BBC television broadcasts for around 20 minutes
  • 11 July – ONdigital is rebranded ITV Digital.
  • 12 July – Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan host their final edition of This Morning after 13 years having previously announced their intention to leave the show. They were approached by Channel 4 to host a similar show which will begin in the autumn.[12]
  • 16 July – Australian soap Home and Away makes its debut on Channel 5.
  • 25 July – Charlotte Hobrough, a 25-year-old Detective Constable from Cardiff, Wales, wins the first UK series of Survivor and the show's £1million prize money.[13][14]
  • 10 August – The BBC introduces a fourth weekly episode of EastEnders, to be broadcast on Fridays at 20:00. This causes some controversy as the first episode clashes with Coronation Street, which has been moved to 20:00 to make way for an hour long episode of Emmerdale at 19:00. In this first head-to-head battle, EastEnders claims victory over its rival.[15]
  • 11 August – ITV in England and Wales changes its name to ITV1, due to the growing number of other ITV services, including ITV2, ITV Digital, and the ITV Sport Channel, which launches on the same day.
  • 18 August – ITV's The Premiership goes on air with much fanfare at 7pm.[16] ITV had won the television rights to show FA Premier League highlights the previous year,[17] and had decided to air the show at a time when they thought that football fans and family alike could watch it together.[18] A later edition of the show goes out at 11pm providing extended highlights. The hugely controversial move proved unpopular with viewers and the following week ITV suffered their worst Saturday night ratings for five years.[19] After two months, figures had not greatly improved and in October the early evening slot was demed to have been a failure and was axed.[20]
  • 22 August – Pay-per-view service ONrequest rebrands as ITV Select.
  • 2 September – .tv (formerly The Computer Channel) closes due to low ratings.
  • 3 September – Kent and Sussex get their own news programme, South East Today.
  • 10 September – During a recording of the game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire? contestant Charles Ingram wins the £1,000,000 prize. However, the payout is later suspended when he is accused of cheating by having his wife, Diana, and an accomplice, Tecwen Whittock, cough when host Chris Tarrant read out the correct answers.[21]
  • 11 September – Viewers around the world witness a terrorist attack on the United States, and the collapse of the Twin Towers in New York City, live on television. Most broadcasters abandon regular programming in order to provide up to date coverage of unfolding events. ITV1 scheduled programmes are switched to ITV2 for the remainder of the day, while Channel 4 is later criticised for its slow response after it continues showing the day's afternoon film That Hamilton Woman for over an hour after other networks have been covering the terrorist attacks.
  • 13 September – An edition of the political debate show Question Time devoted to the political implications of the 9/11 attacks, features many contributions from members of the audience expressing strong anti-American views. The BBC receives more than 2,000 complaints in the show's aftermath and later apologises to viewers for causing offence, stating that the edition should not have been broadcast live, but rather should have been recorded and edited.[22] The show has not been broadcast live since.
  • 14 September – National memorial service held at St Paul's Cathedral for the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The service is televised by all major television networks.
  • 1 October – BBC London is launched, replacing Newsroom South East.
  • 6 October – The UK version of Pop Idol debuts on ITV1.
  • 5 November – BBC 2W, a new digital channel for Wales, is launched.
  • 17 November – From today The Premiership is moved from its original 7pm slot to a permanent later time of 10:30pm,[20] with repeats shown early on Sunday mornings. The last 7pm show had aired the previous Saturday (10 November).
  • 19 November – BBC Two introduces a new set of four computer generated idents at 7.00am, replacing the previous set of over 20 (four of which dating back to 1991). ITV2 rebrands on the same day.
  • 19 November – Helen O'Rahilly, a BBC producer and former Director of Television Production at RTÉ is appointed as the first Channels Executive for BBCi.[23]
  • 24 November – ITN reporter Andrea Catherwood is injured in the knee by shrapnel when a Taliban prisoner explodes a concealed grenade that kills himself and two other men close by. Catherwood was reporting from Mazari Sharif where she was watching captured Taliban prisoners disembarking from lorries.[24]
  • 26 November – Richard & Judy debuts on Channel 4.[25]
  • 13 December - Lynette Lithgow, 51-year-old former BBC newsreader, is found murdered with her mother and brother at the family home in Trinidad.
  • 17 December – The original Top Gear airs for the last time. It is relaunched in its current format the following year.
  • 22 December – The pilot for Harry Hill's TV Burp is aired on ITV1. The first full series is shown from November next year.
  • 25 December – Only Fools and Horses returns for the first of three Christmas specials after previously ending in 1996. The special (If They Could See Us Now) gets 21.34 million viewers, the UK's highest rated show of the entire decade of 2000-2009.[11]


BBC OneEdit

BBC TwoEdit


Channel 4Edit

Television showsEdit

Returning this year after a break of one year or longerEdit

Changes of network affiliationEdit

Date Programme Moved From Moved To
Unknown Blankety Blank BBC One ITV1
16 July Home and Away ITV1 Channel 5

Channels: debuts, endings rebrandsEdit

New channelsEdit

Defunct channelsEdit

  • 17 March - SceneOne
  • 31 March - BBC Choice Regional channels (Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales)
  • 1 May - MTV Extra
  • 27 July - S2
  • 2 September - .tv
  • 30 November - TasteCFN

Rebranding channelsEdit

Ongoing since past years or decadesEdit







Ending this yearEdit




  1. Bunting, Chris (1 January 2001). "BBC castaways leave stormy Taransay but five plan to stay in the Western Isles". London: The Independent. Archived from the original on 2009-05-18. Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  2. "Millionaire? cleared of ratings 'fix'". BBC News. 15 January 2001. Retrieved 26 April 2009. 
  3. "News At Ten returns to ITV". BBC News. 10 January 2001. Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  4. "Blast will reawaken BBC security concerns". BBC News. 4 March 2001. Retrieved 1 May 2009. 
  5. "Crossroads – then and now". BBC News. 5 March 2001. Retrieved 27 April 2009. 
  6. "Celebrity Big Brother launched". BBC News. 15 February 2001. Retrieved 26 April 2009. 
  7. "Dee big winner of Big Brother". BBC News. 17 March 2000. Retrieved 26 April 2009. 
  8. "TV premiere for The Exorcist". BBC News. 4 March 2001. Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  9. Vasagar, Jeevan and Milne, Laura (6 April 2001). "It was Lisa who shot EastEnder Phil". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  10. Charles, Chris (4 April 2001). "EastEnders 1-0 Barcelona". BBC Sport. Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Top Ten Programmes: 2001". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  12. "Final curtain for Richard and Judy". BBC News. 12 July 2001. Retrieved 14 June 2009. 
  13. Conlan, Tara (26 July 2001). "Charlotte the £1m harlot". Mail Online. Retrieved 27 April 2009. 
  14. "'Modest' ratings for £1m Survivor". BBC News. 26 July 2001. Retrieved 27 April 2009. 
  15. Deans, Jason (2001-08-13). "EastEnders wins soap battle". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  16. Conlan, Tara and Cohen, Nadia (21 August 2001). "New game plan for ITV soccer show". Mail Online. Retrieved 14 May 2009. 
  17. "ITV kicks off soccer coverage". BBC News. 3 August 2001. Retrieved 14 May 2009. 
  18. Clancy, Oliver (9 August 2001). "Saturday night TV fever". BBC News. Retrieved 14 May 2009. 
  19. "ITV Premiership ratings plunge". BBC News. 27 August 2001. Retrieved 14 May 2009. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 Boshoff, Alison (23 October 2001). "ITV relegates The Premiership". Mail Online. Retrieved 14 May 2009. 
  21. "The Ingrams Millionaire Trial". UK Archived from the original on 2009-05-18. Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  22. BBC chief apologises for terror debate, BBC News, 15 September 2001
  23. "Helen O'Rahilly Appointed to BBCi | The Irish Film & Television Network". 19 November 2001. Retrieved 25 January 2012. 
  24. McElroy, Damien (25 November 2001). "ITN reporter wounded by Taliban suicide grenade". London: Retrieved 14 June 2009. 
  25. "Richard and Judy talk teatime". BBC News. 26 November 2001. Retrieved 14 June 2009. 
  26. "Ramona Marquez". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 17 October 2010. 
  27. INM (23 April 2001). "George Hersee Obituary". London: The Independent. Archived from the original on 2009-05-18. Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  28. "Tributes paid to Sir Harry Secombe". BBC News. 12 April 2001. Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  29. "Entertainer Ted Rogers dies". BBC News. 2 May 2001. Archived from the original on 4 May 2009. Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  30. "Carry On actress Joan Sims dead". BBC News. 28 June 2001. Retrieved 24 April 2009. 
  31. Valentine, Penny (19 November). "Charlotte Coleman Obituary". London: The Guardian. Archived from the original on 17 May 2009. Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  32. Hayward, Anthony (18 December 2001). "Lynette Lithgow". The Independent (London: Independent News Ltd). Retrieved 11 May 2010. 

Years in television2001
Template:TV countries/2001
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