1983 in history

1983 in history

Here are some light-hearted facts about 1983, designed to serve as a prep sheet for a radio feature on 1983.

I created this page because when I needed some notes to create a few talking points about 1983 in Ireland I couldn't find any suitable sources, so I thought I'd share what I did find. It applies to 1983 in Britain too.

You can also look at years other than 1983:

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  • Return of the Jedi, Sudden Impact, Educating Rita, Trading Places and Scarface (starring Al Pacino) were big movies in this year - good for audio

  • The series finale of M*A*S*H aired. 121 million people watched it. In New York, the sewers experienced a surge as an estimated one million citizens held it in until the ending - good for audio (not that bit!)

  • The computer mouse was invented.

  • Two people used Motorola DynaTACs to make the first ever commercial mobile call. One was sat in his Mercedes and the other in his Chrysler. They then phoned the grandson of Alexander Graham Bell. It was inspired by the efforts to fit phones to cars in the 1970s and cost almost $4,000 dollars. A full charge took roughly 10 hours, and it offered 30 minutes of talk time.

  • AOL, "America Online", was created. They would go on to become an influential internet service provider. It first specialised in online gaming.

  • The Cabbage Patch Kids craze was at its peak.

  • What became Microsoft Word was released for the first time, under the name Multi-Tool Word

  • The first Now That's What I Call Music (Now 1) was released on vinyl and audio cassette. The first track was You Can't Hurry Love.

  • The first ever 3D printer was made.

  • Michael Jackson's hair was accidentally set on fire during the shooting of a Pepsi commercial. He chose not to sue but instead asked Pepsi to fund the creation of a burn centre.

    Amazingly, he was exactly half way through his life on the day his hair caught fire.

  • Richard Noble, driving the British turbojet-powered car Thrust2, took the land speed record to 634 mph.

  • Michael Jackson introduced the moonwalk while performing Billie Jean at a 25 Years Of Motown special.

  • A general election was held in the UK. Margaret Thatcher's Conservatives beat Michael Foot's Labour by a landslide.

  • The lowest temperature on Earth is recorded in Antarctica with −89.2 oC – still the record today.

  • Kiss officially appears in public without makeup for the first time on MTV.

  • The Datsun Micra was released, and it was the last car in Europe to have the Datsun name (afterwards they were all Nissan).

  • BBC One's Breakfast Time became the UK's first breakfast TV programme when it launched in January. TV-am (with Roland Rat) began in February.

  • Blackadder first aired on BBC One and Blockbusters aired on ITV - good for audio

  • The A-Team, He-Man, The Wind In The Willows and Fraggle Rock were all also shown for the first time.

  • The Austin Metro [launched in 1980] became the UK's best-selling car.

  • Cars in the UK began to have number plates beginning with an A, a decision which is credited with an increase in new car sales.

  • Wheel clamping began in London.

  • The one pound coin was introduced in England and Wales.

1983 in Ireland

  • The champion racehorse 'Shergar' was kidnapped from Ballymany Stud Farm, Co. Kildare. Despite a nationwide search, Shergar was never found.

  • The Central Bank of Ireland designed a new £100 note featuring Grace O'Malley – but then didn’t issue it because they said there was no need for a £100 note.

  • RTÉ screens the first episode of a new series "Glenroe". Starring Mick Lally and Joe Lynch as Dinny and Miley Byrne, it takes up where "Bracken" left off.

  • The Concorde supersonic airliner paid its first visit to Dublin Airport. The landing of the Air France plane was watched by a large crowd of people.

  • A Mexican jet made an emergency landing at Mallow Racecourse and was left there for five weeks. It was later turned into a film called Runway.

  • The Phoenix was launched.

  • The M7 Naas Bypass became Ireland’s first motorway – it was rebuilt in 2019.

While these facts about 1983 have been checked against third-party sources (and have been used on air before!), they are provided in good faith to inspire your research and no guarantee is made about their accuracy or their uniqueness.

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Tedious about the author bit

Radio producer and travel historian. I write about travel patterns, urban development, heavy machinery and lists.

I love the places people pass through along their journey, and societies that have been shaped by our need to get around.

Producer experienced with entertainment and talk shows with an attitude described as "amusingly surly".

Legally bland

Any similarities with real-life events or wealthy international firms is probably coincidental. No products endorsed. I'm powered by Monster Munch.

© 2021 Johnathan Randall.