Wow Icon
the wall icon

Rewind To 1983

Read this year's headlines in our monthly calendar of events and discover snippets about everyday life with our FLASHBACK facts. It's time to go back to the i... It's time to go back to... 1983.

Timeline '83 Close All

Britain's first-ever breakfast television show Breakfast Time launches on BBC1
Armed police shoot and severely injure Stephen Waldorf mistaking him for a dangerous criminal on the run
It is now illegal for drivers and front-seat passengers not to wear car seatbelts
EEC-registered boats are able to fish in British waters as the Common Fisheries Policy is effected
Comedian Dick Emery famous for his long-running sketch show (1963-81) dies of heart failure aged 67
Twenty-five members of the Red Brigades are sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Aldo Moro (see May 1978)
U2 release New Year's Day – the group's first Top 10 hit

McDonald's introduces chicken McNuggets

Dennis Nilsen is arrested on suspicion of murder after dismembered human remains are found at his block of flats
TV-am broadcasts for the first time – its "famous five" presenters are Michael Parkinson, David Frost, Angela Rippon, Anna Ford and Robert Kee
Liberal Simon Hughes defeats Labour’s Peter Tatchell to win the Bermondsey by-election
American sitcom Cheers makes its British television debut on Channel 4
Karen Carpenter dies of anorexia nervosa aged 32
Over 18M tune in for a Coronation Street episode making it the most watched TV programme of the year
Marillion's He Knows You Know scrapes into the Top 40

Total singles sales drop 6% to 74M

Newly launched TV-AM is in crisis as viewing figures slump to just 300,000 prompting boss Peter Jay to quit
The compact disc (CD) goes on sale for the first time in the UK
British Leyland launches its family hatchback the Austin Maestro
Anthony Blunt – one of the Cambridge Five Soviet spies – dies aged 75
Ian MacGregor is appointed as head of the National Coal Board – there are fears he will close pits and cut jobs
"Sterling's Blackest Day" (Daily Mirror) - the pound dips below $1.50 for the first time
Billie Jean by Michael Jackson is No. 1

At Rubelows a Sony CD player costs £549.99 (that's over £1,800 today)

The United States embassy in Beirut is bombed killing 63 people
In a six page world-exclusive the Sunday Times publishes the "Hitler Diaries"
The biggest cash haul in British history sees gunmen escape with £7 million from a Security Express van in London
The pound coin is introduced in England and Wales – the note will be withdrawn five years later
Israel wins the Eurovision Song Contest – Britain finishes sixth with I'm Never Giving Up by Sweet Dreams
Richard Attenborough's Gandhi wins eight Oscars including Best Picture
Michael Jackson's Beat It is No.3 as the album Thriller is a global smash

From the ad pages: "Every bubble's passed its fizzical" (Corona soft drinks)

The Sunday Times accepts that forensic tests prove that the “Hitler Diaries” are forgeries
Top of the Pops celebrates its 1000th edition – Spandau Ballet are No. 1 with True
Margaret Thatcher is interrogated on the sinking of the Belgrano by teacher Diana Gould on BBC's Nationwide
The 100th FA Cup is won by Tottenham Hotspur after they defeat Manchester City in a replay
In London the first cars are wheel clamped for illegal parking
Manager Bob Paisley retires after steering Liverpool to a 14th league championship
Steve Davis beats Cliff Thorburn to claim his second snooker World Championship
Heaven 17's memorable dance track Temptation is No. 2

Unemployment averages 3.10M this year

Margaret Thatcher's Conservatives win a landslide majority in the general election
After travelling for 11 years Pioneer 10 is the first spacecraft to pass the orbit of Neptune
Blackadder starring Rowan Atkinson debuts on BBC One
Sally Ride is the first American woman in space aboard Space Shuttle Challenger
Return of the Jedi – the final part of the Star Wars trilogy – is showing in UK cinemas
India wins the Cricket World Cup by defeating the West Indies by 43 runs
The Police have their last No. 1 with Every Breath You Take

From the ad pages: "Naughty but nice" (real diary cream)

Popular actor David Niven dies of motor neurone disease aged 73
Heatwave Britain – the monthly mean temperature of 19.5 °C breaks a 200-year record
Twenty people are killed when a British Airways helicopter crashes on its way to the Scilly Isles
The A-Team starring George Peppard and Mr T premieres on ITV
The lowest-ever global temperature of −89.2 °C is recorded in Antarctica
John McEnroe defeats unseeded Kiwi Chris Lewis to win his third singles title at Wimbledon
Tom Robinson's beguiling War Baby reaches the Top 10

The average house price is £28,623

New cars are registered with A-prefix number plates replacing the suffix system that began in 1963
A six-year-old boy is raped by three men at a Brighton beauty spot – public reward money soon tops £30k
At the inaugural Athletics World Championships Steve Cram wins the men’s 1500m
Cult student quiz show Blockbusters hosted by Bob Holness is launched on ITV
BBC2’s marathon 15-hour pop show Rock Around Clock first airs featuring Ultravox, Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet and The Police
After 14 years the final edition of Nationwide airs on BBC1
The Sun Goes Down for Thin Lizzy is their last hit before Phil Lynott's death

From the ad pages: "Even the specification sounds good" (Sony CD player)

USSR admits downing South Korean flight 007 that had strayed into its airspace – all 269 on board perished
After playing Elsie Tanner for 23 years Pat Phoenix announces she is quitting Coronation Street
Thirty-eight IRA prisoners escape from Prison Maze in Northern Ireland – only half are later apprehended
Soviet officer Stanislav Petrov averts nuclear war by correctly identifying an attack warning as a false alarm
Two men die during a mass brawl between rival Hell’s Angels gangs at Windsor
England lose 1–0 to Denmark at Wembley ending their hopes of qualifying for Euro 1984 in France
Blue Monday by New Order returns to the Top 40 after months on the chart

The government starts subsidizing the purchase of computers by primary schools

Neil Kinnock is elected leader of the British Labour Party and Roy Hattersley is his deputy
Cecil Parkinson resigns from the Cabinet following revelations about an affair
Veteran DJ and Top Of The Pops presenter Pete Murray loses his job allegedly for defending the Falklands War on air
Richard Noble sets a new land speed record driving Thrust2 in the Nevada desert
US troops invade Grenada – a Caribbean Island and member of the Commonwealth
Nelson Piquet wins his second F1 Championship Brabham BMW
Chance by Big Country is the group's second Top 10 hit this year

The Ford Escot is this year’s best-selling car – and will be for the rest of the decade

Over £26M worth of gold bullion is taken from the Brinks-Mat vault at Heathrow Airport
The US cruise missiles arrive at RAF Greenham Common amid strong protests
The UK "invades" the US charts – over one third of the Billboard 100 are by British acts
Game show The Sale of the Century closes down after a stint of 12 years on ITV
Microsoft announces Windows 1.0 will be available in two years
Compilation album Now That’s What I Call Music is released for the first time – its roster of 11 No. 1s has not been bettered
After a 10-year absence Tina Turner is back in the charts with Let's Stay Together

The mortgage rate is 11.25%

An IRA car bomb kills six Christmas shoppers and injures 90 outside Harrods in London
The eagerly-awaited video of Michael Jackson's Thriller premieres on Channel 4
Three Of A Kind star Tracey Ullman marries TV tycoon Allan McKeown
On the back of her hit single Let's Stay Together Tina Turner embarks on a sell-out UK tour and appears on a Tube Christmas special
The Jules Rimet World Cup – awarded to Brazil after their third world cup win in 1970 – is stolen in Rio de Janeiro and feared melted down
The first heart and lung transplant carried out in Britain at Harefield Hospital
The Smiths have their debut hit with This Charming Man

A Top 40 LP or cassette will cost you £4.49 or less at WHSmith