Margaret Thatcher coverage prompts schedule changes by major broadcasters

Tribute programmes and obituaries are to replace previously scheduled shows - see the latest updates, including extended synopses, here

Following the news of Margaret Thatcher’s death, the UK’s major broadcasters have announced changes to today’s television schedules, with extended news coverage and retrospectives set to feature across the terrestrial channels.

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On Channel 4 at 8pm Jon Snow will share his personal memories of the former Prime Minister in a 60-minute documentary, Maggie & Me, while half an hour later at 8:30pm Andrew Marr will narrate BBC1’s 90-minute obituary programme Margaret Thatcher: Prime Minister.

At 10:35pm on ITV Alastair Stewart will present Margaret Thatcher: The Woman Who Changed Britain (see the billing below for more details), and on BBC2 an extended Newsnight will run from 10:30pm until five minutes past midnight.

Earlier in the evening, at 6:30pm, Channel 5 will screen Margaret Thatcher: A Tribute.

Read extended programme synopses below.


Margaret Thatcher: The Woman Who Changed Britain – 10:35pm, ITV

Margaret Thatcher arrived in power and Britain changed forever. Her policies polarised the nation and the mention of her name still provokes feelings of both admiration and anger. This hour-long ITV special, presented by Alastair Stewart, looks at Baroness Thatcher’s impact on Britain and the world before and during her time in Number 10 and the decades that followed. Thatcher’s legacy can still be felt in every area of British life and beyond. To her critics, she was the architect of social unrest and high unemployment. To her supporters, she was a revolutionary figure who transformed Britain’s economy, tamed the unions and saved the nation. Using existing interviews and newly gathered insight, this programme presents a portrait of a leader, a picture of Britain and how what she stood for changed the very fabric of a nation.


Margaret Thatcher: Prime Minister – 8:30pm, BBC1

Margaret Thatcher was Britain’s only woman Prime Minister. In her eleven years in office she defeated Argentina in the Falklands War and at home she battled the unions into submission. Under her steely guidance the Conservative government brought in privatisation and deregulated the City. Love her or loathe her, none can deny that Mrs Thatcher changed Britain forever. In this special programme to mark her passing, family, friends and former colleagues – as well as political opponents – recall her life, her extraordinary personality and her tumultuous years in power.


Maggie & Me – 8pm, Channel 4

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Today it was announced that Baroness Thatcher, Britain’s first woman Prime Minister, has died at the age of 87 after a lengthy illness. In this one-hour special Jon Snow provides a personal recollection of Mrs Thatcher: the woman, the leader, the icon, the hate figure; the biggest British political figure of his lifetime. Mrs Thatcher’s rise to leader of the Conservative Party, and then the country, spans the same period as Jon’s own early career as a successful young television reporter and then newsreader. In 1979 Jon was a young reporter working for ITN. And amazingly on 4 May he was actually given the job of reporting Mrs Thatcher’s arrival in Downing Street for the first time: live. What he certainly didn’t know at the time was that he would be following Mrs Thatcher around the world on and off for the next 11 and half years. From the election trail to Europe, from Washington to Casablanca, she dominated his reporting life, and the lives of everyone who lived through her reign. This is not an obituary and it is certainly not a review of Mrs Thatcher’s legacy. It’s more personal than that. It is Jon’s own recollection of intersecting with the most powerful woman most of us had ever known.