Breakfast Time was the first BBC breakfast programme, with Ron Neil as producer. It was conceived in response to the plans of the commercial television company TV-am to introduce a breakfast television show. Breakfast Time's first broadcast was on 17 January 1983 and was presented by Frank Bough, Selina Scott, Nick Ross and Russell Grant. The atmosphere of the set was intended to encourage a relaxed informality; a set that mimicked a living-room rather than a studio, with red leather sofas, and Bough and Ross wearing jumpers and open-necked shirts. This allowed for an unconventional mix of authoritative and highbrow news and informative and entertainment features that made the show dominate the new genre and trounce the anticipated threat by the star-name commercial TV rival. So, a senior government minister might be subjected to intense questioning while sitting on the red sofa, to be then included in the presentation of a food cooking demonstration. Breakfast Time lasted 150 minutes, initially being transmitted between 6.30 am and 9 am—moving to a 6.50 am to 9.20 am slot on 18 February 1985.
A bomb detonated at 2:54 a.m. on 12 October 1984 in the Grand Hotel, Brighton, with the purpose to kill Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet, who were staying at the hotel for the Conservative Party conference meant that Nick Ross presented Breakfast Time on his own, as live coverage came in from Brighton.
Ron Neil departed from the programme and on 10 November 1986 a more conventional news focus was introduced featuring a news desk, presenters in smart dress and a time-reduced programme broadcast that began at 7 am and ended any time between 8.30 am and 8.55 am. Presenters included Kirsty Wark, John Stapleton, Jeremy Paxman and Sally Magnusson.
On 2 October 1989, the programme was renamed Breakfast News, followed a more authoritative tone with a set modelled on the conventional desk style found with main news bulletins, and started at 6.30 am. A considerable portion of the first half-hour was devoted to business news. In January 1993, the business news coverage extended to an hour-long programme in its own right, beginning at 6:00 am. Breakfast News started at 7:00 am.
Next came the merging of the separate programmes of BBC One and BBC News 24 into one single simulcast starting from 2 October 2000.
Since April 2006, the BBC News channel has screened rolling news coverage from 8.30 am while Breakfast continues on BBC One until 9.15 am. In April 2008, BBC News 24 was renamed "BBC News", as part of a £550,000 rebranding of the BBC's news output, complete with a new studio and presentation.
On 2 May 2006, Breakfast moved into studio N6 at Television Centre with other BBC One news programmes that required a larger set design that included walls of Barco video screens. The original screen scenes of cirrus clouds on a blue sky were changed as a result of viewer comments that 'it looked too cold' – their replacement was with orange squares of the same design as those appearing in the programme's new title sequence, which were designed to hide any joins or faults between the screens which had previously been obvious. The screens eventually displayed visuals needed for story content: different backgrounds, graphics and still photographs. More importantly, the set had a generic visual style that could be used for other programmes, such as the national news bulletins, without much additional physical change. The programme celebrated its 20th anniversary on 17 January 2003.
On 28 January 2008, Breakfast returned to the TC7 studios, where Breakfast Time had been based following its move from the BBC Lime Grove Studios. On 2 March 2009, Breakfast relaunched with a new set and studio background. The backdrop resembles that of the BBC News channel as do the new Breakfast titles.
In July 2010, the BBC announced that Breakfast was moving to their new studios in Salford Quays. The BBC announced that with the April 2012 move to Salford, co-presenter Sian Williams and sports presenter Chris Hollins preferred not be included in the move to the North of England. Williams left Breakfast on 15 March 2012, but she continues doing other assignments with the BBC.
On 12 December 2011, the first of several presenter changes was announced. Louise Minchin would, with the studio move to Salford, join the other main presenters of BBC Breakfast: Bill Turnbull, Susanna Reid and Charlie Stayt. Carol Kirkwood, on 26 March 2012, would remain in London presenting weather. Sports presenters Mike Bushell and Sally Nugent and business presenter Steph McGovern would locate to Salford. The first Breakfast edition from Salford occurred on Tuesday 10 April 2012. London-based newspapers have reported extensive criticism of the BBC move, but a decrease in audience has not occurred with the retention of an approximate average of 1.5 million viewers.
The 2012 Summer Olympics prompted BBC Breakfast to temporarily broadcast from an interim studio near the Olympic Park in Stratford. During the games, former presenters Sian Williams and Chris Hollins also returned to lead the morning programme, in addition to Bill Turnbull and BBC Sport presenter Hazel Irvine. The show ended its temporary London return with broadcasting from the BBC News Channel's studio on the morning following the closing ceremonies before rebroadcasting from Salford the next day.
On 19 March 2013, BBC Breakfast updated its "lower thirds" to match the graphics and fonts used by the rest of BBC News since the previous day. The clock was consequently moved to the lower right side of the screen.
On 23 July 2014, the show went on location again, this time to Glasgow to showcase highlights from the 2014 Commonwealth Games. In the hours leading up to the opening ceremony, Carol Kirkwood reported from Celtic Park.
For the 2016 Summer Olympics the program was again renamed Olympic Breakfast and would be anchored from Salford and Rio.
Between 06:00 and 08:30 on weekdays, the programme is simulcast on BBC News. During the simulcast, the sports news is at 06:10, 06:35, 07:35 and 08:35. In addition, live sports bulletins are broadcast from sporting locations, such as Royal Ascot and Wimbledon, with the presenter interviewing key sporting figures. Business updates are presented at 06:10, when the main business stories from the newspapers are also discussed, and at 06:50, 07:20 and 07:50, either from the studio, or out on location. The United Kingdom weather forecast is at 15 minutes and 45 minutes past the hour throughout the programme, either from the BBC Weather Centre in Broadcasting House, or out on location. Short (approximately four minutes) regional news, travel and weather bulletins are just before the hour and the half-hour throughout the programme. Once the BBC News Channel breaks away for its own programming at 08:30, a brief check of the headlines, and sports are done then the show gradually shifts to reporting lifestyle and entertainment-oriented stories. The show occasionally ends with a musical performance from one of the guests.
The show is abbreviated during bank holidays to just three hours but still features regional news updates, and is completely simulcast on the BBC News Channel.
During weekends, there are no updates from regional news bureaus. The first and/or second hour of the weekend edition may occasionally feature abbreviated versions of the BBC's other programmes such as Click, Reporters (shown in full at 6:30 on Sunday's) and the Film Review. The show is also simulcast on BBC One and the BBC News Channel but BBC One occasionally breaks away at 07:30 (or after, depending on an important event) on Sundays to show the previous night's edition of Match of the Day.
Breakfast encourages viewer response and interaction via e-mail, Facebook and Twitter. Video reports and interviews from the programme are made available on the Breakfast Facebook page after transmission.
BBC Breakfast's current main presenters are Louise Minchin, Dan Walker, Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty.Rob Bonnet – sports presenter, 2000–2005
Chris Hollins – sports presenter, 2005–2012; Occasional relief as main presenter
Sue Thearle – sports presenter, 2000–2008
Declan Curry – business presenter, 2000–2008
Max Foster – Business presenter and newsreader, 2001–2005
Aaron Heslehurst – Business presenter, 2008–2010
Simon Jack – Business presenter, 2008–2011
Maryam Moshiri – Business relief presenter, 2008–2010
Steph McGovern – Business presenter, 2011–2016/2017, TBC
Isobel Lang – weather presenter, 2000–2006
Louise Lear – weather presenter, 1998–2007
Helen Willetts – weather presenter, 2000–2008
Kate Gerbeau – Regular newsreader, 2000–2004
Gillian Joseph – Regular newsreader, 2004–2005
Louisa Preston – Relief newsreader, 2004–2006
Moira Stuart – Regular newsreader, 2000–2006
Suzanne Virdee – Relief newsreader, 2004–2006
Presenters make on location broadcasts based on the significance of the story:12 September 2001. Jeremy Bowen presented live near Ground Zero in New York City following the days of the aftermath of the tragic events.
November 2004. Dermot Murnaghan presented from Washington DC for the 2004 US Election.
7 July 2005. Bill Turnbull presented live from King's Cross in the aftermath of the 7 July 2005 London bombings.
2005. Sian Williams reported live from the scene of the Indian earthquake.
June 2006. Dermot Murnaghan presented from the election campaign from Bristol.
November 2008. Bill Turnbull reported live from Washington DC for the US Presidential Elections.
On 3 June 2010, Turnbull presented live from the town of Whitehaven, following the Cumbria shootings the previous day.
September 2009, Kate Silverton presented from Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan.
September 2009. Bill Turnbull presented live from Brighton for the Liberal Democrats Conference.
September 2009. Sian Williams presented from the Labour and Conservative Party Conferences.
March 2010. Susanna Reid presented from the Academy Awards Ceremony.
6 April 2010. Sian Williams presented from Westminster in the run up to the announcement of the 2010 General Election.
April/May 2010. Bill Turnbull presented and reported from various locations on party campaign trail throughout the country.
30 April 2010, Charlie Stayt presented the programme from the University of Birmingham following the final leaders debate of the election campaign.
12 May 2010. Sian Williams presented the programme from College Green, Westminster the day after David Cameron became Prime Minister.
12 May 2010. Bill Turnbull presented from outside 10 Downing Street.
27 July 2010. Bill Turnbull presented on the progress of the Olympic Park in Stratford, East London starting two years before the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Chris Hollins presented the sports news from the same location.
September 2010. Bill Turnbull presented from their party conference in Liverpool and the Labour Conference in Manchester.
October 2010. Sian Williams presented from the Tory Conference in Birmingham.
October 2010. Sian Williams presented from College Green, Westminster in anticipation of the unveiling of Chancellor George Osborne spending review.
October 2010. Sian Williams presented the unveiling of Chancellor George Osborne spending review.
On 29 Apr 2011, a special split edition of the programme with Sian presenting from Westminster Abbey and Bill live from Buckingham Palace for the build-up of the Royal Wedding.
26 July 2012. Charlie Stayt and Louise Minchin presented the show live from the BBC News Studio in Olympic Park in London for the Olympic Games. Weather and sports news were also originated from the same location.
17 Apr 2013. Charlie Stayt presented the show from St Paul's Cathedral, London for a special split edition in the build-up of the funeral of Baroness Lady Thatcher.
27 & 28 June 2014. Bill Turnbull presented from Camp Bastion to celebrate Armed Forces Day.
4 August 2014. Charlie Stayt presented from Glasgow Cathedral in the lead up to ceremonies marking 100 years since World War 1 broke out.
13 March 2015. Bill Turnbull presented from St Paul's Cathedral, London in the lead up to a special service of remembrance to mark the end of operations in Afghanistan.
12 June 2016. Louise Minchin presented from outside Buckingham Palace in the lead up to the finale of the Queen's 90th Birthday celebrations.
25 June 2016. Naga Munchetty presented from outside the Palace of Westminster covering the aftermath of the United Kingdom's European Union membership referendum results.
August 2016. For the 2016 Summer Olympics, Breakfast was broadcast from the BBC Sport studio, from the 6 - 22 August.
December 2016. Steph McGovern presents from Durham Constabulary as part of a Policing Britain series [19 - 23 December] looking at the reality of modern-day policing.
In September 2006, Breakfast launched its own video podcast called the Breakfast Takeaway. BBC News had already launched three other services: Newsnight, the Ten O'Clock News and STORYFix (also previously shown on television at weekends on News 24). The Breakfast Takeaway was available Monday to Friday in MP4 format where it could be downloaded to and viewed from a home or office computer.
The video podcasts were a one-year trial, and from July 2007 they were discontinued. The BBC then reviewed the trial but the podcast has not been continued.
In 2003, the Breakfast production team was commissioned by BBC One to make a week long series called The Day Team From Chatsworth presented by Nicki Chapman, and presenter of the BBC's Countryfile programme, John Craven. It took a behind the scenes look at the stately home Chatsworth House and was broadcast separately on BBC One at 1030 in the morning.
A number of other guests, or celebrity presenters have been used on Breakfast to present themed days or weeks, even though some have never been mainstream news reporters or presenters. Many of these have seen the programme extended to 0930:Alistair Appleton - Tate Modern 2004, Bath, Somerset 2003
Chris Beardshaw - Chelsea Flower Show 2006
Jennie Bond - Buckingham Palace 2004
Nicki Chapman - Children in Need November 2005, London Fashion Week 2004, Chelsea Flower Show 2006
Philippa Forrester - Alder Hey Children's Hospital 2002
Andi Peters - Neighbours set 2005, EastEnders/Albert Square outside broadcast 2006
Gaby Roslin - Wimbledon Tennis Championships outside broadcast 2002
Tim Wonnacott - Christie's Auction Room 2004
In March 2006, Breakfast won the TRIC award for best daytime television programme for the third year in a row
The show was nominated for a National Television Award in the Topical Magazine Programme category in 2011 but lost out to ITV's This Morning