List of years in British television       (table)
 1993 .  1994 .  1995 .  1996  . 1997  . 1998  . 1999 
2000 2001 2002 -2003- 2004 2005 2006
 2007 .  2008 .  2009 .  2010  . 2011  . 2012  . 2013 

This is a list of British television related events from 2003.


  • 11 January – Girls Aloud singer and former Popstars: The Rivals contestant Cheryl Tweedy is involved in an altercation with a nightclub toilet attendant, Sophie Amogbokpa, in "The Drink" nightclub in Guildford. She is subsequently charged with racially aggravated assault (after allegedly calling Amogbokpa a "jigaboo"[1]) and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
  • 15 January – Launch of Ftn and UK Bright Ideas.
  • 3 February – UK screening of the Martin Bashir documentary Living with Michael Jackson on ITV1.[2] The revelations of Jackson's controversial personal life in the programme is one of the many factors that leads to his trial for child molestation.
  • 9 February – After a long delay, BBC Choice is replaced by BBC Three. The opening night is simulcast on BBC Two.
  • 9 February-10 February – ITV screens the controversial two-part drama The Second Coming, set around the return to Earth of Jesus Christ in modern-day Manchester.[3][4]
  • 12 February – In the weeks leading up to the Iraq War, the BBC screens a series of programmes examining the case for and against war. The centrepiece of this is Iraq Day: The Case For and Against War, a 90-minute programme on BBC One on 12 February. Presented by Peter Snow. the programme analyses the possible implications of a war in the Middle East and attempts to gauge public opinion on the subject with a viewers poll.[5]
  • 22 February – After an absence of many years After Dark returns to British television.
  • 24 February – 19.43 million watch Coronation Street in the UK as Richard Hillman confesses to the murder of Maxine Peacock, the highest rated show of the year. [1]
  • 20 March – As the 2003 invasion of Iraq begins many broadcasters abandon regular programming in order to provide up to date coverage of unfolding events.
  • 22 March – ITN journalist Terry Lloyd is killed while covering the events of the Iraq War after he and his team of two cameramen and an interpreter are caught in crossfire during fighting near the Shatt Al Basra Bridge in Basra,[6] between U.S. and Iraqi forces. His body and that of his Lebanese interpreter, Hussein Osman, are recovered and it is later discovered they were both shot by United States forces.[7]
  • 31 March - Carlton Cinema, a movie channel is axed by Carlton.
  • 7 April – Following a trial at Southwark Crown Court lasting seven weeks the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? contestant Charles Ingram, his wife Diana Ingram and Tecwen Whittock are convicted by a majority verdict of "procuring the execution of a valuable security by deception". The Ingrams are each given 18-month prison sentences suspended for two years, each fined £15,000, and each ordered to pay £10,000 towards prosecution costs.[8] Within two months of the verdict and sentence, the trial judge orders the Ingrams to pay additional defence costs orders, Charles £40,000 and Diana £25,000.
  • 12 May – Former cricketer Phil Tufnell wins the second series of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me out of Here!.
  • 29 May - POP launched in the UK (2003–present)
  • 30 May – ITV1 broadcasts the final episode of Crossroads after the series was axed due to declining ratings. The finale sees hotel boss Angel Sampson (played by Jane Asher) waking up to find she is a supermarket checkout girl and that her tenure as boss of the Crossroads Hotel was all a dream.[9]
  • 11 June – The shopping channel is launched.
  • 28 June – The game show Judgement Day premieres on ITV, hosted by Brian Conley. It is cancelled after two episodes due to very low ratings, the second quickest cancellation in UK TV history; the first was Heil Honey I'm Home! in 1990, cancelled after one episode.
  • 20 July - The BBC confirms that Dr David Kelly, found dead from suspected suicide two days ago, was the main source for a controversial report that sparked a deep rift with the government.
  • 25 September – The Daily Telegraph newspaper is first to announce the return of popular sci-fi drama series Doctor Who after a 14 year break.[10]
  • 29 September – EastEnders brings Dirty Den back from the supposed dead after fourteen years.
  • 5 October – Coronation Street shows its first gay kiss.
  • 5 October – Psychological illusionist Derren Brown controversially plays Russian roulette live on Channel 4, though with a slight delay allegedly in case the stunt went wrong. The stunt is later revealed to have been a hoax.[11]
  • 20 October – Cheryl Tweedy is found guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm after claiming self defence during her trial, but cleared of racially aggravated assault.[12] She is sentenced to 120 hours of community service and ordered to pay her victim £500 in compensation, as well as £3,000 prosecution costs.[13]*13 January – ITV soap Crossroads is relaunched under the stewardship of producer Yvon Grace, and with a decidedly camp feel. However, Grace is criticised by fans for her ambivilence towards unresoled storylines from the 2001–2002 run.[14]
  • 23 October – Longtime broadcaster on the BBC and ITN, and latterly news anchor on Sky News, Bob Friend retires.
  • 30 October – ITV screens a special live episode of The Bill to mark the show's 20th year.
  • 4 November – Channel 4 airs the final episode of Brookside, ending a run of 21 years.
  • 11 November – BBC current affairs series Panorama, launched in 1953, becomes the first UK television show to reach its 50th anniversary on air.
  • 23 November – 40th anniversary of the first broadcast of Doctor Who
  • 27 November – The BBC unveils a revamped version of its news channel in an attempt to make it appear more dynamic to viewers. Changes include a new studio set and redesigned branding and graphics.[15]
  • 28 November – Some of the BBC's radio and television services, including BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Five Live and BBC News 24, are blacked out by a power cut and a fire alert.[16][17]
  • 8 December – BBC News 24 is relaunched with a new set and titles, as well as a new Breaking News sting. Networked news on BBC One and Two remains with the same titles though the set was redesigned in a similar style to that of the new News 24. The relaunch had been scheduled for the previous Monday (1 December), but was delayed due to a power failure the week before which had disrupted work on the new set.[16][17]
  • 25 December – Sleepless in Peckham, the final episode of Only Fools and Horses is aired on BBC One.
  • Unknown – Tabloid television station L!VE TV is relaunched on Sky Digital.



Date Debut
January The Politics Show begins on BBC One and Two
12 January This Week begins on BBC One.
4 February Posh Nosh premieres on BBC Two
18 May State of Play, a six-part serial, directed by David Yates and written by Paul Abbott, begins its run on BBC One, concluding on 22 June.
9 June Comedy Connections premieres on BBC One.
11 September QI premieres on BBC in UK.
16 September Little Britain premieres on BBC in UK.
11 November Rich Hall's Fishing Show premiers on BBC Four.


Date Debut
January Diggin' It replaces Diggit
19 January The Royal, a spin off Heartbeat
3 May MIT: Murder Investigation Team, a spin off of The Bill

Channel 4Edit

Date Debut
19 September Peep Show
Unknown Born to Be Different


Date Debut
January Beyblade premieres on Channel 5 in the UK from the end of 2002

Television showsEdit

Returning this year after a break of one year or longerEdit

16 October – Superstars returns to BBC One (1973–1985, 2003–2005).

Changes of network affiliationEdit

Show Moved from Moved to
Robot Wars BBC Two Five

Ongoing since past years or decadesEdit







Ending this yearEdit



  1. "Girls Aloud star 'not a racist'". BBC News. 2003-01-13. Archived from the original on 28 February 2009. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  2. "Jackson defended over TV interview". BBC News. 4 February 2003. Retrieved 24 April 2009. 
  3. Template:NoteDeans, Jason (10 February 2003). Six million attend ITV's Second Coming. Retrieved on 30 May 2009.
  4. Template:NoteGibson, Owen (11 February) 2003. Viewers lose faith in Second Coming. Retrieved on 30 May 2009.
  5. "BBC to host Iraq war debate". BBC News. 24 January 2003. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  6. "Cameraman's fate remains unsolved". BBC News. 2006-10-04. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  7. Holmwood, Leigh (6 October 2006). "Lloyd shot dead by US troops, inquest told". The Guardian (London).,,1889272,00.html. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  8. "Cheating to win £1m". BBC News. 7 April 2003. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  9. "Crossroads 'was all a dream'". BBC News. 30 May 2003. Retrieved 27 April 2009. 
  10. Leonard, Tom (25 September 2003). "Doctor Who ready to come out of the Tardis for Saturday TV series". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 July 2009. 
  11. "Magician defends gun stunt fake". 8 October 2003. Archived from the original on 7 June 2009. Retrieved 30 May 2009. 
  12. "Singer Tweedy guilty of assault". BBC News. 2003-10-20. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  13. "Singer Tweedy guilty of assault". 2003-10-20. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  14. "Crossroads Story – 1964 to 2003". Archived from the original on 2009-06-01. Retrieved 30 May 2009. 
  15. "BBC News 24's revamp is launched". BBC News. 27 November 2003. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 Hervey, Lia (29 November 2003). "Power fault at BBC puts television and radio news off air". London: The Independent. Archived from the original on 2009-06-15. Retrieved 10 June 2009. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Power cut interrupts BBC services". BBC News. 28 November 2003. Retrieved 10 June 2009. 
  18. "Novelist Tinniswood dies". BBC News. 9 January 2003. Archived from the original on 14 April 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2009. 
  19. "Bee Gees singer dies". BBC News. 12 January 2003. Retrieved 22 May 2009. 
  20. "Elisabeth Croft". The Independent. 18 January 2003. Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  21. "Holby City star Laura Sadler dies". BBC News. 20 June 2003. Retrieved 11 April 2009. 
  22. Purser, Philip (8 September 2003). "Kent Walton Obituary". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 18 April 2009. 
  23. "Comedian Bob Monkhouse dies". BBC News. 29 December 2009. Retrieved 11 April 2009. 

Years in television2003
Template:TV countries/2003
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