The 70s

Ep 4/4

Monday 7 May



Historian Dominic Sandbrook examines the final years of the decade and how the late 70s reached deep into the future with debates about British life that still rage today.

Dominic considers the impact of the late 60's hippy philosophy on the entrepreneurs of the 70s, in particular Richard Branson. Branson, argues Dominic, turned the free spirit of the 60s into a business success, with the realisation that the future wasn't about heavy industry and nationalisation but about private enterprise and selling pleasure.

The floundering 60s ideal included the post-war concrete housing estates, which by the late 70s were associated with violence, vandalism and misery. Dominic looks at how the dream of better living had soured, shaping familiar debates about youth crime and problem families.

The post war dream of comprehensive education was also under attack with focus on a new TV show. The launch of BBC's Grange Hill in 1978 became a cause of consternation among educational traditionalists, with its frank depiction of disruptive pupils. The worries over Grange Hill were signals of a deeper debate about educational standards that still bubble on today.