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DVD Review

DVD cover

A Year to Remember
The 1980s


Strike Force Entertainment / Cherry Red Records
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: E
Available 25 October 2010

Using rare news footage and interviews from the BBC, British Pathé and other news services, this extraordinary series provides a unique year by year look at what was making the news in that most colourful of decades - The 1980s. With a whole hour long show on each year, the result is an amazing insight into the decade of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Regan, Yuppies, big hair, New Romantics, Perestroika and designer everything.

The decade was a time of huge contrasts for the United Kingdom. The unabated rise of capitalist culture in the ideal of a share and property-owning democracy was in stark contrast to the privations of the year-long miner’s strike and record unemployment - contributing factors to the ever widening North-South divide. Against the backdrop of the ongoing cold war, British troops were at war with Argentina over the Falklands Islands and, closer to home, civil unrest in Northern Ireland continued to claim lives. Riots in Brixton and Toxteth brought anarchy to British city centres. The whole world was shocked by the Chernobyl disaster, the Challenger explosion and people across the globe mourned the murder of John Lennon. This collection also covers such memorable events as the great storm of 1987, the Royal Wedding, the first London Marathon, the introduction of the pound coin and a streaker at Twickenham.

This DVD this collection is split into 10 programmes, each an hour long and focusing on one year in the '80s. Over the course of this three disc collection there are a number of items that we revisit year after year to discover the latest developments. These include various Royal Family weddings and engagement; extreme weather; and the ongoing IRA terrorist attacks.

Highlights in this collection include:

1980: Robin Cousins wins a gold medal at the Winter Olympics; the world is gripped with one major question: "Who shot J.R."in Dallas?; SAS are involved in the Iranian Embassy Siege; Billy Butlin dies at the age of 80; Peter Sellers dies aged 54; Hattie Jacques dies; Mae West dies; John Lennon is killed; Ronald Regan is elected President of America; and the Queen Mother celebrates her 80th birthday.

1981: Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer are married; Peter Sutcliffe (the Yorkshire Ripper) is arrested; a gun man attempts to assassinate Ronald Regan; Brixton riots; and the Space Shuttle Columbia makes its maiden flight.

1982: DeLorean cars goes bust; the Falklands War starts; the first £1 is produced (but won't be in full circulation until 1983); the Pope visits the UK - the first time a pope has visited these shores in 400; Prince William is born; IRA bombs in Hyde Park and Regents Park; the Kray twins are allowed out of prison for their mother's funeral; Grace Kelly (Princess consort of Monaco) was killed in a car accident; and pubs are allowed to open on a Sunday.

1983: Race horse Shergar is stolen; serial killer Dennis Nilsen is charged; America announces that it is working on the Star Wars nuclear defence system; Margaret Thatcher is reelected; Maze Prison breakout; Neil Kinnock is elected Labour leader.

1984: Torvil and Dean win gold at the Winter Olympics; Pit Strikes get underway; WPC Yvonne Fletcher is shot outside the Libyan embassy; Eric Morecambe dies; Virgin Atlantic airways launched; York Minster fire; Daley Thompson and Tessa Sanderson win gold medals at the Summer Olympics; Richard Burton dies; Princess Harry born; IRA bomb the Conservative party conference in Brighton; Indira Gandhi killed; The famine in Ethiopia is brought to the attention of the world; Band Aid records 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' charity single; and £1 note is taken out of circulation.

1985: Hansworth, Toxteth and Tottenham riots; PC Keith Blakelock is killed in the Tottenham riots; and the top 10 toys for Christmas.

1986: Space Shuttle Challenger disaster; agreement is reached to build the Channel Tunnel between the UK and France; Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson are married; the Greater London Council is axed; James Cagney dies aged 86; Wallace Simpson dies; in the Mexico Football World Cup, Diego Maradona scores his famous "hand of God" goal; Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident; Unleaded petrol is available to buy in the UK for the first time; Sculptor Henry Moore dies; Pat Phoenix (Coronation Street's Elsie Tanner) dies of lung cancer; It is announced that BA and British Gas are to be privatised; Child Line is set up; Spy Catcher is published; Harold Macmillan dies aged 92.

1987: Terry Waite kidnapped; WW2's Ivan the Terrible goes on trial; Jerry Hall in court for accidentally smuggling marijuana into the UK; Liberace dies aged 67 of Aids (although a cover story is given that he died of a brain tumour); Danny Kaye dies; Hungerford massacre; Rudolf Hess, commandant of Auschwitz concentration camp, commits suicide aged 93; Kings Cross fire disaster; and the IRA bomb in Enniskillen on Remembrance Day.

1988: Australian bicentennial celebrations - 200 years since the first European settlers landed; Comic Relief starts; Piper Alpha oil rig fire; Beano comic celebrates 50 years since its first issue; Princess Beatrice is born; the UK's new look passport is unveiled; Prince Charles is 40; and the Lockerbie plane bombing.

1989: George Bush Snr is elected as America's president; Hirohito - Emperor Shōwa dies; Exxon Valdez oil disaster; Hillsborough football stadium disaster; Tiananmen Square protests; Ayatollah Khomeini dies; 200th anniversary of the French revolution; Laurence Olivier dies; Marchioness disaster on the Thames; and the Berlin Wall opened, it later falls and the Brandenburg Gate opens.

For those who can remember the '80s this is an interesting look back at the decade and certainly worth adding to your collection.


Darren Rea

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