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1980 Chronokey Chronomedia index
Numbers after entries link to the list of references.


links and notes
  Cultural highlights | Predictions made this year  
January 20  James Bond film Live and Let Die achieves the highest ever audience for UK commercial television, 23.5m.  
February 6  UK government publishes a Broadcasting Bill with proposals for the fourth channel (identified as 'Service 2') to be run as a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), the life of which will be extended to 31 December 1996, with the option of a further five-year extension. 'A substantial proportions' of programmes are to be made by other than existing programme contractors. The ITV companies are to sell advertising in their own regions.  
February  Edmund Dell is appointed chairman of the body that will become the board of Channel Four with Sir Richard Attenborough as deputy. Dell was Secretary of State at the Board of Trade in the Callaghan government (and had bought his first television set in April 1979).
February  Two Saudi lawyers in the US are to sue UK commercial broadcaster ATV and its head of documentaries, Charles Denton, for $20bn for broadcasting Death of a Princess, a dramatised documentary about an unnamed princess executed for adultery, described by the ligitants as 'part of an international conspiracy to insult, ridicule, discredit and abuse followers of Islam throughout the world'.  
May 16  In protest at plans to axe 153 full-time and 19 part-time jobs through the disbanding of five BBC orchestras to save £0.5m a year, musicians at the BBC vote to strike with effect from 1 June. > 7 August
June 1  Launch of Turner Broadcasting System’s CNN (Cable News Network) to 1.7m US cable homes.  
June  Sony launches its pocket-sized audio cassette player in the UK with the brand name Stowaway. It later adopts the Japanese brand name Walkman. < 1979 November
June  Japanese manufacturers agree to evaluate three approaches to digital audio discs: mechanical, electrostatic and optical. > 1981
June  Rank Organisation in UK withdraws from film production.  
July 17  Film Act receives the Royal Assent, extending the life of the UK film exhibition quota, the Eady levy and the National Film Finance Corporation, while writing off the NFFC’s accumulated debts and making it a £1m grant.  
July 18  Rohini 1B is the first satellite launched from India. < 1975
July 24  UK's Broadcasting Bill reaches the House of Lords.  
end July  Law Lords require Granada Television to reveal the source of documents used in a World in Action programme that claimed the Thatcher government had engineered a strike at British Steel against the wishes of unions and management. Granada executives refuse and compromise is agreed.  
July  UK government announces that supply of customer telephone equipment, except for the line and first telephone instrument, and all value added network services (VANS) are to be liberalised, ending the Post Office monopoly in these areas. > 1982 January
August 7  The BBC Promendade Concerts begin nearly three weeks late after the loss of 20 concerts, following the resolution of the strike by musicians.  
August  At the BBC 25 of the 157 television producers are women, in ITV 10 of the 74 producers/directors on the three regular current affairs series, according to a paper by Mary Holland ('Out of the Bedroom and on to the Board') at the Edinburgh Television Festival.  
September 15  First commercial 14/12 GHz Ku-band satellite relay is achieved by Telesat Canada’s Anik-B satellite to transmit French-language television programmes to 22 towns in Québec province. A daily 14-hour relay is inaugurated.  
September 24  Leading Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun is produced 'untouched by human hands', using new print technology.  
October 13  Philips Industries announces the closure of its Pye television receiver plant at Lowestoft, England with the loss of 1,100 jobs.  
October  Philips and Sony announce the Compact Disc (CD) digital audio format at the Japan Audio Fair.  
October  UK government publishes a Telecommunications Bill to split the General Post Office (GPO) into two units: the Post Office and British Telecommunications.  
October 31  London's evening newspapers the Evening News and the Evening Standard merge, retaining the latter title.  
•  Pioneer introduces Laser Disc player in US.  
November 3  Broadcasting Act receives Royal Assent, authorising UK’s Independent Broadcasting Authority to set up a fourth UK broadcasting service, Channel Four Television and a separate Welsh service, Sianel Pedwar Cymru (S4C).  
November 21  The 'Who Shot JR?' episode of drama series Dallas achieves the highest US television rating to date (53.3) for the CBS network. > 1983
November  UK Home Secretary announces plans for a two-year pay TV trial on cable networks. < 1968
November  BBC's average cost for producing drama is £112,000 per hour, light entertainment costs £85,000 for comedy and £45,000 for general variety shows, £50,000 for documentaries and £9,000 for purchased programmes. The figures are given in a speech by Michael Checkland, BBC Controller of Planning and Resources, at a Royal Television Society conference in Southampton.[0063]  
December 1  One-week trial of breakfast television begins in the UK: BBC Scotland simultaneously televises its Good Morning Scotland radio show. < 1954
December 1  Vilnius TV Tower is completed in the Lithuanian capital. Standing 326.5m high, it is the country's tallest structure. < 1954
December 8  John Lennon is shot dead outside the Dakota Building in Manhattan, New York.  
December 10  Channel Four Television Company is incorporated as a limited company wholly owned by the Independent Broadcasting Authority.  
December 17  First meeting of the board of governors of Channel Four Television.  
December 28  Changes to ITV contracts are announced by the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA). Television South West (TSW) is to replace Westward Television. TVS (South and South East Communications) is to replace Southern Television. Yorkshire Television and Tyne Tees Television must be run as separate companies, not under the direct control of their joint holding company, Trident Television. The Midlands area is split into East and West Midlands and franchise holder ATV must restructure and reduce the parent company shareholding to 51 per cent. A new franchise for breakfast television (06:15-09:15) is awarded to TV-am and not, as expected, to Independent Television News (ITN).  
•  Interafrican Consortium of Cinematograph Distribution (CIDC) buys out near total monopoly of film distribution in francophone black Africa from a subsidiary of French distributor UGC.  
•  First film produced in Burundi: Ni-ni, directed by Jean-Michel Hussi Nyamusimba.  
•  Australian federal government funds creation and running of Channel 0-28 in Sydney and Melbourne, claimed as the world’s first multicultural television network.  
•  More channels start on US cable television: CNN (Cable News Network), USA Network (entertainment), BET (Black Entertainment Television).  
•  MCA, Columbia Pictures, Paramount Pictures and Twentieth Century-Fox form a US pay TV service called Premiere to compete with Home Box Office (HBO). The Department of Justice antitrust section intervenes, contending that the project is an 'unlawful combination and conspiracy' intended to harm potential competitors, a view the federal courts upholds on appeal. Premiere never goes on air.  
•  Technique for commercially viable mass production of good quality printed holograms is developed by Steve Magrew at Light Impressions, Los Angeles.  
•  UK has 1.483m homes connected to cable and 1.109m on MATV systems; cable penetration is 7.9 per cent.  
•  Tobacco company Philip Morris allegedly pays $42,000 for its Marlboro brand logo to appear 22 times in the feature film Superman II.  
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Page updated 27 May 2009
© David Fisher