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Dominic Sandbrook looks at a dynamic decade. By the mid-80s, Britain felt like an embattled nation, struggling to establish its identity on the global stage.

The second episode sees mid-1980s Britain wrestling with two contradictory impulses - the rise of a strong nationalist sentiment and the emergence of an increasingly globalised world.

By the middle of the decade, Britain felt like an embattled nation, facing threats from enemies within as well as out - a nation struggling to establish an identity on the global stage, and also trying to re-establish what it means to be British. This was the period that forever marked the 80s as a decade of conflict and division. But not all those conflicts were obvious. Some were fought with bullets, others with money, some were fought in our homes, others in our heads.

This episode examines everything from the invasion of the Falkland Islands to the invasion of the home computer and the moral panic surrounding 'video nasties', from the Americanisation of our popular culture to the picket line skirmishes playing out nightly on our televisions, and from the spectre of Aids and the threat of the IRA to immigration and identity politics.

58 minutes

Clips

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:01

    The Cars

    Shake It Up

  • 00:03

    Spandau Ballet

    Chant No. 1 (I Don't Need This Pressure On)

  • 00:08

    Adam and the Ants

    Stand And Deliver

  • 00:17

    New Order

    Blue Monday

  • 00:25

    Alphaville

    Big In Japan

  • 00:28

    Giorgio Moroder & Philip Oakey

    Together In Electric Dreams

  • 00:30

    Berlin

    Take My Breath Away (Love Theme From "Top Gun")

  • 00:37

    Bronski Beat

    Smalltown Boy

  • 00:43

    Erasure

    A Little Respect

  • 00:44

    Tears for Fears

    Mad World

  • 00:59

    Thompson Twins

    Hold Me Now

  • 00:46

    Talk Talk

    Talk Talk - Extended Mix

  • 00:48

    Alphaville

    Forever Young

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Dominic Sandbrook
Writer Dominic Sandbrook
Executive Producer Chris Granlund
Series Producer Alexander Leith
Producer Jacqui Farnham
Director Jacqui Farnham

Broadcasts

Remembering the 80s - get the playlist

Remembering the 80s - get the playlist

Selected tracks from all the episodes

Try our 80s Quiz

Try our 80s Quiz

Test your knowledge in our new Quiz

War, wealth and Walkmans - how the 1980s gave birth to modern Britain

War, wealth and Walkmans - how the 1980s gave birth to modern Britain

Discover how the 1980s changed us.

Why did Snooker get its Big Break in the 80s?

Why did Snooker get its Big Break in the 80s?

Find out about the big stars from the world of snooker.

Margaret Thatcher timeline

Margaret Thatcher timeline

A timeline of Britain's first female prime minister