10 TV things that nearly happened in the Eighties

Dirty Den was nearly killed off for real, Blackadder nearly got scrapped early doors, and Albert Square is 2 million times better than Buckingham Palace. Only in the 80s.
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Ten TV things that nearly happened in the eighties

Dynasty was originally called Oil.

George Peppard was the first choice to play Blake Carrington.

Roly in EastEnders was meant to be an Alsatian.

The role of Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses was offered to Jim Broadbent.

Just Good Friends was meant to finish with the downbeat ending at the end of series two.

Spitting Image was nearly called Rubber News (another possible title was Hands Up Mrs Thatcher).

Argentina almost won the Falklands War.

Blackadder was almost cancelled after series one.

David Bowie and Mick Jagger’s abandoned transatlantic duet during the Live Aid concert – they couldn’t get it to work.

Dirty Den was almost properly killed off on EastEnders – the BBC1 controller overruled the producers and took out the final shot of his dead body, in order to leave open the possibility of the character’s return.

Ten programmes that ushered in the eighties on 31 December 1979

Blue Peter Review of the Year (BBC1). Including the Great Blue Peter Bring and Buy Sale, James Callaghan and eighty pantomime horses.

Larry Grayson’s Generation Game (BBC1). With Isla St Clair.

Murder on the Orient Express (BBC1). A ‘star-studded’ - lm version of Agatha Christie’s novel.

The 70s Stop Here (BBC1). The best and worst of seventies TV, with Penelope Keith.

Things to Come (BBC2). A discussion of ‘the spiritual prospects for the 1980s’.

The Old Grey Whistle Test (BBC2). Featuring Blondie.

Give Us a Clue (ITV). Featuring Una Stubbs, Lionel Blair and Roy Hudd.

Max with Love (ITV). Max Bygraves special, featuring Geoff Love and Lorraine Chase.

Carry on Dick (ITV). ‘Classic’ Carry On fun.

The ‘Will Kenny Everett Make it to 1980?’ Show (ITV). With Cliff Richard, the Boomtown Rats and Hot Gossip.

Ten programmes that ushered out the eighties on 31 December 1989

A Question of Sport – A Celebration of 20 Years (BBC1).

A Hazard of Hearts (BBC1). Regency romp starring Helena Bonham Carter.

Clive James on the 80s (BBC1). With Jerry Hall.

Chris Evert’s Wimbledon Farewell (BBC2). With Christ Evert.

Rab C. Nesbitt’s Seasonal Greet (BBC2). With Rab C. Nesbitt.

The Karen Carpenter Story (ITV). Biopic of the saccharine seventies singer.

Cilla’s Goodbye to the Eighties (ITV). With Phil Collins and Jason Donovan.

Granpa (Channel 4). Snowman-type adaptation of a popular children’s book.

The Pirates of Penzance (Channel 4). Film version of the musical, starring Kevin Kline and Linda Ronstadt

Sticky New Year with Julian Clary (Channel 4). Seeing the new decade in . . .nuendo.

The ten most-watched programmes on eighties TV

EastEnders (BBC1, 25 December1986) 30.15 million

Royal Wedding (BBC and ITV, 29 July1981) 28.4 million

Coronation Street (ITV, 19 March 1989) 26.93 million

Dallas (BBC1, 22 November 1980) 21.6 million

To the Manor Born (BBC1, 9 November 1980) 21.55 million

Bread (BBC1, 4 December 1988) 20.97 million

Neighbours (BBC1 4 April 1989) 20.92 million

Just Good Friends (25 December 1986) 20.75 million

BBC News (BBC1, 25 November 1984) 20.42 million

Only Fools and Horses (BBC1, 25 December 1989) 20.12 million

Ten great television theme tunes of the eighties

Hill Street Blues

Cagney and Lacey

Knight Rider


Magnum Pi

Ulysses 31


Miami Vice


Battle of the Planets

Jamie and the Magic Torch

The big Christmas films of the eighties

1980: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (BBC1) versus George and Mildred: the Movie (ITV).

1981: Dr No (ITV).

1982: International Velvet (BBC1) versus The Parent Trap (ITV).

1983: Superman (ITV).

1984: Mary Poppins (BBC1) versus The Man with the Golden Gun (ITV).

1985: Moonraker (ITV).

1986: Annie the Musical (BBC1) versus Dumbo (ITV).

1987: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (BBC1) versus Alice in Wonderland (ITV).

1988: Back to the Future (BBC1) versus The Empire Strikes Back (ITV).

1989: The BFG (ITV).

(Films shown following the Queen’s speech on Christmas Day: in 1981, 1983,

1985 and 1989, BBC1 showed Christmas specials from the likes of Blankety Blank and Bread)

Ten great eighties romances

Scott and Charlene (Neighbours)

David and Maddie (Moonlighting)

Penny and Vince (Just Good Friends)

Den and Angie (EastEnders)

Peter Davison and Sandra Dickinson

Charles and Diana

Roland Rat and Glenis the Guinea Pig

Dempsey and Makepeace

John and Kate (Dear John)

René and Yvette (’Allo ’Allo)

From 'All in the Best Possible Taste' by Tom Bromley.

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