Were the 70s the best decade?
Posted by Gerry Kiernan
Online content editor
April 16th 2012 at 16:27
It’s the decade on everyone’s lips today – the 70s – home of flares and free-flowing hair.
In a new four part series starting tonight on BBC2, historian and presenter Dominic Sandbrook (himself only born in 1974) argues that the 70s marked the first decade of real social change in Britain, contrary to popular opinion of bleak blackouts and grim strikes.
Ordinary people, he says, discovered the means to experience Blue Nun, Mateus Rosé and holidays in Spain. Many who grew up in houses in the 50s and 60s with shared bathrooms or no bathrooms at all were able to buy their own brand new home. These were “the Wimpey years” as Sandbrook refers to them.
The years 1970 – 1972 are covered in this first episode highlighting the big political issues of the time such as the 1972 miners’ strike. But it’s the wealth of TV documentary footage which really makes this series worth watching.
Marvel at the floral fashions, the glam rock birth of Ziggy Stardust and people’s opinions on everyday items we now take for granted, such as wine.
“For people who could still remember the general strike, the blitz and the battle of Britain; for people whose memories were full of tin baths, short hair and the stiff upper lip, the likes of Marc Bolan came as a terrible shock,” declares Sandbrook. And all this original footage really brings that home.
A focus on Peterborough permeates the first programme tonight. One imagines it’s because the producers must have stumbled across a long-forgotten documentary on the booming new city (one of many) of that time.
In the following three episodes on Mondays at 9pm, BBC2, Sandbrook aims to convince viewers that the 70s were truly transformative years.
How does your experience of the 70s compare with other decades? Let us know below
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