In Focus 1983

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1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1983rd year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 983rd year of the 2nd millennium, the 83rd year of the 20th century, and the 4th year of the 1980s decade.

The year 1983 saw both the official beginning of the Internet and the first mobile cellular telephone call.

Music in Focus

8 January – The UK singles chart is tabulated from this week forward by The Gallup Organization. In 1984 electronic terminals will be used in selected stores to gather sales information, and the old "sales diary" method will be gradually phased out over the next few years.
20 August – The Rolling Stones sign a new $28 million contract with CBS Records, the largest recording contract in history up to this time.
1 September – Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon of The Clash issue a press statement announcing that Mick Jones has been fired from the group.
20 September – The first ARMS Charity Concert is held at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
28 November – The first Now album is released.

Number 1 singles in 1983

DateArtist/sTitleLabelWeeks At #1
15th JanuaryPhil CollinsYou Can’t Hurry LoveVirgin2
29th JanuaryMen At WorkDown UnderEpic3
19th FebruaryKajagoogooToo ShyEMI2
5th MarchMichael JacksonBillie JeanEpic1
12th MarchBonnie TylerTotal Eclipse Of The HeartCBS2
26th MarchDuran DuranIs There Something I Should Know?EMI2
9th AprilDavid bowieLet’s DanceEMI America3
30th AprilSpandau BalletTrueChrysalis4
28th MayNew EditionCandy GirlLondon1
4th JunePoliceEvery Breath You TakeA&M4
2nd JulyRod StewartBaby JaneWarner Bros3
23rd JulyPaul YoungWherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home)CBS3
13th AugustKC And The Sunshine BandGive It UpEpic3
3rd SeptemberUB40Red Red WineDep Int’l3
24th SeptemberCulture ClubKarma ChameleonVirgin6
5th NovemberBilly JoelUptown GirlCBS5
10th DecemberFlying PicketsOnly You10 Records/ Virgin5


Best selling singles of 1983


PositionArtist/sTitleHighest PositionWeeks At #1
1Culture ClubKarma Chameleon16
2Billy JoelUptown Girl15
3UB40Red Red Wine13
4David BowieLet’s Dance13
5Bonnie TylerTotal Eclipse Of The Heart12
6Men At WorkDown Under13
7Michael JacksonBillie Jean11
8Spandau BalletTRUE14
9Lionel RichieAll Night Long2n/a
10Phil CollinsYou Can’t Hurry Love12


Best selling Albums of 1983


1Michael JacksonThriller
2David BowieLet’s Dance
3Culture ClubColour By Numbers
4Paul YoungNo Parlez
5Spandau BalletOne
7Men At WorkBusiness As Usual
8The PoliceSynchronicity
10EurythmicsSweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)


Movies of 1983



Television in 1983



  • 3 January – Children’s ITV premieres on ITV as a programming block.
  • January – BBC1 starts broadcasting a full afternoon service, consisting of regional programmes, repeats and old feature films.
  • 17 January – At 6.30am, Britain’s first-ever breakfast television show, Breakfast Time, launches on BBC1.


  • 1 February – TV-am launches on ITV, with Good Morning Britain.
  • 6 February – The Australian soap opera Sons and Daughters makes its British television debut when Central becomes the first ITV region to begin screening the programme. All other ITV regions soon follow suit.
  • 8 February – Minipops premieres on Channel 4. Though a ratings success, it is axed after only one series due to heavy media criticism.
  • 23 February – After months of “will she or won’t she?” drama, Deirdre Barlow (Anne Kirkbride) makes the choice to break up with Mike Baldwin (Johnny Briggs) and reunite with her estranged husband Ken (William Roache) on Coronation Street. The episode was one of the highest-rated in the soap’s history.


  • Late February/early March – The BBC begins broadcasting a 30-minute Ceefax slot prior to the start of Breakfast Time. It is called Ceefax AM. It is first mentioned in the Radio Times on 21 March.


  • No events.


  • 2 May – From today Ceefax pages are broadcast during all daytime downtime although BBC2 continues to fully close down for four hours after Play School. Teletext transmissions also begin on Channel 4 at around this time.
  • 5 May – Top of the Pops celebrates its 1000th edition. The programme is also broadcast on BBC Radio 1 to allow viewers to listen to the programme in stereo.
  • 11 May – Peter Adamson makes his last appearance as Len Fairclough on Coronation Street.
  • 17 May – Engineering Announcements is broadcast on ITV for the final time.
  • 24 May – Engineering Announcements is shown on Channel 4 for the first time.
  • May – Wincey Willis becomes ITV’s first national weather girl when she joins TV-am to present weather updates.


  • 9–10 June – BBC1 and ITV broadcast coverage of the 1983 general election.
  • 15 June – The first episode of The Black Adder, the first in the successful Blackadder series of sitcoms, debuts on BBC One.
  • 24 June – BBC Schools programmes are broadcast as For Schools, Colleges, and on BBC1, for the final time ahead of their move to BBC2 in the autumn.
  • 27 June – The shareholders of Satellite Television agree a £5 million offer to give News International 65% of the company.


  • 29 July – Hit US action-adventure series of the 1980s The A-Team is shown for the first time in the UK on ITV.


  • 16 August – ITV broadcasts Woodentop as part of its Storyboard series. It would later be turned into a series and re-titled The Bill, commencing in October 1984 and lasting until August 2010.
  • 27–28 August – BBC2 Rocks Around the Clock by broadcasting non-stop music programmes all day and also all night.
  • 29 August – Blockbusters is launched on ITV, hosted by Bob Holness and features sixth-form students as contestants.


  • 6 September – ITV broadcasts Killer. It would later be turned into a series and re-titled Taggart.
  • 12 September – Animated series for children Henry’s Cat created by veteran British animators Stan Hayward and Bob Godfrey begins its screening on BBC1.
  • 16 September – BBC2 closes down during the day for the final time – all future daytime downtime is filled by Pages from Ceefax.
  • 19 September – Daytime on Two launches on BBC2. Broadcasting during termtime from just after 9am until 3pm, the strand encompasses the BBC Schools programming previously shown on BBC1 and the BBC’s adult educational programmes which are shown at lunchtime. A special version of the BBC Two ‘Computer Generated 2’ ident is launched to introduce the programmes.


  • 2 October – ITV shows a live top flight football match for the first time since 1960. This marks the start of English football being shown on a national basis rather than on a regional basis, resulting in The Big Match becoming a fully national programme.
  • 4 October – BBC1 broadcasts the Welsh children’s animated series SuperTed which was based on a series of stories written by Welsh writer, producer and animator Mike Young to help his son overcome his fear of the dark. The series had been so popular it was spawned into merchandising and was broadcast in many countries worldwide.
  • 12 October – Doris Speed makes her last appearance as Annie Walker on Coronation Street.
  • 24 October – Sixty Minutes launches on BBC1, replacing Nationwide but it ended less than a year later.


  • 17 November – Debut of the film Those Glory Glory Days on Channel 4, part of the First Love series.
  • 23 November – 20th anniversary of the first broadcast of Doctor Who.
  • 25 November – The BBC airs “The Five Doctors”, a 90-minute episode of Doctor Who made to celebrate its 20th anniversary.
  • ITV’s animated series Danger Mouse viewing figures reach 21.59 million, an all-time high for a British children’s programme.


21 December – First showing on British television of The Fog, John Carpenter’s 1980 horror film, which airs on BBC1.

27 December – BBC2 shows the British television debut of Oh, God!, Carl Reiner’s comedy about an unassuming supermarket manager chosen by God to spread his message, and starring George Burns and John Denver.

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