Channel 4 to revisit the 1980s with series of specials

The Tube Jools Holland

Channel 4 are reportedly to get all nostalgic as they step back into the 1980s with a special weekend celebrating the decade which gave birth to the network and a host of memorable programmes.

Special programmes include Rewind: The Tube a new retrospective of the Tyne Tees Television music show which became the cool show to watch on Channel 4 as well as a revival of long running quiz show 15 to 1 with Adam Hills stepping into William G Stewart’s shoes.

Current shows will also take a step back in time as Jimmy Carr fronts a Big Fat Quiz of the 80’s and a special 8 out of 10 Cats do Countdown while Alan Carr welcomes a host of 1980s personalities onto his Chatty Man talk show. The broadcaster will also dig into their archives for a classic, as yet unannounced, ’80s movie.

Get your leg warmers out of the dressing up box and slot Pac Man back into your sega mega-drive as on  The evening will host a night of classic shows, all given a nostalgic twist and in between programmes, viewers will be treated to a host of comedy sketches featuring some interesting celebrities.

Kicking things off is the return of 15 to 1, back on screens after ten years. With Adam Hills at the helm, we’ll see fifteen celebrities go head to head as they battle it out to win the notoriously tough quiz show. There’ll then be an 80s makeover of Cats Does Countdown and Alan Carr will welcome some 80’s sparkle into the studio in a special Chatty Man. The programming will end with a documentary throwback to 80s music show Rewind: The Tube, which will look at the programme’s rise and fall, the social context that it existed in and also feature a host of stars looking back at their contributions. – Channel 4

The 1980s special begins on Friday September 20th as Channel 4 heads back to the decade for a night of nostalgic fun.

Channel 4 1980s timeline:

Brookside cast 1982

Brookside launched in 1982 and brought with it a whole new style of soap opera


Channel 4 goes on air at 4.45pm on Tuesday November 2nd as the ‘sister station’ to ITV. The latter would sell advertising for the network and its regional companies would provide a large chunk of programming for the broadcaster. The first person to speak is continuity announcer, Paul Coia. The first face seen on Channel 4 is Richard Whiteley, presenting Countdown.

Also Brookside, Channel 4 News, The Snowman, Right to Reply, A Week in Politics and The Comic Strip Presents… are just some of the shows which launch.

The Animal Film is ordered to have a 12-minute cut by the TV regulator (IBA) claiming interviews with ALF activists incited people to commit crime or disorder while a movie starring Burt Reynolds is transmitted at 9pm, opening just after the watershed to a stream of “motherf**kers”.


A Gay lifestyle programme launches called One in Five. It leads to some disgusted MPs calling for Channel 4 to be closed down.

The Tube, American Football, game show Treasure Hunt and Film on Four join the line up.


Channel 4 takes over coverage of horse racing from ITV Sport. The output increased by 25% with weekdays starting at 2.30pm instead of 5pm. Programmes such as Who Dares Wins and Baby Baby hit the air.

The Tube

Music show The Tube aired live from Newcastle


A Woman of Substance secures Channel 4’s largest ever audience of 13.8 million while ITV drop their schools broadcasts with the fourth network taking over broadcasting of educational programming from ITV in September. ITV Schools was rebranded as 4Schools in 1993.

The television regulator bans Channel 4’s 20/20 Vision: M15 Official Secrets documentary. Shows which do manage to hit the air include The Max Headroom Show, Saturday Live, Bandung File, Tour de France, Hill Street Blues and Jubilee. Film on Four also brings My Beautiful Laundrette to the screen.


A government report recommends that Channel 4 should be given the option to sell its own airtime rather than ITV providing the service. Following an earlier short-lived attempt by ATV in the Midlands, Channel 4 introduces a white triangle with red borders for late night films to alert viewers that the content may be of an adult nature, it was equally as short lived as the ATV version. Channel 5 would later adopt a ‘warning system’ before their movies for a number of years.

Mary Whitehouse lobbies advertisers to boycott Channel 4. Lloyds Bank, Kelloggs and Sainsbury’s are among those who oblige.

Sir Richard Attenborough replaces Edmund Dell as Channel 4 chairman while the network broadcasts Lanzmann’s nine-hour study of the Holocaust, over two nights without commercial breaks… The channel moves into operating profit for the first time.

Shows added to the schedules include Tony Harrison’s V, Network 7, Dispatches, Porterhouse Blue and quiz 15-to-1.

Countdown Richard Whiteley & Carol Vorderman

Countdown, the first programme aired by Channel 4, continues to run despite being shunted around the schedules


Michael Grade replaces Jeremy Isaacs as Chief Executive… Liz Forgan appointed Director of Programmes while Channel 4
sees off a proposal for the network to leave the main terrestrial television service and solely broadcast via the incoming BSB satellite system.

A Very British Coup and Roseanne join the schedules while Film on Four brings Mona Lisa to the network.


The Mahabharata, game show The Crystal Maze, home grown sitcom Desmond’s, The Thin Blue Line, Hard News, improvision series Whose Line Is It Anyway? and gay magazine series Out on Tuesday all air for the first time.

Share Button

One Reply to “Channel 4 to revisit the 1980s with series of specials”

Comments are closed.