Whether it was the introduction of two new, booze-soaked comedy icons, the launch of an anarchic new breakfast TV show or a fond farewell to one of the most beloved chat shows ever, a lot happened in tellyland in 1992.
As we continue our celebration of nostalgic TV in our Rewind To The 90s series, we’re taking a closer look at some classic moments that all happened an astonishing 30 years ago this year….
As Time Goes By debuts – 12 January
As Time Goes By told the story of two former lovers – played by Judi and Jeffrey – who met unexpectedly 38 years later and went on to marry, as their families blended.
Some ten series comprising 67 episodes were produced between 1992 and 2005.
Judi reminisced about their mischievous time on set after Jeffrey died in 2021, saying in a touching tribute: “How lucky to have been in something with him for so long.”
Two Men start Behaving Badly – 18 January
Just a week after As Time Goes By aired its first episode, another comedy classic arrived on our screens, as Men Behaving Badly satirised 90s lad culture.
But while we all remember the BBC version of Men Behaving Badly starring Martin Clunes and Neil Morrissey, what you might have forgotten – or not even realised – is that the first series originally aired on ITV, and Harry Enfield was Martin’s original co-star.
Axed due to low ratings, the channel move – which also saw the show shift to a post-watershed timeslot and Neil introduced as Tony – kicked the show into a new realm of popularity, with viewers loving Gary and Tony’s antics and their long-suffering girlfriends Deborah and Dorothy (played by Leslie Ash and Caroline Quentin). It even spawned a US and Australian version, while the final episode in 1998 drew some 13.9 million viewers.
The end of the Rainbow – 6 March
We said our goodbyes to Zippy, George and Bungle in 1992, and it was the end of the Rainbow for one of TV’s most beloved children’s shows ever – or so we thought at the time, anyway.
The series ended due to a changing of ITV franchises, sparking a campaign to bring the show back.
Viewers’ prayers were answered in 1994, when a reboot of Rainbow began, although presenter Geoffrey was scrapped, a host of new characters were introduced with the personalities of the remaining trio changed, and the action centred in a toy shop. The changes proved unpopular and another reboot followed in 1996 before the show ended for good the following year.
Danger Mouse solves his last case – 19 March
On the topic of beloved kids shows, Danger Mouse also came to an end after an 11-year run, with the rodent secret agent (voiced by David Jason) solving his last case.
It would be some 23 years before the show was rebooted, with Pointless host Alexander Armstrong taking over as the voice of Danger Mouse on a new version of the show, which is still airing on CBBC to this day.
ITV’s Heart starts Beating – 10 April
Heartbeat was a mainstay on Sunday nights on ITV, and kicked off its 18-year run in 1992.
The police period drama series was based upon the Constable series of novels written by Nicholas Rhea, and originally saw Nick Berry take the lead as PC Nicholas Rowan, following his departure from EastEnders as Simon Wicks in 1990.
Nick’s voice could also be heard on the show’s opening titles, as he recorded a cover of Buddy Holly’s 1958 song Heartbeat as the theme tune.
The sun sets on The Golden Girls – 9 May
It really was the end of an era as the beloved Golden Girls closed out their iconic US TV series in May 1992 after seven years and 180 episodes.
Sparked by Bea Arthur’s exit from the show, the final episode saw Dorothy move to Atlanta after marrying Blanche’s uncle Lucas.
However, it was not goodbye for the rest of the ladies, as spin-off series The Golden Palace debuted just four months later. Sadly, it didn’t prove to be as popular, and was axed after just one series.
Eurovision glory for Ireland – 9 May
Ireland won the 1992 Eurovision Song Contest when Linda Martin’s Why Me? came out on top.
It was the fourth time Ireland had won Eurovision – having previously won in 1970, 1980 and 1987 – and marked the first of three successive wins for the country as they were crowned champions again in 1993 and 1994. After a year off, they even won again in 1996.
Susie Dent takes up a seat in Dictionary Corner – 29 June
This year marks a big work anniversary for Countdown lexicographer Susie Dent, as in 2022, it will be 30 years since she made her debut in Dictionary Corner alongside then-presenter Richard Whitely and the show’s then-maths expert Carol Vorderman.
Now holding the record as the longest-serving member of the Countdown team, she has seen a number of changes over her three decades on the show, including welcoming five different presenters following Richard’s death in 2005.
Wogan signs off – 3 July
Terry Wogan was one of the BBC’s biggest stars, fronting his eponymous chat show for 10 years, and it was so popular, it aired three times a week in a primetime slot in its later years.
However, the curtain came down on the hit series in 1992 in a very special show, which featured guests including Joanna Lumley, Ruby Wax, Torvill and Dean, Jason Donovan and Frank Bruno, and a look back at some of the best moments from its run.
Wogan was replaced in the schedule by a brand-new soap, speaking of which…
BBC launches the ill-fated Eldorado – 6 July
Eldorado was a soap from the creators of EastEnders that was set in a fictional Spanish town and followed the lives of British expats. The BBC hoped it would replicate the success of EastEnders, but with the added sunshine that made Australian soaps Neighbours and Home And Away popular.
Sadly, it wasn’t to be, and the show was cancelled after less than a year on air due to poor critical reception and less than impressive ratings.
Emma Bunton appears in EastEnders – 18 August
It would be a few years yet before she would go on to achieve worldwide fame as part of the Spice Girls, but an even babier-faced Baby Spice made her TV debut in EastEnders in 1992, playing the role of an unnamed mugger.
The following year, she actually tried out for the full-time role of Bianca Jackson, but lost out to Patsy Palmer.
Still, all’s well that ends well, eh?
What’s Up Doc? wakes up Saturday mornings – 5 September
What’s Up Doc? joined a long line of prestigious Saturday morning kids shows when it launched on ITV.
Hosted by Andy Crane, Yvette Fielding and Pat Sharp, the show was designed to promote and feature products created by Warner Bros, including their library of Looney Tunes animated shorts, which is where the show got its name. Cartoons Animaniacs, Batman: The Animated Series and Taz-Mania were also regulars.
What’s Up Doc? became known for its puppet characters Bro and Bro – a pair of wolf brothers who would “devour” a celebrity guest on the losing side of the popular phone-in games, and the characters later featured in their own CITV spin-off series, Wolf It.
Breakfast TV goes BIG – 28 September
While TV-am’s once-hugely popular Good Morning Britain was winding down, Channel 4 decided to offer up a fresh alternative for breakfast when they launched The Big Breakfast in 1992.
Rather than focussing on current affairs and human interest stories, The Big Breakfast was an anarchic and irreverent start to the day and replaced the network’s first foray into early morning telly with The Channel Four Daily.
It soon became the nation’s highest-rated breakfast show, with its popularity continuing under subsequent hosts Denise Van Outen and Johnny Vaughan, with whom The Big Breakfast is perhaps most synonymous.
The Big Breakfast returned with AJ Odudu and Mo Gilligan for a one-off special in 2021 as part of Channel 4’s Black To Front project, and after hugely positive reviews, we have high hopes for extra helpings.
Later… With Jools Holland debuts – 8 October
Musician Jools Holland had already made a name for himself on TV when Later debuted in 1992, having previously hosted The Tube with Paula Yates on Channel 4.
But his own show drew on his skills as a session musician, with each show featuring a jam session involving all the guests on the show, who are usually made up of both established and new musical artists.
Among the guests on the very first episode were The Neville Brothers, The Christians, Nu Colours and D’Influence, while subsequent years have seen artists including Coldplay and Adele make their debut TV performance on the show.
The Gladiators get ready for battle – 10 October
Speak to anyone who grew up in the 1990s about what the best Saturday night TV show was, and we’ll bet the majority mention Gladiators.
The show, which introduced us to the likes of Hunter, Lightning and Wolf, was actually a UK adaptation of the American series of the same name, and saw members of the public go up against serious athletes in a number of physical challenges.
Gladiators ran on ITV for eight years before it ended in 2000. There was also a brief revival on Sky between 2008 and 2009.
It is also the owner of one of the best TV theme tunes ever, in our opinion.
Anne Diamond and Nick Owen introduce their new morning show – 12 October
Having previously proven to be a hit pairing when they hosted TV-am’s Good Morning Britain (which also ended in 1992) during the 1980s, the BBC reunited Anne and Nick as they sought to rival ITV’s This Morning, which had proven popular in the mid-morning slot after debuting in 1988.
Broadcast from the BBC’s iconic Pebble Mill studios in Birmingham, Good Morning With Anne & Nick also made a household name of up and coming TV chef Ainsley Harriott, who fronted the cookery segments.
Comedy gets a lot more Fabulous, sweetie – 12 November
It’s almost unthinkable to imagine a time before Eddy and Patsy were part of British TV iconography, but this year marks 30 years since Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley’s comedy creations made their sitcom debut in Ab Fab.
The show came to fruition after the sketch Modern Mother & Daughter in French & Saunders two years prior, which saw Dawn French taking on the role of what would become Saffy, played in the sitcom by Juila Sawalha.
Eddy and Patsy gave us three glorious, bolly-drenched series of ridiculousness before Jennifer pulled the plug on the show, only to revive Ab Fab five years later in 2001, airing a subsequent two seasons and two Christmas specials.
Eddy and Patsy were last seen in their 2016 big-screen outing, Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. While Jennifer has previously claimed it served as the swansong for the pair, we’re not-so-secretly hoping she’s got a surprise planned for the 30th anniversary…
Trevor McDonald takes the helm of News At Ten – 9 November
As ITN sought to revamp News At Ten, it ditched the dual-presentation in place of a single newscaster, with Trevor McDonald promoted to become the show’s main anchor.
Having first joined ITN as a reporter in 1973 and make history as the UK’s first Black male newscaster, Trevor’s new role cemented his place as one of the most well-known and beloved news broadcasters in Britain, and he was knighted in 1999 for his services to journalism.
A Touch Of Frost begins – 6 December
David Jason took the lead as DI Jack Frost in a new detective series based on the novels by R. D. Wingfield, which would soon go on to become one of the most enduring police dramas of its time.
A total of 15 series aired between 1992 and 2010, with up to 18 million viewers tuning in to each episode at the show’s peak.