1960: The Year of the North

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Timeshift, Series 10 Episode 2 of 9

Duration: 1 hour

This programme sets out to show that the 60s - the most creative decade of the 20th century - began not in swinging London but in smokestack Northern England. It was from there that a new kind of voice was heard: cocky and defiant, working class, affluent, stroppy and sexy.

Novelist Andrew Martin explores how in 1960 the North asserted itself, came out of the closet artistically speaking, abandoned the cloth cap stereotype and in the process liberated itself and Britain as a whole.

The story of how the North went from being economic engine room of the country to cultural powerhouse is told through the work of northern writers such as Alan Sillitoe, Shelagh Delaney, Stan Barstow and Tony Warren. Thanks to their lead in conspicuously kicking over the old traces, by the end of 1960 if you wanted iconoclasm, humour, style and music, you definitely looked to the North.

Music Played

11 items
  • Planet North

    Planet North

    This programme is part of Planet North, BBC Four's season of films celebrating the culture, history, life and architecture of northern England.

    Go to the Planet North site
  • Points North

    Points North

    L-R: John Morgan, Sid Chaplin, Len Doherty, Stan Barstow, Interviewer Brian Redhead, John Braine, Keith Waterhouse and David Storey. This still is from an episode of Points North reflecting the mood of the North among contemporary novelists.


Andrew Martin
Rebecca Whyte
Rebecca Whyte
Series Producer
Ben Southwell
Executive Producer
Michael Poole


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