Remember, Remember: a swift mashup of memories from the 70s and 80s

WHEN there were just three channels on television. At the end of the night, the national anthem played, followed by a reminder to unplug your television from the power socket.

You felt like the boss riding a Raleigh Chopper on the street. The Grifter and Boxer were top bikes too!

Sunday evenings was the time to record your favourite songs off the Top 40. Essential equipment: a radio, a cassette player, blank cassette tapes, and background silence.

The football pools and Spot the Ball were popular. The pools man would come round on Thursday evening to collect your completed coupons and money.

Saturday morning telly: Tiswas, Swap Shop, Joe 90, Space 1999, and a heap of cartoons keeping us entertained.

Saturday TV was packed with sport: Grandstand on BBC1, and World of Sport on ITV. Wrestling at 4pm (World of Sport) was a huge hit with the nation… especially the women!

The record shop was the place to be at the weekend. Flicking through the records and listening to tunes. What was your favourite shop, Woolworths, Our Price, or the independent?

Some of the cars on the street: Datsun Cherry, Austin Allegro, the Ford Cortina, Granada, and Capri. Remember the Vauxhall family consisting of the Viva, Nova, Belmont, and of course, the Cavalier? Some preferred Ford’s sporty Fiesta XR2, or the Escort XR3.

Saturday evening on TV: Dukes of Hazzard, Jim’ll Fix It, 321 with Ted and Dusty, The A Team, CHIPs, Blind Date, Starsky and Hutch, Brucie’s Generation Game, The Old Grey Whistle Test…

Chalk and an eraser were needed for the classroom blackboard. The eraser not just for clearing the blackboard, but lethal when launched by an angry teacher.

The high street was thriving, Woolworths, British Home Stores, and C&A, stood bold and mighty. Let’s not forget Sketchley dry cleaners, the master butchers, Dewhurst, frozen food giant, Bejam, and the shoe shop, Freeman Hardy Willis.

Coronation Street and Crossroads were huge soap opera hits. Who were your favourite characters? Hilda, Elsie, or Bet; Miss Diane, Benny, or Jill? Some people loved afternoon favourites such as Take the High Road, The Sullivans, or Sons and Daughters.

Dashing to the corner shop and asking for a quarter of sweets. Stored in a jar and weighed out on a scale, then put in white paper bags. Popular choices: jelly babies, cola cubes, dolly mixtures, and pear drops.

In the world of athletics, the rivalry between Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett was tense. Daley Thompson powered through the Decathlon, whilst Fatima and Tessa challenged each other to launch the javelin further.

Queuing at telephone boxes to make a call. Once inside, get your 10 pence piece ready, wait for the beeps, but holding your breath to avoid inhaling the stench.

Home computers arrived… 48k Spectrum, Acorn Electron, Commodore Vic 20, Commodore 64. Cassette games flourished. All of them a step up from the iconic Binatone games system.

Marathon, Opal Fruits, Unigate milk, Corona drinks in glass bottles, the canned drink called Quatro, 54321 bars, St Ivel Gold…

Memorable advertising: tasty, tasty, very very tasty; made to make your mouth water; bring out the Branston; the mild cigar, from Benson and Hedges; naughty but nice; kills all known germs…dead!

Most shops were closed on Sundays and the high street was peaceful. Sunday television highlights: Worzel Gummidge, Bullseye, Highway, That’s Life, Surprise Surprise, Catchphrase…

Did you feel cool wearing Farah trousers? How about a Lord Anthony Parka, or a pair of cords that made a swish swish sound when you were walking? Maybe your preferred brand was Fila, Tacchini, or Gabicci?

Loading a camera with either 35mm or 110mm film. Take some photos, and hope that there are not too many write-offs once developed. When it came to taking quality photos and keeping those photographic memories, we were advised to keep it with Kodak.

Wanted to feel all grown up? A packet of candy cigarettes did the trick. No matches or lighter required, and they were fun to chew.

Forgot your PE kit when attending primary school? No problem, you’d just run around and climb the climbing frame in your underwear and bare feet.

Health and safety was low on the agenda when it came to the open-back double decker bus. The same can be said with those British Rail trains with the doors that were manually swung open when approaching the platform.

University Challenge on TV – was I the only one who thought one team was positioned on the upper level, and the other team on the lower level?

The Ferguson Videostar was considered royalty of video recorders. Could you afford to buy a video recorder outright, or was it easier to rent one from Radio Rentals, DER, or Rediffusion? The next decision to make: top loading or front loading?


Further essential retro reading:

Learn how to jump off a moving open back routemaster bus.

You can’t have a P, but take this Blockbuster’s quiz to test your 80s knowledge.

Missing Woolworths? Find out what the store would look like now if it made a return.

A fan of Grange Hill? Get the rundown of the 40th anniversary reunion.

There was a lot kicking off in 1988 – this will jog your memory.

The video shop experience.

Learn how to make bread with Zippy, Bungle, and George.

The cryptic clues of the gameshow, 321.

The microwave enters the kitchen.

Dealing with an unruly television set.

Dating advice and the last Rolo.

Whatever happened to C&A in the UK?

A fan of football? Watch the Big Match.

Don’t be a dummy, check out Lee Cooper jeans.

Tasty, tasty, very very tasty.

The heyday of Wrestling

The Coronation Street battle

Will it be chips or jacket spuds…

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