31 December 2011

Happy New Year!

1980s memories galore here - from screencaps to snippets from magazines and newspapers, with a few other bits and bobs chucked in. Click on the image to enlarge. To all those celebrating, here's to 2012! And for all those feeling like a challenge after the excesses of New Year's Eve, we've pulled out our 1980s quiz. Enjoy.

See you again in 2012. xxx

The BIG 1980s Quiz

Test your knowledge of this fast moving and dramatic decade with our quiz. The answers can all be found within this blog and are also listed at the bottom of this post, together with a fun guide to how you rate as an '80s expert.

1) Who ate cannibals in 1982?

2) An illegal craze of 1980 and 1981 was legalised in November 1981. What was it?

3) Who advertised Everest Double Glazing in the 1980s?

4) Which famous BBC soap opera began in February 1985?

5) An obscure Hungarian toy was renamed and re-manufactured in 1980, and became a huge craze. What was it?

6) Hello! Which computer was released in early 1984?

7) Invented by an Englishman in Switzerland in 1989, this has had a massive effect on computing ever since. What is it?

8) You put them on your head in 1982.

9) An election in 1980 altered the course of the decade. Who and where?

10) Often referred to as a brick, this was unveiled in America in 1983 and hit the UK in 1985. What was it?

11) Beattie's grandson got a what in 1987?

12) Which small creatures from a vegetable abode invaded the UK in 1983?

13) Fill in the blank: "Just one titchy bit of toast, we've gotta put 'em straight - we're the ____."

14) Which popular music genre was born in Chicago in the early 1980s?

15) "Shiny, shiny, bad times behind me..." - who sang that?

16) Which exciting new car hit the road in 1985 and got a big thumbs down?

17) What game did we pursue in 1984?

18) Which pop star had his handbag stolen in 1984?

19) The Queen had a bedside visitor in which year - and who was it?

20) The Scotch video tape skeleton ads debuted in 1983. But in which year did the skeleton sing "re-record, not fade away"?

21) Which alien from the Planet Drill made his earthly debut in 1987?

22) Who was responsible for making "walkies!" a popular catchphrase?

23) Which new TV channel came to our screens in November 1982?

24) What was the call sign of Inspector Jean Darblay of Hartley Police Station?

25) Bob presented a popular TV quiz show featuring teenagers from 1983 onwards. What was his surname, and what was the show?

26) Rik Mayall and Nigel Planer appeared in which alternative comedy, beginning in 1982?

27) Which group of people were going to live forever - they were going to learn how to fly?

28) What were the upwardly mobile set called in the 1980s?

29) Sonny Crockett of Miami Vice had an unusual pet. What was it, and what was it called?

30) In which year did the ZX Spectrum arrive?

31) Short-lived English soap opera of the mid-1980s set on a market.

32) Who made the blokes go "phwoar" at Twickenham in 1982?

33) Which famous arcade game character made his debut in Japan in 1980?

34) What did George Michael choose as a T-shirt slogan?

35) Complete the lyrics: "The first cut won't hurt at all, the second only makes you wonder, the third..."

36) What was Roland Rat's gerbil pal called?

37) The first space shuttle, which had its maiden flight in 1981, was called what?

38) If there was something strange in your neighbourhood, who were you gonna call?

39) Who did Joan Collins play in Dynasty?

40) Jill and Trevor got involved with the Affair, the Tapes and the Connection in which mid-to-late '80s TV trilogy?

41) Ethel, Harry and Dawn lived at which house?

42) Del and Rodney lived in a block of flats called?

43) Which group of American senior citizens ate lots of cheesecake in Miami?

44) A disaster in 1986 caused radiation levels to rise across Europe. What was it?

45) When was the first London Marathon run?

46) In which year did Brighton Nudist Beach open?

47) Which popular diet was published in 1982?

48) When did the Berlin Wall come down?

49) Which alien was stranded on Earth in 1982?

50) The BIG fashion trend of the 1980s.


1) Toto Coelo; 2) CB radio; 3) Ted Moult; 4) EastEnders; 5) The Hungarian Magic Cube was re-manufactured and became Rubik’s Cube. 6) The Apple Macintosh; 7) The World Wide Web; 8) Deelyboppers; 9) Ronald Reagan was elected president of the United States; 10) The hand-held cellular phone; 11) An Ology; 12) Cabbage Patch Dolls; 13) Weetabix; 14) House Music; 15) Haysi Fantayzee; 16) The Sinclair C5; 17) Trivial Pursuit; 18) Marilyn; 19) 1982 - Michael Fagan; 20) 1985; 21) - Gilbert; 22) Barbara Woodhouse; 23) Channel 4; 24) Juliet Bravo; 25) Holness - Blockbusters; 26) The Young Ones; 27) The Kids From Fame; 28) Yuppies; 29) An alligator - Elvis; 30) 1982; 31) Albion Market; 32) Erika Roe; 33) Pac-Man; 34) Choose Life; 35) “…will have you on your knees”; 36) Kevin; 37) Columbia; 38) Ghostbusters; 39) Alexis; 40) Beiderbecke; 41) Number 73; 42) Nelson Mandela House; 43) The Golden Girls; 44) Chernobyl; 45) 1981; 46) 1980; 47) The F-Plan; 48) 1989; 49) ET; 50) Shoulder Pads

How You Rate:

0-10: Were you not born? A tiny wee kiddie? Asleep? Living it up too much to observe the details of life?

11-20: Several squares short of a Rubik’s Cube. You don’t get a seat on the board.

21-30: You’ve certainly got the big hair, but not the shoulder pads. In fact your performance is a little on the Cabbage Patch side.

31-40: Well, my pretty good guy or guyess, twang those big red braces and make free with the hair gel. You’re going places!

41-50: You’ve got it all - the Rubik’s Cube, the ZX Spectrum, the docksiders, the deelyboppers, the designer stubble, the braces, the shoulder pads, the shell suit, the leggings, the jelly shoes… In fact, you’re absolutely tubular!

27 December 2011

Rare Emmerdale Farm '80s Radio Shows Unearthed!

Jack Sugden (Clive Hornby) reflects on life at Emmerdale Farm in the 1980s.

I've just been transported back to 1983 to spend some time with the late, much-loved Emmerdale Farm/Emmerdale actor Clive Hornby. Clive played the legendary Jack Sugden, making his debut on 19 February 1980, and was in the show until shortly before his death in 2008.

During that time, the show was transformed, rocketing out of the (by comparison) sleepy 1980s and into the 1990s and early 21st Century, keeping pace with the other English soaps via a thoroughly modern flavour, geared to the evolving tastes of soap fans across the country.

Through all the drama and comedy, there was Clive Hornby as Jack Sugden, providing a lovely thread of continuity back to the old days - as Elizabeth Estensen said in tribute to the character "Always the farmer".

It was an idea of Carl Gresham AKA "The Gresh", a DJ on Pennine Radio in 1983, to make use of his contacts with the stars of Emmerdale Farm and invite six of them into the studio over a period of about two months - to each present an hour of their favourite music. The Gresh put on his producer's hat for the shows, it being his plan not to interview the stars but simply to let them talk, choose their favourite tunes, and then play the music. Judging by the Clive Hornby hour I have just listened to, it made for marvellous radio.

But it's a long way back to 1983, times and technology have changed dramatically, and The Gresh, faced with the old Ampex ten inch tapes he had kept of the shows (he's a self confessed hoarder!) faced some discouragement from those that thought the tapes would be useless now - they would have degenerated, gone "crumply".

The Gresh persevered, and passed the tapes to his archive producer, Dave Perrett, and, after much work, the interviews were transferred to CD and sound as though they were recorded yesterday!

The Clive Hornby show was originally broadcast on Thursday, 10th November, 1983.

It's a lovely listen, an unexpectedly unearthed piece of Emmerdale history - and makes a tremendous tribute to Clive - who tells us a bit about his youth in the 1960s, the decade from which most of his favourite records originate. There's also a chance to hear the Dennisons - the pop group which featured Clive as drummer - and Clive also relates the story of how he became one of the first people ever to hear a certain classic 1960s hit, comes up with a song which captures the complexities of being seventeen years old, and slips in a request for another Emmerdale Farm cast member.

Throughout the hour, Clive comes across as being a thoroughly down to earth and likeable man who would have made a great companion for an evening's chat in the Woolpack Inn, Beckindale - or anywhere else.

If you'd like to hear Clive's musical choice, the show is available on a CD, available from:

PO Box 3. Bradford. West
Yorkshire. BD1 4QN

The cost is £5.00 - including postage - and we think it's an absolute bargain. Please make cheques payable to Carl Gresham. We don't usually go in for advertising or selling things at '80s Actual, but this CD is, in our opinion, absolutely priceless!

Clive (far left) with his fellow cast members - the folks at Emmerdale Farm - summer 1984.

23 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Back to 1980 and 1987 for two of my favourite Chistmas hits of all-time. Merry Christmas to '80s Actual readers - and thanks xx

20 December 2011

'80s Christmas Memories - Bob Holness And A Cuddly hedgehog...

Christmas is just around the corner, and I'm startled by the suddenness of it all! Where did 2011 go?

Anyway, to celebrate the forthcoming festivities, here's a little look back at a favourite celebrity of the 1980s, with a Christmas flavour.

Blockbusters began in America in October 1980, and the UK version in August 1983. The UK version was, of course, presented by Bob Holness, and in this 1985 TV Times article, Bob recalls a favourite Christmas present:

"One of the nicest stocking fillers I've ever had was a glove puppet hedgehog, who quickly became christened Harold the Hedgehog.

"My wife, Mary, knows I have a soft spot for cuddly animals such as Harold and she gave him to me at Christmas 1983. He's becoming something of a national celebrity now, having appeared with me on two series of Blockbusters.

"Harold is in good company on the show. Most of the young contestants in the series have mascots like him."

Was there ever a kinder and more polite quiz master than Bob? We loved the show. Happy days... so far removed from Anne Robinson on The Weakest Link...

Read our full Blockbusters history here.

17 December 2011

Wham! Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart - And China...

Heady days for George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley. Asked in 1984 what makes a great pop song, they replied:

George: "A great pop song has something about it that will appeal to millions of people. There are different ways of doing that. You can do it in a crass way like 'Agadoo'. Or in an uplifting way like the way we do it in."

Andrew: "It should be some form of emotion in extreme. I'll tell you why I think 'Two Tribes' [Frankie Goes To Hollywood] is so good. You get incredible energy, excitement and that really sad synthesizer bit in the middle. Two absolute extremes."

Santa Wham!

The Sun, 1/12/1984.

Last Christmas was soon to be released. Now it seems almost as much a part of Christmas as cards, tinsel, trees, and Santa.

Two famous faces pop out of Christmas costumes - Wham! superstar George Michael and Andy Ridgeley.

They staged the frolic for the launch of their latest single, Last Christmas.

George played Santa Claus, carrying a sackful of presents. Andy donned a reindeer rig-out.

Their Christmas caper will be pictured on the sleeve of their new record, which is released on Monday.

And Wham! reckon it will just sleigh their fans.

The pop princes flew to Geneva last month to make a video promoting the disc. George's girlfriend, sultry singer Pat Fernandez, also appears in the film.

One of the crew said yesterday: "Snow was all around, but their love was keeping them warm."

1985: Wham! were the first Western pop group to be invited to play in China. As one pop journalist pointed out:

There are no pop charts in China; only a year ago, discos were unheard of and dancing wasn't allowed.

George Michael opined:

"One of the many reasons the Chinese chose Wham! to play and not other groups who've asked was because of what we represent: optimism and inspiration. Also we're at the opposite end of the scale to what China sees as the decadent rock acts of The West. You know - sex, drugs, scandal. The thing with us was that there was no angle. That's why I suppose Fleet Street have had to make one up."

1984: Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas?

What a year was 1984... Sir Alec Jeffreys at Leicester University, England, discovered DNA fingerprinting - entirely accidentally; Trivial Pursuit blasted in; the Miners' Strike brought angst and uproar; and a group of pop stars got together to make a record aimed at "feeding the world..."

Supergroup Band Aid's disc to aid Ethiopian famine victims has zoomed straight to the top of the pop charts.

And the double single, Do They Know It's Christmas? Feed The World has set a record of its own by selling an amazing 600,000 in Britain and 1,250,000 worldwide in just ONE WEEK. This makes the record - made by a host of British pop stars to help the relief fund - the fastest-selling single ever.

Gallup, who compile the official record industry and BBC pop charts, said: "It's incredible. At this rate it'll also be the biggest selling record ever."

The stars, including Boy George and Bob Geldof, hope Ethiopia can now quickly get £1 million for food and medicines from disc sales. For each £1.35 record sold, 96.03p goes to the fund.

Detail from the record cover. Band Aid in 1984 begat Live Aid in 1985. More here.

02 December 2011

1989 - Tim Berners-Lee - The Invention Of The World Wide Web...

It's hard to imagine the world without WWW. but in the 1980s that's just how it was. The basis for the Internet had been invented in the 1960s and was up and running by the end of that decade - this was ARPANET, developed by the USA's Department of Defence.

During the 1980s, the home computing era got underway, but it was the invention of the World Wide Web in 1989 which would transform attitudes to computers in the 1990s and create a whole new way of life. Have you checked your e-mails? Updated your web site/blog? Checked Wikipedia's latest suspect information? No? Well, better get to it. It's as easy as shelling peas.

This is thanks to an English software engineer, Tim Berners-Lee. The origins of the idea for the Web can be traced back to June - December 1980, when Mr Berners-Lee wrote ENQUIRE, his first computer program for storing information. At this time he was working a six month stint as a consultant software engineer at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland.

He left CERN for a spell, returning in 1984, and in March 1989 invented the World Wide Web.

From Tim Berners-Lee's own site biography:


Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989.

He is the Director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a Web standards organization founded in 1994 which develops interoperable technologies (specifications, guidelines, software, and tools) to lead the Web to its full potential. He is a Director of the World Wide Web Foundation which was launched in 2009 to coordinate efforts to further the potential of the Web to benefit humanity. 

A graduate of Oxford University, Sir Tim invented the Web while at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory, in 1989. He wrote the first web client and server in 1990. His specifications of URIs, HTTP and HTML were refined as Web technology spread.

Click on the red text to go to Sir Tim's site.
Up and running in the early 1990s, the Web made the Internet easy for all and things would never be the same again. 

And even confirmed technophobes like me, who had looked at the emerging home computer era with trepidation back in the 1980s, are now happily surfing the Web.
Thank you, Sir Tim!

March 1989 - the historic document!

Tim Berners-Lee at the www@20 celebration at CERN, 13 March, 2009.