70 Years Of British Comedy, The 1980’s

Despite it often being remembered for bubblegum pop and dodgy fashions the 1980’s was a time of great change.

Who would have thought woman prime minister or a Hollywood actor as president of the USA.  A home computer for under £100.  There was also the Sony Walkman and the Video Cassette Recorder conquered the world.

Once again we take a brief view over the decade, more sitcoms can be found in our archives.

In the world of comedy things were moving on.  The prolific output of those classic sitcoms of the 1970’s was giving way to more fast paced sketch shows such as A Kick Up The Eighties.  Women were stepping up to the plate: French and Saunders were huge stars as was Victoria Wood.  Sitcoms such as The Young Ones and Comic Strip Presents were becoming more adventurous and controversial.

Whilst it was the birth of a whole new decade there were still old favourites such as Last Of The Summer Wine, which in itself having found renewed vigour with Brian Wide’s ‘Foggy’ character would see a new third man arrive in town in the form of Seymour Uterthwaite played by Michael Aldridge.

Whilst not an immediate success the sitcom that would go on to top poll after poll as the nation’s favourite began in 1980: Only Fools And Horses.

Firm favourite Open All Hours had run for four series from 1976 came to an end in 1982.  Morecambe and Wise had left the BBC in 1977 in a much publicised move to ITV, their last show aired Christmas 1983.

Of course in the 1980’s we got a fourth channel: Channel 4 went live on 2nd November 1982.  Among the channel’s comedy output was A Fine Romance starring Judi Dench and the the hugely popular Desmond’s.

On the political front we took a step behind the corridors of power with the brilliant Yes Minister and it’s successor Yes Prime Minister.  Carla Lane who had enjoyed success in the 1970’s penned one of the 1980’s most iconic sitcoms parodying life in Thatcher’s Britain: Bread.  We took a step back in time for a history lesson as Blackadder first appeared on our screens.

Satire was biting with the launch of a must see Sunday night show Spitting Image.

As the decade came to a close a classic began that would run for 12 series before returning 16 years later, of course that was Birds Of A Feather

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