List of years in British television       (table)
 1998 .  1999 .  2000 .  2001  . 2002  . 2003  . 2004 
2005 2006 2007 -2008- 2009 2010 2011
 2012 .  2013 .  2014 .  2015  . 2016  . 2017  . 2018 

This is a list of events taking place in 2008 related to British television.


Date Event
2 January ITV announces that it will move its Sunday episodes of Emmerdale and Coronation Street. From the week beginning 12 January Coronation Street will have an additional Friday episode while Emmerdale will air for an hour on Tuesdays.[1]
11 January ITV News at 10.30 is shown for the last time. News at Ten then replaces it from Mondays to Thursdays and ITV Late News on Fridays.
14 January News at Ten returns to ITV with Sir Trevor McDonald again at helm having retired in 2005.
22 January BBC Three has its identity relaunched, showcasing new shows such as Lily Allen and Friends.
23 January Konnie Huq presents her last episode of Blue Peter after over ten years, having become the longest-running female presenter and third longest-running overall in the shows' 50 year history.
31 January "Pretty Baby....", a unique episode of the soap opera EastEnders is broadcast, consisting of just one character (Dot Branning) with a single monologue in the form of a taped message to her husband. This 'one-hander' is a first in UK soap history.
All the UKTV network channels such as UKTV Gold switch to widescreen.
6 February BBC announces that children's drama Grange Hill is to be axed after exactly 30 years on air.
8 February After 22 years Neighbours is shown on BBC One for the last time.
11 February Australian soap opera Neighbours debuts in its new home on Five.
12 February The BBC Three "Blobs" are played out for the last time at 4am. A new set of idents debuted the same day, this is the channels first ever rebrand since launching in early 2003.
20 February It is announced that music video channel The Hits will be replaced by 4Music later in the year.
19 March BBC Four attracts its highest ever ratings after broadcasting the one-off drama The Curse of Steptoe, with 1.41 million viewers.
21 March Dirty Sexy Money makes its debut airing in the UK and proves to be a popular hit for Channel 4
24 March
(Easter Monday)
BBC Four broadcasts a revived, special two-hour long episode of the 1960s satire The Frost Report.
26 March American Hit Dramedy, Desperate Housewives finally makes it's Fourth season debut. The show was due to start in the first two weeks of January, but this was shelved due to the WGA Strike.
21 April BBC News has a major relaunch with BBC News 24 becoming BBC News and BBC World becoming BBC World News. All the news programmes on BBC One and BBC Two have also had new looks including all regional news programmes.
28 April Five Life is renamed to Fiver.
6 May Freesat officially launches. ITV HD launches its full service.
22 May Scotsport airs for the last time on Scottish television. By the time it ended it was recognised as the world's longest running sports television magazine.
29 May It is announced that What the Papers Say, the second longest running programme on British television after Panorama, is to be axed by the BBC.
3 June All Virgin Media channels including Bravo (also Bravo 2), Living (also Living2), Challenge, Trouble and Virgin 1 switch to widescreen.
4 June MTV UK and several other MTV Networks Europe channels are fined £255,000 by Ofcom for "widespread and persistent" breaches of the broadcasting code, including breaking the pre-watershed content ban.
5 June The Big Brother 9 launch night proves to be not as good as Channel 4 had hoped with the loss of around 1 million viewers who had watched the previous year's launch night
6 June Sharon Osbourne quits as a judge on the ITV series The X Factor shortly before filming is due to begin on a new series.[2]
7 June - 29 June Euro 2008 are held in Austria and Switzerland.
10 June Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole is revealed as Sharon Osbourne's replacement as a judge on The X Factor.[3]
17 June Comedian Joan Rivers is asked to leave the ITV afternoon talk show Loose Women after swearing live on air. She was removed during the commercial break, and said that she didn't realise the show was going out live and thought her comments would be bleeped.
5 July The finale of the fourth series of Doctor Who is watched by 9.4 million viewers, this is the first time since the series' revival in 2005 that Doctor Who has the largest audience share in its timeslot.
23 July Des O'Connor announces that he will step down as presenter of Countdown.[4]
25 July Carol Vorderman announces that she will quit as host of Countdown, two days after Des O'Connor announced his intention to leave the programme. Vorderman's manager said that she did not think she could go through the process of bonding with another co-presenter.[5]
8 August - 24 August 2008 Summer Olympics are held in China.
15 August The music video channel The Hits closes and is replaced by 4Music later the same day.
Griff Rhys Jones announced as the new presenter of It'll Be Alright on the Night for the first time since Denis Norden's retirement from the show in 2006 after almost 30 years.
22 August After seven years with Channel 4, Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan present their last edition of Richard & Judy. They move to new subscription channel Watch in the Autumn.
31 August Sky One, Sky Two and Sky Three rebrands to Sky1, Sky2 and Sky3 respectively.
18 September BBC One screens its controversial documentary The Undercover Soldier.
19 September BBC Alba, a Scottish Gaelic language digital television channel, is launched through a partnership between the BBC and MG ALBA.
6 October Five has its first major rebrand since 2002.
7 October UKTV launches a new general entertainment channel called Watch and UKTV Gold was relaunched as a comedy channel G.O.L.D. (Go On Laugh Daily) and UKTV Drama was relaunched as a crime drama channel Alibi.
Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan begin presenting a new show Richard and Judy's New Position on Watch.
18 October Longest-running children's television programme Blue Peter celebrates its 50th birthday.
29 October During the live broadcast of the 2008 National Television Awards, David Tennant announces that he is leaving Doctor Who at the end of 2009.
30 October Following his involvement in the Russell Brand Show prank telephone calls row, Jonathan Ross is suspended for 12 weeks without pay from all BBC shows, including his television programmes such as Friday Night With Jonathan Ross. He also decided not to host the 2008 British Comedy Awards, broadcast on ITV1.
4 November It is announced that an agreement has been struck for Sky's Basic channels – including Sky1, Sky2, Sky3, Sky News, Sky Sports News, Sky Arts 1, Sky Arts 2, Sky Real Lives and Sky Real Lives 2 - to return to Virgin Media from 13 November 2008 until 12 June 2011. In exchange Sky will be provide continued carriage of Virgin Media Television's channels – Living, Living2, Bravo, Bravo +1, Trouble, Challenge and Virgin1 for the same period.[6] However, Trouble closed down on April 2009 and Sky brought Virgin Media Television (later Living TV Group) two years later. Bravo, Bravo 2, Challenge Jackpot and Channel One closed down on 1 January and 1 February 2011 respectively, alongside with the rebrandings of Living (now Sky Living), Livingit (then Livingit, now Sky Livingit), Living Loves (now Sky Living Loves) and Challenge's new slot on Freeview on February 1, 2011, which finally ended Living TV Group and extended the agreement as a permanent deal.
6 November The digital switchover continues when the Scottish Borders region's analogue service is switched off. People served by the Selkirk transmitter will be the first substantial area to go fully digital.
13 November BSkyB basic channels such as Sky1 and Sky News return to Virgin Media TV.
14 November Children in Need 2008 is broadcast on BBC One, hosted by Terry Wogan, Tess Daly and Fearne Cotton. Raising £20,991,216 by the end of the broadcast.
20 November Sir Trevor McDonald presents his last News at Ten after only 11 months at helm. Mark Austin takes over as head anchor.
QI broadcasts its last episode to be originally shown on BBC Two, as part of Children in Need. The series moves to BBC One during Christmas.
21 November It is announced that Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling and Oxford graduate Rachel Riley will replace Des O'Connor and Carol Vorderman as hosts of the next series of Countdown. Riley beat 1,000 applicants to win the role.[7]
12 December Des O'Connor presents his last Countdown episode after over a year of presenting and Carol Vorderman also presents her last Countdown episode after 26 years of co-presenting.
30 December Shooting Stars returns with a Christmas special and a clip show, the first new episodes since 2002 and Rab C. Nesbitt returns with a Christmas special, the another new episode since 1999.

Debuts (including scheduled)Edit

BBC OneEdit

Date Programme
1 January Sense and Sensibility
5 January Basil's Swap Shop
5 January The One and Only
8 January Mistresses
10 January Fairy Tales
13 January Lark Rise to Candleford
7 February Ashes to Ashes
10 March Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
15 March I'd Do Anything
28 March The Passion
12 April The Kids Are All Right
28 April Out of the Blue
1 May The Invisibles
30 June Criminal Justice
5 July Last Choir Standing
8 July Bonekickers
10 August Britain From Above
26 August Mutual Friends
14 September Tess of the D'Urbervilles
18 September The Undercover Soldier
20 September Merlin
Hole in the Wall
7 October Sunshine
12 October Stephen Fry in America
19 October Ian Fleming: Where Bond Began
13 November Apparitions
23 November Wallander
23 November Survivors
25 December A Matter of Loaf and Death

BBC TwoEdit

Date Programme
10 January Never Better
28 February Empty
10 March 10 Days to War
11 May Wild China
28 May Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story
10 July Lab Rats
30 July House of Saddam
12 August Maestro
2 October Beautiful People
10 October The American Future: A History
22 November Einstein and Eddington

BBC ThreeEdit

Date Programme
12 February Lily Allen and Friends
12 February Phoo Action
8 April The Wall
22 June MeeBOX
23 June Snog Marry Avoid?
10 August Spooks: Code 9
28 August The Wrong Door

BBC FourEdit

Date Programme
31 January The Art of Spain
12 June The Long Walk to Finchley
2 November Consuming Passion


Date Programme
9 January Honest
10 January Moving Wallpaper
10 January Echo Beach
12 January Thank God You're Here
14 January The Palace
28 March Teenage Kicks
6 April Headcases
20 April Beat the Star
8 May Midnight Man (TV serial)
28 June Who Dares, Sings!
1 September The Children
18 September No Heroics
3 September Lost in Austen
26 October Britannia High

Channel 4Edit

Date Programme
18 January Gordon Ramsay: Cookalong Live
1 February Alan Carr's Celebrity Ding Dong
22 February New Hero of Comedy
1 June Tony Robinson's Crime and Punishment
1 August The Kevin Bishop Show
1 August Tonightly
25 August Wogan's Perfect Recall
17 September The Family
12 October Britain's Got the Pop Factor and Possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly on Ice
19 November The Devil's Whore
24 November The Ascent of Money


Date Programme
13 August Rory and Paddy's Great British Adventure
5 September The What in the World? Quiz
8 October Paul Merton in India


Date Programme
3 January Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack
1 May The Inbetweeners
27 October Dead Set
24 November Hollyoaks Later


Date Programme
21 January Ross Kemp in Afghanistan
11 May Don't Forget the Lyrics!
31 August Hairspray: The School Musical


Date Programme
7 October Richard and Judy's New Position


Date Programme
27 October Argumental
30 October Batteries Not Included


Date Programme
6 May The Colbert Report

Changes of network affiliationEdit

Programme Moved from Moved to
Torchwood BBC Three BBC Two
Neighbours BBC One Five
Fireman Sam BBC FiveTemplate:Ref
The Weakest Link (Daytime version) BBC Two BBC One
FA Cup football and England Internationals BBC One ITV & Setanta Sports
Gladiators ITV1 Sky1
Out of the Blue BBC One BBC Two
Gavin & Stacey BBC Three BBC One
Robot Wars Five Bravo



Channel rebrandsEdit

Rebranding channelsEdit

Date Old Name New Name
28 April Five Life Fiver

Television showsEdit

Returning this year after a break of one year or longerEdit

Programme Date(s) of original removal Original channel Date of return New channel(s)
Mr. and Mrs. 1999 ITV1 2008 N/A (Same channel as original)
ITV News at Ten 5 March 1999
30 January 2004
ITV1 14 January 2008 N/A (Same channel as original)
Gladiators 1 January 2000 ITV1 11 May 2008 Sky1
Superstars 2005 BBC One July 2008 Five
It'll Be Alright on the Night 18 March 2006 ITV1 20 September 2008 N/A (Same channel as original)
Going for Gold 9 July 1996 BBC One 13 October 2008 Five


Programme Date
Panorama (1953–present)
The Sky at Night (1957–present)
Blue Peter (1958–present)


Programme Date
Coronation Street (1960–present).
Songs of Praise (1961–present)
Doctor Who (1963–1989, 1996, 2005–present)
Match of the Day (1964–present)
The Frost Report (1966–1967, 2008)
The Money Programme (1966–present)


Programme Date
Emmerdale (1972–present).
Newsround (1972–present)
Last of the Summer Wine (1973–2010)
Arena (1975–present)
Top Gear (1977–2001, 2002–present)
Antiques Roadshow (1979–present)
Question Time (1979–present)


Programme Date
Family Fortunes (1980–1985, 1987–2002, 2006–present)
Postman Pat (1981, 1991, 1996, 2004–present)
Timewatch (1982–present)
The Bill (1984–2010)
Thomas & Friends (1984–present)
EastEnders (1985–present)
Comic Relief (1986–present)
Casualty (1986–present)
Fireman Sam (1987–1994, 2005–present)
ChuckleVision (1987–present)
This Morning (1988–present)
Rab C Nesbitt (1988–1999, present)


Programme Date
Have I Got News for You (1990–present)
Shooting Stars (1995–2002, present)
Hollyoaks (1995–present)
Silent Witness (1996–present)
Midsomer Murders (1997–present)
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (1998–present)
Bob The Builder (1998–present)
Bremner, Bird and Fortune (1999–present)


Programme Date
The Weakest Link (2000–2012)
Real Crime (2001–present)
I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! (2002–present)
Harry Hill's TV Burp (2002–2012)
Spooks (2002–present)
Comedy Connections (2003–present)
The Daily Politics (2003–present)
Peep Show (2003–present)
The Politics Show (2003–present)
QI (2003–present)
The Royal (2003–present)
This Week (2003–present)
Doc Martin (2004–present)
Shameless (2004–present)
Strictly Come Dancing (2004–present)
The X Factor (2004–present)
Love Soup (2005–2008)
More4 News (2005—2009)
The Andrew Marr Show (2005–present)
Deal or No Deal (2005–present)
Dancing on Ice (2006–present)
Hotel Babylon (2006–2009)
Robin Hood (2006–2009)
That Mitchell and Webb Look (2006–present)
Torchwood (2006–present)
Waterloo Road (2006–present)
Star Stories (2006–2008)
The Sarah Jane Adventures (2007–present)
After You've Gone (2007–2008)
Golden Balls (2007–2009)
Gavin & Stacey (2007–2010)
Would I Lie To You? (2007–present)
M.I.High (2007–present)
The Tudors (2007–2010)
Trapped (2007–present)
Skins (2007–present)
Britain's Got Talent (2007–present)

Ending this yearEdit

Date Programme Channel(s) Debut
21 March The Palace ITV 2008
Echo Beach ITV 2008
22 May Scotsport ITV Scotland 1957
May What the Papers Say BBC 1956
5 June HolbyBlue BBC 2007
15 June Headcases ITV 2008
22 August Richard & Judy Channel 4 2001
30 August Last Choir Standing BBC 2008
15 September Grange Hill BBC 1978
8 October Supernanny Channel 4 2004
25 December Out of the Blue BBC 2008
After You've Gone BBC 2007


Date Name Age Cinematic Credibility
3 January Natasha Collins 31 Presenter
3 January Jack Aranson 83 Actor
5 January Rowan Ayers 85 Television Producer (Late Night Line-Up, Old Grey Whistle Test, Points of View)
17 January Carole Lynne 89 Actress, widow of Baron Delfont
20 January Kevin Stoney 86 Actor
26 January John Ardagh 79 journalist and author
27 January Diane Chenery-Wickens 48 Television make-up artist
30 January Jeremy Beadle 59 Presenter (Game for a Laugh, Beadle's About, Chain Letters, You've Been Framed)
2 February Barry Morse 89 Actor (The Fugitive, Space: 1999)
2 February Edward Wilson 60 Actor (When the Boat Comes In) director of the National Youth Theatre
19 February David Watkin 82 Cinematographer
19 February Emily Perry 100 Actress
8 March Carol Barnes 63 Former ITN newscaster
16 March John Hewer 86 Actor
19 March Paul Scofield 86 Actor
20 March Brian Wilde 80 Actor (Last of the Summer Wine, Porridge)
25 March Tony Church 77 Actor
2 April Sir Geoffrey Cox 97 Founder of ITN News at Ten
10 April Francis Coleman 84 Canadian-born British conductor, television producer and director
11 April Willoughby Goddard 81 Actor
13 April Mark Speight 42 Presenter (SMart, Scratchy & Co)
15 April Hazel Court 82 Actress (The Masque of the Red Death, The Raven)
24 April Tristram Cary 82 Film and television composer
25 April Humphrey Lyttelton 86 Jazz musician, broadcaster (Host of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue)
1 May Bernard Archard 91 Actor
13 May Jill Adams 77 Actress
14 May Frith Banbury 96 Stage director and actor
16 May David Mitton 69 British TV animator/producer (Thomas the Tank Engine)
17 May Wilfrid Mellers 94 Composer and author
17 May John Fitzsimmons 68 Roman Catholic priest and broadcaster
20 May Iona Banks 87 Actress
20 May Margot Boyd 94 Actress (Marjorie Antrobus on The Archers)
23 May Alan Brien 83 Journalist and Critic
24 May Rob Knox 18 Actor
30 May Chris Morgan 55 Journalist
30 May Mike Scott 75 Television Producer, Presenter (The Time, The Place)
4 June Jonathan Routh 80 Co-star (Candid Camera)
5 June Angus Calder 66 Historian and Writer
10 June David Brierly 73 Actor (Voice of K-9 on Doctor Who)
26 June Tony Melody 85 Actor
2 July Elizabeth Spriggs 78 Stage, Television and Film Actress (Sense and Sensibility, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone)
3 July Clive Hornby 63 Actor (Emmerdale)
4 July Charles Wheeler 85 Journalist, longest serving BBC foreign correspondent
7 July Hugh Mendl 88 Record producer
14 July Hugh Lloyd 85 Actor (Hancock's Half Hour)
14 July Bryan Cowgill 81 Executive
27 July Bob Crampsey 78 Sportscaster
30 July Peter Coke 95 Actor and Playwright (Paul Temple)
30 July Jon Miller 87 Television presenter
6 August Jennifer Hilary 65 Actress
7 August Simon Gray 71 Playwright
10 August Terence Rigby 71 Actor
10 August John Esmonde 71 British scriptwriter (The Good Life)
11 August Bill Cotton 80 BBC Television executive
19 August Bob Humphrys 56 Sports presenter (BBC Wales), Brother of John Humphrys
29 August Geoffrey Perkins 55 Producer
31 August Ken Campbell 66 Actor
8 September Celia Gregory 58 Actress
19 September David Jones 74 Theatre and Film director
20 September William Fox 97 Actor
1 October Ian Collier 87 Actor and Singer
4 October Peter Vansittart 88 Writer
7 October Peter Copley 93 Actor
8 October Bob Friend 70 Sky News presenter
11 October Russ Hamilton 76 Singer
11 October Don Candlin 59 Film Editor
11 October Mark Shivas 70 Film and television producer
18 October Peter Gordeno 69 Actor, Singer and Dancer
20 October John Ringham 80 Actor
22 October David Lloyd Meredith 74 Actor
25 October John Axon 48 Actor
31 October John Daly 71 Film producer
11 November Jack Scott 85 BBC Weatherman
16 November Reg Varney 92 Actor (On the Buses, The Rag Trade)
25 November Dudley Savage 88 Radio Presenter
28 November John Hewitt 58 Actor
8 December Bob Spiers 63 Television director
8 December Oliver Postgate 83 Animator
13 December Kathy Staff 80 Actress (Last of the Summer Wine, Crossroads)
18 December Jack Douglas 81 Actor

Top 10 highest viewed programmesEdit

Rank Programme Rating Channel Date
1 Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death 16.15m BBC One 25 December 2008
2 The X Factor Results 14.06m ITV 13 December 2008
3 Britain's Got Talent: Final Result 13.88m ITV 31 May 2008
4 The X Factor 13.77m ITV 13 December 2008
5 Doctor Who 13.10m BBC One 25 December 2008
6 Coronation Street 13.02m ITV 18 January 2008
7 Strictly Come Dancing 12.97m BBC One 20 December 2008
8 Dancing on Ice 12.02m ITV 16 March 2008
9 Britain's Got Talent 11.86m ITV 30 May 2008
10 EastEnders 11.73m BBC One 24 March 2008


  • A Matter of Loath and Death is the highest viewed non-sporting event since an episode of Coronation Street in 2004 had 16.33 million.
  • Coronation Street's audience was boosted due to the death of long running and popular character Vera Duckworth.
  • The results shows of The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent are counted as separate programmes.


Years in television2008
Template:TV countries/2008
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