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I couldn't agree more with what has already been mentioned about the inaccuracies, and irritation at the inclusion of comments from people like Natalie Casey, who was barely a toddler back then, and in the 1980s. It appears that too many of these programmes have been researched by twentysomethings, but where the hell did they get their info from? The internet? Did they talk to anyone who actually lived through the decade? As for no DVD, maybe the inclusion of TV ads in the programmes has prevented this, as they seem to be quite hard to get clearance for - hence no "Greatest TV Ads" DVDs on sale...Except on Ebay.
"I Love the 1970s" was a show which sought to create the kind of
nostalgia about the 1970s which we all enjoyed about the 1950s in the
70s. It failed.
The main problem for fans of the show is people who remember the era without rosy coloured specs and those with access to newspaper archives. Flared trousers, Lava Lamps, space hoppers and Afghan coats were all selling like hot cakes in the late 1960s, and the personal stereo and many other featured items were not available until the 1980s.
And then there were mistakes in years within the decade. For instance, Punk took flight commercially at the end of 1976. It was more a trend of 1977, but "I Love 1976" presented Punk as the trend of the year.
The most ridiculous thing was that the show left out details of the recession and just what a slog life could be for adults in the 70s. They were hard times for many. But (mainly as perceived in retrospect) social conditions of the 1980s were much commented upon in the "I Love 1980s" series.
I lived through the 1970s and did not recognise a great deal of what was presented as "70s" in these shows. I would not recommend them for serious 70's historians.
The trouble with this 1970s pop culture series was factual inaccuracies
and what some judged to be "70's hype". The Space hopper, featured in
"I Love 1971", was actually available in Britain at least as early as
1969 and a trend then, and Personal Stereos were invented in 1979, but
not available here until 1980. Many such inaccuracies punctuated the
series, and the fact that the 1970s were a time of misery for many was
It would be accurate to say that "I Love The 1970s" actually covered the pop culture of 1967 to 1982. Many of the things featured in each year had actually been commonplace since the 1960s or were unavailable until the 1980s.
The series was disappointing - misinforming a younger generation of "70s fans" - and had the knock-on effect of also making the 1980s series inaccurate as much early 1980s pop culture had been wrongly featured in the 70s series!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It is difficult to think of another decade that has endured such a bad
press in recent years as the 1970's. Retro programmes inevitably focus
on the worst aspects ( the three-day week, strikes, food shortages,
flared trousers, The Osmonds etc. ) without mentioning the best, to
produce a picture that is fundamentally distorted. I saw a book on sale
( in 'The Works' naturally ) recently called 'The '70's - The Decade
That Taste Forgot' and it was written by someone born in 1982. So
effective has this hatchet job been that even some people who lived
through those times have come to question their happy memories.
'I Love The 1970's' was two shows clumsily bolted together; a good one focused on pop culture of the day, featuring clips and interviews with many movers and shakers, and a really bad one dominated by inane chatter from people too young to remember anything other than rusks and potty training. The nadir in this area came in the 1976 edition which featured Peter Kay's incredibly detailed reminiscences - even though he was only three years old then!
Kate Thornton told us that 'Charlie' perfume was inspired by the success of the 'Charlie's Angels' television series, even though it was on sale for three years before anyone had heard of Farrah Fawcett and co. Spacehoppers originated in the '60's, not the '70's. 'Love Thy Neighbour' was not a racist show - it simply made fun of a racist. But the biggest blunder was in the 1970 edition - singer Ray Dorset was billed as 'Mungo Jerry' - it was the name of his group! Who did the research - Frank Spencer?
Well-intentioned it may have been, but there is a danger of young people believing this six-pack of lies and half-truths. Others will tune in simply to have a sneer ( there's going to be an awful lot of red-faced forty somethings twenty years from now when 'I Love The Noughties' rolls around, and they're reminded of 'Big Brother', 'Footballers Wives' and 'Crazy Frog'! ). I suppose it amuses them to think the world was a worse place before they existed. They are oh so-wrong if they think that. By sniggering at disco, glam rock etc., they become like the bug-like aliens in the old 'Cadbury's Smash' adverts ( also made in the '70's ) who fall over laughing at the sight of a potato peeler. "They are clearly the most primitive people. Hee, hee, hee!".
Here are the facts: the best time to be alive in history was the summer of 1976 ( boy, was it hot! ), no-one died of A.I.D.S. in the '70's, no-one knew what climate change was, Bowie and Bolan were in the charts, we had 'Monty Python's Flying Circus', 'The Sweeney', 'The Goodies' on television ( yes, 'New Faces' was crap but then so is 'The X Factor' ), 'The Black & White Minstrel Show' started in the late 1950's and therefore should not be considered a product of the '70's, 'Jaws', 'Dirty Harry', 'Star Wars' and 'The Exorcist' in cinemas and, best of all, beer was only 50p a pint! So come off it. 'The decade that taste forgot' is the one we are in right now!
"I Love 1970's" was a successful journey down memory lane for many BBC2
viewers, which was in no way a comprehensive history lesson of the time (the
1972 Munich Olympics tragedy had no place here), but it didn't pretend to
Each episode looked at some of the trends, people and pop-culture highs and lows of each year of the decade (one year per episode), with period-specific hosts (Jimmy Savile, David Cassidy, Dennis Waterman, Lynda Carter, Roobarb and Custard etc), plenty of footage of the time - complete with ads ("For mash get Smash") - and guests and talking heads a go go. This was, it has to be said, the low point of the series; in all too many cases the same people kept turning up (who is Gina Yashere anyway, and why did she pop up throughout the series?) - hearing Kenneth Johnson talk about "The Incredible Hulk" is far more interesting than hearing Zoe Ball on the same subject, for the simple reason that he actually ran the show and she didn't. (Although the inclusion of Joseph Harnell's piano music from the end of each episode - plus the Universal TV music - was lovely.)
Otherwise, cheap television at its best. Followed by "I Love 1980s."
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