Royal Mail’s 2013 stamp programme comprises 12 main commemorative stamp issues, at least five of them marking significant anniversaries.

These include sets celebrating the 150th anniversary of the London Underground, the 125th anniversary of the Football League and the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice.

A Classic TV issue is expected to feature Doctor Who, on its 50th anniversary, after plans were leaked on a fans’ website earlier this year. And a Royal Portraits issue, marking the 60th anniversary of the Coronation, is said to include a special portrait of the Queen commissioned by Royal Mail.

We understand the Great Britons issue will honour Benjamin Britten, David Lloyd George, Vivien Leigh and Peter Cushing, amongst others, and sets will also be dedicated to the Merchant Navy and British Butterflies.

The number of stamps in each issue has not been announced, but we hear that the football issue is slated to include 11 stamps, matching the number of players in a team.

The 1st class Machin definitive will turn from gold to flame red on January 3, and other values will also change colour at that point.

Post & Go pictorial stamps will adopt the theme of Freshwater Life, featuring Ponds on February 22, Lakes on June 25 and Rivers on September 20.

A commemorative sheet is planned celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of sculptor and stamp designer Bertram Mackennal, and Smilers sheets will celebrate the Year of the Snake, and the international exhibitions in Australia and Thailand.

2013 PROGRAMME

Jan 9 London Underground
Feb 21 Jane Austen
Mar 26 Classic TV
Apr 16  Great Britons
May 9  Football
May 30  Royal Portraits
Jun 18  Classic Locomotives of Northern Ireland
Jul 11  Butterflies
Aug 13  British Auto Legends
Sep 19  Merchant Navy
Oct 10  Dinosaurs
Nov 5  Christmas