Bring back some good or bad memories


August 21, 2015

25 TV Shows That Defined the 1980s

The small screen takes a trip back to the 1980s...

Thursdays were a non-negotiable early evening in for Top of the Pops. Always talk of the playground and office the next day, especially after nights such as this one from 1982 – when Tight Fit debuted their deathless hit The Lion Sleeps Tonight. (BBC/Redferns)

"You take the stairs, I'll take the lift." Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless were rarely out of breath and hardly ever out of chenille cowl-necks as New York's hardworking finest, Cagney & Lacey. (Cinetext/CBS/Sportsphoto Ltd/Allstar)

Saturday Superstore was BBC1's heroic attempt to try to keep the nation's kids occupied for a whole morning with music, guests and stunts. Mike Read, Sarah Green, Keith Chegwin and John Craven soldiered through cheerfully. Didn't stop ungrateful little tykes phoning in to shout abuse at Matt Bianco though. (Sten Rosenlund/Rex Features)

The Tomorrow's World team grasped the terrifying modernity of the near future and shook it until the screws came loose. It ran from 1965-2003 but found its time had come in the 80s with the dizzying advances in technology (compact discs – so miraculous, they work even if you spread jam on them). From left to right, presenters Howard Stableford, Judith Hann, Peter MaCann and Maggie Philbin. (PA)

Just the everyday tale of simple oil millionaires. The cast of Dallas - Steve Kanaly, Patrick Duffy, Victoria Principal, Barbara Bel Geddes, Jim Davis, Charlene Tilton, Larry Hagman and Linda Gray - depicted most probably as they were just about to sit down to another windswept patio breakfast at Southfork. Certainly before Sue Ellen started drinking for the day. (c. Lorimar/Everett/Rex Features)

A brief moment of bliss for Blake and Krystle Carrington in Dynasty, the US soap from Aaron Spelling that ran from 1981 to 1989. The rest of it was just catfights in fishponds and people being vile to each other all over a 48-room Denver mansion. (Sportsphoto Ltd/Allstar)

Countdown was the show that heralded the launch of Channel 4 in 1982 – a genteel maths and spelling game. Never the station's most shocking programme, it is certainly its most enduring. Terrifying the audience with their knitwear above are Gyles Brandreth, Carol Vorderman, Richard Whiteley, Richard Stilgoe. (ITV/Rex Features)

Ian Kennedy Martin brought us hard-talking Flying Squad drama The Sweeney, then followed it with Juliet Bravo – the story of a woman police inspector (Anna Carteret) who takes over a station in Lancashire. They gave her a Ford Fiesta eventually. (PA)

Blankety Blank, presented by Terry Wogan from 1977-1983, had the worst prizes of any UK gameshow ever - a metal chequebook and pen. The mantlepieces of every British C-league showbiz veteran of the decade must have one. (BBC/Sportsphoto Ltd/Allstar)

John Nettles effectively ran a one-man tourist board for Jersey from 1981-91 as sports-car-driving detective dude Bergerac in the eponymous BBC drama, always on the trail of some tax-dodging jewel thief or other. (Rex Features)

Nuclear paranoia found its perfect expression in Threads, a 1984 BBC drama which saw Sheffield families struggling to survive after a US-USSR missile exchange. Remember the woman wetting herself in the shopping centre when she sees the mushroom cloud? (BBC/Sportsphoto Ltd/Allstar)

"What's your name and where do you come from?" Cilla Black trotted out this line - and sometimes "Should I get a hat, then?" - every Saturday night from 1985 to 2003 on ITV's Blind Date. (ITV/Rex Features)

The pride of Peckham, and the people who bequeathed the word "plonker" to the lexicon of cheery British abuse – Rodney, Del Boy and Grandad in BBC's Only Fools and Horses. (BBC/Sportsphoto Ltd/Allstar)

Anthony Andrews and Jeremy Irons caught a perfect period mood in Granada's epic 1981 serial adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited. Guardian critics this year voted it the second greatest TV drama ever. (Granada Teleivision/Sportsphoto Ltd/Allstar)

Every kid's Saturday teatime treat and the reason they started calling each other "sucker" and "fool": The A-Team, starring (clockwise from left), Dirk Benedict, Dwight Schultz, Mr. T, George Peppard. (NBCUPHOTOBANK/Rex Features)

Long before Esther Rantzen decided the people of Luton needed her help fulltime as an MP (they resisted the offer), she and her team - Howard Leader, Gavin Campbell and Adrian Mills - were tirelessly chasing dodgy salesmen, castigating shoddy utility providers and chuckling over root vegetables shaped like genitalia in That's Life. (Rex Features)

Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd were a brilliant, charismatic, fractious double act, as the co-owners of a detective agency in the 1985 series Moonlighting. Glamour and grit. The only alternative was Dempsey and Makepeace, which crucially lacked both qualities. (ABC/Sportsphoto Ltd/Allstar)

Cheers was the bar where everyone knew your name. Here are the Boston boozers and cranky staff - Nicholas Colasanto, Ted Danson, Shelley Long, John Ratzenberger, Rhea Perlman and George Wendt (Paramount/Sportsphoto Ltd/Allstar)

Kids today have it easy with X Factor and Britain's Got Talent. Anyone who watched Fame will remember the timeless and blunt truths that teacher Lydia shared with her legwarmered young dancers: "Fame costs – and right here's where you start paying." (Rex Features)

Never have two men wiped out so much crime while looking so slick. Philip Michael Thomas and Don Johnson rolled up their sleeves just-so to clean up the filth as Tubbs and Crockett in 1984 Miami Vice. (Everett Collection/Rex Features)

Everyone had a favourite - it was either Bo or Luke, the two Dukes of Hazzard, who tore around the county making fools of Sheriff Roscoe P Coltrane. Daisy and her short shorts had a fanbase of their own. (Everett Collection/Rex Features)

BBC and ITV both launched their breakfast shows in 1983. ITV aimed high-brow with a "Famous Five" core presenting team of Michael Parkinson, David Frost, Angela Rippon, Anna Ford and Robert Kee, but it ran into trouble from the start. Faces such as Anne Diamond (above right with Wincey Willis and Jeremy Beadle) helped keep the ship afloat, but they ended up with Roland Rat. (Phillip Jackson/Daily Mail / R/Rex Features)

George Cole and Dennis Waterman kept up the cheeky Cockney banter from 1979 to 94 in ITV's comedy about dodgy dealing in the London underworld. Not to be confused with Only Fools and Horses. (Rex Features)

Helicoptors, Anneka Rice as "Skyrunner", jumpsuits. Treasure Hunt provided non-stop adrenalin-charged excitement from 1982-8. (Rex Features)

Ronnie Corbett played 41-year-old Timothy Lumsden, a bumbling nerd who just couldn't break away from his domineering mother (played by Barbara Lott) in the 1981 BBC sitcom Sorry! (BBC/Sportsphoto Ltd/Allstar)

(via The Guardian)


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