The show was revolutionary for the time. It mixed hard news with accessible features, creating a cosy feel, with sofas and bright colours — a stark contrast to the Open University programming that had previously aired during that timeslot. Frank Bough, Selina Scott and Nick Ross anchored the show, with regulars such as Russell Grant (astrology) and Diana Moran, also known as the "Green Goddess" due to the colour of her leotard (fitness).
Breakfast Time was an unexpected success. A rival commercial breakfast show, TV-am, was headed by a star line-up and almost everyone assumed it would trounce the BBC, but Breakfast Time got on the air first and the format and presenters proved supremely popular.
One of Breakfast Time's most notable episodes was on the morning of the Brighton bombing when Nick Ross in the studio presented continuous live coverage of the IRA's attack at the Conservative Party conference in Sussex, including live pictures of the rescue of senior politicians such as Norman Tebbit.
In time TV-am simply copied the BBC's approach, and Breakfast Time became less sure-footed, losing some of its friendly accessibility as it strained to be more serious in tone. It adopted a news format in 10 November 1986, and in 4 September 1989 the show became Breakfast News.