UK General Election 1979

The United Kingdom general election of 1979 was held on 3 May 1979 to elect 635 members to the British House of Commons. The election was the first of four consecutive election victories for the Conservative Party, and Margaret Thatcher defeated incumbent Labour Prime Minister Jim Callaghan, to become the United Kingdom’s – and Europe’s – first female head of government.

The Election Night programme, carried by the BBC, began first at 2155 with an introduction to the night ahead and elections past, returning at 2255 until 0400 to watch results come in, including analysis and discussion with reporters and politicians.

A breakfast special also marked the start of another nine hours of coverage the following morning, from 0700.

News Bulletin

Pre-Election Programme
Richard Baker with the main evening news, including a preview of the election programme ahead


Main Titles
Played at the start of the 2255 programme and again next next morning

Studio and Presenters

Presenting Team


Scotland Studio

Swingometer / Analysis


Results Slides

Northern Ireland

Results Keyed Over Count Locations

Results Straps / General


Countdown to Majority



Breakfast Special

Studio Shots and Weather
Sue Lawley assisted David Dimbleby for this two-hour long section

Local News Opt
South East – with John Stapleton

Programme End

Closing Credits
Including Thatcher’s Downing Street Arrival