28 December – The IBA announces that TV-am has been awarded the contract to provide ITV with a breakfast television service. It beat off seven other bids for the franchise, to begin transmission in June 1983 so as to avoid clashing with the launch of Channel 4 which went on air in November 1982.
1 February – TV-am launches on ITV, with Good Morning Britain. It is beaten to air by two weeks by the BBC's breakfast service Breakfast Time. The service operates seven days a week between 6am to 9:15am.
18 March – Amid falling ratings and mounting pressure from investors, Peter Jay steps aside as TV-am's Chief Executive allowing Jonathan Aitken to take on the role.
1 April – Roland Rat makes his first appearance on TV-am. Created by David Claridge and launched by TV-am Children's editor Anne Wood to entertain younger viewers during the Easter holidays. Roland is generally regarded as TV-am's saviour, being described as "the only rat to join a sinking ship".
12 April – Timothy Aitken succeeds his cousin Jonathan as Chief Executive of TV-am due to the IBA rules regarding MPs operating a television station.
May – The 10-minute interval between the end of TV-am and the start of the regional ITV franchises at 9:25am ends because the switch of the broadcast signals from TV-am to each regional ITV franchise becomes an automatic process and the IBA extended TV-am's hours to 9:25am to allow for continuous programming.
23 May – TV-am's new look starts.Daybreak is axed, with Good Morning Britain now the sole weekday programme, beginning at 6:25am. Commander David Philpott is moved to present the weather at the weekends only with Wincey Willis becoming the new weekday weather presenter.
August – TV-am has a ratings success when they employ Chris Tarrant to host a series of outside broadcasts from seaside resorts across the UK.
Australian business tycoon Kerry Packer takes a substantial minority interest in the company and in early May he appoints his own Chief Executive, Bruce Gyngell, to help make the company financially viable. Greg Dyke leaves with a few weeks of the appointment to take a new position with TVS. Ten days later, general manager Michael Moor also left the station.
12 October – The cost-cutting at TV-am is brought sharply into focus in its coverage of the Brighton hotel bombing. The night before the terrorist attack, TV-am sent the production team home as it could not afford to pay for hotel rooms. When the blast occurred in the early hours, the BBC and ITN provided immediate coverage. TV-am's response was limited to a caption of reporter John Stapleton reporting over the phone.Trade union agreements at the time meant that technical staff at the local ITV station TVS could not provide cover for another commercial television company and TV-am's previous conflicts with ITN meant that the latter would not share its footage. The whole affair earned the company a severe rebuke from the IBA who told the company to invest and improve its news coverage or it would lose its licence.
13 October – The first edition of children's programme Wide Awake Club is broadcast. It replaces Data Run and Rub-a-Dub-Tub. Also cancelled is Summertime filler SPLAT. The change is part of the cost-cutting programme.
3 January – TV-am expands its broadcasting hours. Weekday programmes begin ten minutes earlier during the week at 6:15am and weekend programmes begin at 6:55am. Programming on bank holidays starts at 7am.
14 September – Wide Awake Club is extended and now runs for two hours, from 7:30am until 9:25am.
3 October – Roland Rat transfers to the BBC. Commenting on the move, he says, "I saved TV-am and now I'm here to save the BBC."
October – Following Roland Rat's move to the BBC, TV-am launches a new children's programme, a spin-off from Wide Awake Club called Wacaday.
For a short period in 1987, prior to the start of 24-hour broadcasting on ITV, a selection of teletext pages were broadcast in-vision prior to the start of TV-am. These pages mostly consisted of news and information about TV-am.
July – TV-am reintroduces a weekday news programme, GMB Newshour, airing initially from the start of programmes until 7am. Good Morning Britain now airs between 7am and 9am.
7 September – TV-am recommences broadcasting each day from 6am. This is the first time since its launch in 1983 that TV-am has transmitted throughout its allocated broadcast hours.
23 November – The TV-am strike begins after members of the technicians union the ACTT walk out in a dispute over the station's ‘Caring Christmas Campaign’. What is meant to be a 24-hour stoppage continues for several months when staff are locked out by Managing Director Bruce Gyngell. TV-am is unable to broadcast Good Morning Britain, the regular format is replaced with shows such as Flipper, Batman and Happy Days.
7 December – A skeleton service that sees non-technical staff operating cameras and Gyngell himself directing proceedings, begin to allow Good Morning Britain to start broadcasting again. To begin with TV-am is able to switch from airing 100% pre-recorded material with the introduction of a 30-minute live segment each morning presented by Anne Diamond.
14 December – TV-am extends its live broadcasting to an hour a day.
14 January – Talks between TV-am's management and the ACTT begin aimed at resolving the ongoing strike.
TV-am celebrates its fifth birthday, with Anne Diamond joined by Richard Keys, Gyles Brandreth, Su Pollard and Jimmy Greaves. It is the first time TV-am has been able to get its daily output down to an hour of pre-recorded material since the beginning of the strike. However, the station continues to air imports of old US shows for several months.
The deadline on which the ACTT must accept TV-am's "Ten Point Plan" aimed at resolving the strike. However, the plan is rejected by a ballot and the union refuses to resume negotiations.
16 February – TV-am Managing Director Bruce Gyngell sacks the station's locked out staff and calls a meeting of its remaining employees the following morning to announce that the ACTT will never again organise itself at TV-am's studios. His decision fails to resolve the crisis, however, as picketing continues and the quality of its output remains unchanged.
30 May – TV-am does not go on air, with its airtime instead taken up by coverage of ITV's Telethon '88. The ACTT had asked its members to boycott the programme on this date and fearful of sparking a nationwide dispute, TV-am's acting Managing Director, Adrian Moore, allows ITV to use the early morning airtime.
July – Stephen Barden is appointed TV-am's new Managing Editor. With the station facing criticism from the IBA over the quality of its output, he acts quickly to improve matters. Repeats of imported US programmes finally come to an end, while new programming launches and programmes such as Frost on Sunday (off air since the strike began) are restored.
19 August – Following concerns about the quality of TV-am's programming, an emergency meeting of the IBA considers whether to review the station's franchise in early 1989. However, it is ultimately decided not to proceed with the review since the next franchise round is approaching and the IBA feels the success of both organisations is mutually exclusive.
1 November – Having decided to step down from her presenting role on TV-am, Anne Diamond makes her final regular appearance on the station.
GMB Newshour is relaunched as The Morning Programme.
October – TV-am looks to branch out into radio when it bids with Virgin Communications Ltd to operate the UK's second Independent National Radio station.
16 October – The ITC announces the results of the franchise round. Following the Broadcasting Act 1990, the ITC had to conduct a franchise auction whereby contracts would be given to the highest bidder, subject to fulfilling a programming ‘quality threshold.’ TV-am loses the national breakfast television franchise to Sunrise Television, later to be known as GMTV, owing to its not being the highest bidder.
November – Following the loss of its franchise, TV-am scraps all of its original children's programming, replacing it with cartoons aired under the branding Cartoon World.
February – Ahead of the loss of its franchise, TV-am closes its in-house news service and contracts it out to Sky News for a one-off payment. Other original programming, especially children's programming, is wound down ahead of the end of the company's franchise.