In Focus- 1980

1980 (MCMLXXX) was a leap yearstarting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1980th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 980th year of the 2nd millennium, the 80th year of the 20th century, and the 1st year of the 1980s decade.

Music in focus-

  • 1 January – Cliff Richard is appointed an MBE by Elizabeth II.
  • 16 January – Paul McCartney is arrested in Tokyo for possession of a half pound of marijuana. The remaining part of McCartney’s tour has to be cancelled.
  • 25 January – Paul McCartney is released from a Japanese jail and ejected from the country by Japanese authorities.
  • 8 February – David Bowie and his wife of nearly 10 years, Angie, file for divorce. Bowie gets custody of their 9-year-old son, Zowie
  • 30 April – The Roger Daltrey film, McVicar, opens in London.
  • 18 May – Ian Curtis, vocalist of pioneering post-punk group Joy Division, hangs himself in his Macclesfield home. His death comes just days before Joy Division are scheduled to begin their first U.S. tour.
  • 16 September – Kate Bush becomes the first British female artist to reach No.1 in the album charts.
  • 20 September – Ozzy Osbourne’s breakthrough debut album Blizzard of Ozz is released in the UK.
  • 25 November – ABBA score the last of their nine number one singles in the UK Charts.
  • December – Duran Duran signs with EMI after finalizing its lineup and touring as a support act for Hazel O’Connor.
  • 4 December – Led Zeppelin disbands following the death of drummer John Bonham.
  • 8 December – John Lennon is shot dead outside his apartment building in New York City. His latest single, “(Just Like) Starting Over”, subsequently becomes a number one hit.


Number 1 singles in 1980


DateArtist/sTitleLabelWeeks At #1
19th JanuaryPretendersBrass In PocketMercury3
2nd FebruarySpecialsThe Special AKA Live2 Tone2
16th FebruaryKenny RogersCoward Of The CountyUnited Artists2
1st MarchBlondieAtomicChrysalis2
15th MarchFern KinneyTogether We Are BeautifulWEA1
22nd MarchJamGoing UndergroundPolydor3
12th AprilDetroit SpinnersWorking My Way Back To YouAtlantic2
26th AprilBlondieCall MeChrysalis1
3rd MayDexy’s Midnight RunnersGenoParlophone2
17th MayJohnny LoganWhat’s Another YearEpic2
31st MayMASHTheme FromCBS3
21st JuneDon McLeanCryingEMI3
12th JulyOlivia Newton JohnXanaduJet2
26th JulyOdysseyUse It Up And Wear It OutRCA2
9th AugustABBAThe Winner Takes It AllEpic2
23rd AugustDavid BowieAshes To AshesRCA2
6th SeptemberJamStartPolydor1
13th SeptemberKelly MarieFeel’s Like I’m In LoveCalibre2
27th SeptemberPoliceDon’t Stand So Close To MeA&M4
25th OctoberBarbra StreisandWoman In LoveCBS3
15th NovemberBlondieThe Tide Is HighChrysalis2
29th NovemberABBASuper TrouperEpic3
20th DecemberJohn Lennon(Just Like) Starting OverGeffen1
27th DecemberSt Winifrid’s School ChoirThere’s No One Quite Like GrandmaMFP2


Number 1 Albums of 1980


PositionArtist/sTitleHighest PositionWeeks At #1
1The PoliceDon’t Stand So Close To Me14
2Barbra StreisandWoman In Love13
3Kelly MarieFeels Like I’m In Love12
4AbbaSuper Trooper13
5OttowaD I S C O2n/a
6BlondieThe Tide Is High12
7Dexy’s Midnight RunnersGeno12
8Kenny RogersCoward Of The County12
9Fern KinneyTogether We Are Beautiful11
10John Lennon(Just Like) Starting Over11


Movies in 1980



Television in 1980



  • 1 January – A brand new sitcom called Hi-de-Hi! debuts on BBC1.
  • 20 January – The British record TV audience for a film is set when some 23,500,000 viewers tune in for the ITV showing of the James Bond film Live and Let Die, released in 1973 and starring Roger Moore who is now in the process of filming his fifth film as the spy.
  • 28 January – The first edition of Newsnight is broadcast on BBC2. Its launch had been delayed for four months by the Association of Broadcasting Staff, at the time the main BBC trade union.


  • 1 February – Debut of Play Your Cards Right on ITV.
  • 25 February – The first episode of the popular political sitcom Yes Minister, “Open Government”, is broadcast by BBC2.


  • March – The very first in-vision Ceefax transmissions are broadcast. These consist of three 30-minute transmissions broadcast between 0830 and 0900 on BBC1 and 1000–1030 and 1530–1600 on BBC2. However if BBC2 was transmitting programmes at these times, the channel would broadcast Ceefax pages for the 30 minutes prior to the start of the first programme.


  • 4 April – Violet Carson makes her last appearance as Ena Sharples on Coronation Street.
  • 9 April – ATV airs the critically acclaimed Death of a Princess, a drama documentary about a young princess from a fictitious Middle-Eastern Islamic nation and her lover who are publicly executed for adultery. The drama is believed to be based on the true story of Princess Misha’al bint Fahd al Saud and its showing causes a great deal of controversy, provoking an angry response from the Government of Saudi Arabia.


  • 5 May – Both the BBC and ITV interrupt their scheduled programming to broadcast the SAS assault during the Iranian Embassy siege. The coverage launches the careers of several journalists, such as the BBC’s Kate Adie, while ITN Director, David Goldsmith and his team receive a BAFTA for their coverage.


  • 23 June – ITV airs the 2000th episode of Coronation Street.


  • 19 July–3 August – BBC Television and ITV provide live coverage of the 1980 Summer Olympics.


  • No events.


  • 8 September – Watchdog is launched as a weekly slot on BBC1’s news magazine programme Nationwide.


  • 1 October – BBC1’s lunchtime children’s programme is labelled See Saw for the first time.


  • 21 November –
    • The first annual Children in Need charity appeal is organised by the BBC.
    • 21.5 million viewers tune in to watch the 1980–81 season premier of Dallas, which answers the question of Who shot J.R.?. At the time the audience figures are a record for a soap in Britain.


  • 8 December – Ian Allen’s best known puppet series for children called Button Moon screens on ITV with narration by actor Robin Parkinson (‘Allo ‘Allo!) and a wonderful theme tune sung by husband and wife actors Peter Davison (Doctor Who) and Sandra Dickinson (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Amazing World of Gumball and The Tomorrow People).
  • 9 December –
    • The single drama The Flipside of Dominick Hide is first broadcast as part of the Play for Today series on BBC1.
    • 20th anniversary of the first episode of Coronation Street.
  • 25 December – British television premiere of the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun on ITV.
  • 28 December – The IBA announces the results of the 1980 franchise round. TSW will replace Westward and TVS will replace Southern. ATV must restructure the company to create a separate East and West Midlands service, and reduce the shareholding of its parent body to 51% by February 1981. Also announced is the winner of a national franchise to provide a breakfast television service on ITV. TV-am is awarded the contract to begin transmission in 1983.
  • 30 December – The BBC announces their intention to launch their own breakfast television service to compete with TV-am, announced two days earlier. Breakfast Time is launched on BBC1 on 17 January 1983, two weeks before TV-am.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *