After the furore and excitement of the launch in 1982 of Channel 4, it seems that 1983 was a bit of a damp squib in terms of British Television.
However, there were a couple of gems. Notably, on BBC1 we saw the first series of Blackadder – known as The Black Adder. Starring Rowan Atkinson and written by him and Richard Curtis, The Black Adder was the story of Lord Edmund Plantagenet, soon to become Edmund Prince of Edinburgh (aka The Black Adder) following his accidental murder of his Uncle, Richard III. With borrowings from Shakespeare and George Lucas along the way, The Black Adder just got more and more absurd until it went pop and gained Cult Status.
Also on the BBC we saw the debut of Just Good Friends, a superficially gentle comedy, starring Jan Francis and Paul Nicholas about the re-kindling of Romance between Vince and Penny 5 years after Vince left Penny stood at the altar on their ‘wedding day’. Bananaman and Don’t Wait Up also debuted on BBC1.
ITV gave us a couple of great programmes. Blockbusters with Bob Holness was required viewing in our house, as was Dramarama. This was an anthology of children’s drama and showed a total of 90 different stories between 1983 and 1989. Perhaps the best known spin off from the series was 1985’s Dodger, Bonzo and The Rest. The long running Taggart was also first screened in 1983.
1983 saw the final episodes of The Professionals, Animal Magic, ITV Playhouse, The Gaffer, Butterflies and The Good Old Days. TV stars who died this year included John Le Mesurier and Dick Emery. Two Coronation Street stars died also – Violet Carson who played Ena Sharples and Peter Dudley (Bert Tilsley).