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The Sound of the Crowd

Sandbrook takes a fresh look at a dynamic decade. 1980s Britain changed in everything from politics and sport to fashion and popular culture.

In the opening years of the 1980s, the powerful new forces of choice and consumerism were radically reshaping British life. The first episode looks at how the early 80s saw the powerful new forces of choice and consumerism radically reshape British life, tearing down existing ways of doing things and ripping up the rule book of British politics. This new culture of consumer-driven populism propelled Margaret Thatcher to victory. For the first time, 'who we were' became a question less about the fixed identities of region and class, and much more about the choices we made, from where we shopped to how we cooked, to what we wore. Thatcher may have embodied this change - but she didn't drive it.

This episode takes in everything from the popularity of Delia Smith to affordable fashions on the high street, from the subcultures of Britain's youth to the crisis of identity that rocked and splintered the political left. But it also shows how the mood of aspiration that swept the nation left certain sections of society adrift and alienated, from the hollowed out industrial heartlands of the Midlands to the inner city communities of south London and Liverpool.

Release date:

59 minutes


Thursday 00:25


Role Contributor
PresenterDominic Sandbrook
WriterDominic Sandbrook
Executive ProducerChris Granlund
DirectorAlexander Leith
Series ProducerAlexander Leith

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