Key Figures Edit

  • Queen Elizabeth II, monarch who celebrated Silver Jubilee in 1977.
  • James Callaghan, Labour Prime Minister until May 4th (since 1976).
  • Margaret Thatcher, Conservative Prime Minister from May 4th.
  • Robert Runcie, Archbishop of Canterbury. Appointed in March.

Key Events in Britain, 1980 Edit


On the 2nd January, workers at British Steel go on a nationwide strike over pay.


The BBC shows the very first episode of "Yes Minister" in this month. It becomes a national favourite.


Radio Caroline, the pirate radio station, is forced to cease transmission when the ship on which it was based sinks. The British Olympic Association vote to defy the government, and decide to send athletes to the Olympic Games to be held in Moscow, USSR in the summer of 1980. Robert Runcie appointed as Archbishop of Canterbury. The Alexander Kielland North Sea accommodation platform for oil workers collapses into the sea, killing 123 oil workers.

April and May

The UK reaches agreement with Spain to re-open the Spain-Gibraltar border. On the 18th, Zimbabwe becomes independent of the United Kingdom. On the 30th, the Iranian Embassy Siege begins. A six-man terrorist team calling itself the "Democratic Revolutionary Movement for the Liberation of Arabistan" (DRMLA) captures the Embassy of Iran in Prince's Gate, Knightsbridge, central London, taking 26 hostages. The SAS storm the Iranian Embassy building on the 5th May and kill 5 out of the 6 terrorists and free all the hostages.

June, July and August

British Leyland launches its Morris Ital range of family saloons and estates, which are a reworking of the nine-year-old Marina that was one of Britain's most popular cars during the 1970s. On the 17th June, Secretary of State for Defence, Francis Pym reveals to the House of Commons that US nuclear cruise missiles would be located at RAF Greenham Common, Berkshire, and the disused RAF Molesworth in Cambridgeshire. Two days later, gunmen attack the British embassy in Iraq, three unknown attackers shot dead by Iraqi security forces. In July, Alexandra Palace in London destroyed by fire.

September and October

On the 11th September, the Marlborough diamond is stolen in London. Hercules the bear who had gone missing on a Scottish island filming a Kleenex advert is found. On the 8th, British Leyland launches the Austin Metro, a small hatchback which uses the much of the Mini's mechanical design but an entirely different body which offers more space and practicality. Production of the 21-year-old Mini, however, is set to continue for the foreseeable future. On the 10th, Margaret Thatcher makes her famous "The lady's not for turning" speech to the Conservative Party conference and on the 17th, Queen Elizabeth II makes history by becoming the first British monarch to make a state visit to the Vatican.

'November and December

On the 10th November, Michael Foot is elected Leader of the Labour Party. John Lennon is shot dead on the 8th December whilst visiting New York. TV-AM is awarded the first ever Breakfast TV contract by the IBA and is promised to begin broadcasting in 1983.

Deaths Edit

Sir Cecil Beaton, favourite photographer of the Queen Mother dies. The world of showbusiness loses Peter Sellers and John Laurie. The movie world loses Sir Alfred Hitchcock and Brits are shocked by the sudden deaths of Carry On star Hattie Jacques and "George and Mildred" star, Yootha Joyce who, it is revealed, was drinking a bottle of gin daily for 10 years. Oswald Mosley, Leader of the British Union of Fascists dies in Paris and leaves his widow Diana to mourn him for the rest of her life.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.