< Tucker's Luck: The 1980s

Tucker Times

the 1980s The 1980s were a time of social change - not the turbulent, colorful social change of prior decades, but a grim, plodding thing that ground bright idealism into gray establishmentarianism. Nationwide, one out of every eight people was out of work. It was a time of bureaucratic rule, inflation, and strikes.

On the other hand, the soundtrack to the early 80s was irresistible - electronic pop in which even the brooding numbers had a danceable beat. And, the fashions of the 80s were exuberant, whether bright and fluffy or metallic and layered (the clothes and the hair). To be young in the early 1980s might have meant the dole, but it also meant discos, sweat bands, badges, shoulder pads, and leg warmers.

Here's a brief look back at the years of Tucker's Luck.

Series 1 - 1983

Margaret Thatcher leads the Conservative party to a landslide victory, winning a second term as Prime Minister.

The Youth Training Scheme (YTS) replaces the Youth Opportunities Programme (YOP). While both programmes are supposed to teach job skills to school leavers, one major difference was that the top age for the YTS was 17 instead of 18.

Compact discs - invented in 1980 by Phillips - become available in record shops.

The Commodore VIC-20 becomes the first computer to sell one million units worldwide. Also, the Commodore 64 is introduced, offering 64 KB of RAM at twice the price of a 48 KB ZX Spectrum.

The cordless phone is introduced.

In the theatres: Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi and dueling 007s in Octopussy and Never Say Never Again.

On the radio: Spandau Ballet (with future EastEnders star Martin Kemp on bass) has two of its biggest hits: True and Gold. Synchronicity, the last Police album, is released. It includes the hit song Every Breath You Take. Other big hits include Is There Something I Should Know by Duran Duran, Karma Chameleon by Culture Club, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by the Eurythmics, Let's Dance by David Bowie, and Uptown Girl by Billy Joel. Michael Jackson's Thriller album makes the jump to video. It includes the hit single Billie Jean.

The end of the road for the Austin Allegro. It is replaced by the Austin/MG Maestro.

Petrol price: about 36.7p/litre.

Typical mortgage interest rate: about 12% jump to top

Series 2 - 1984

Prince Harry born.

Nationwide miner's strikes.

British Telecom privatised.

One-pound notes withdrawn.

Torvill & Dean win gold at the Winter Olympic Games in Sarajevo.

Sony introduces the CD Walkman, the first portable personal CD player.

Sinclair Research Ltd. introduces the successor to the beloved, rubber-keyed, rainbow-striped ZX Spectrum, the ZX Spectrum+.

Sky TV, the satellite TV channel that had been launched in Europe in 1982, comes to the UK.

Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California, USA - boycotted by the Soviet Union.

In the theatres: Amadeus, The Terminator, Ghostbusters, and The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across The 8th Dimension.

On the radio: Like A Virgin by Madonna, Relax, Two Tribes, and The Power Of Love by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go and Freedom by Wham!, The Reflex by Duran Duran, I Just Called To Say I Love You by Stevie Wonder, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cindi Lauper, Do They Know It's Christmas by Band-Aid.

The end of the road for the Triumph automobile. The final model, the Triumph Acclaim, is a Honda Ballade (Civic) derivative. The British Leyland-Honda alliance continues the same year with the launch of the Rover 213 and 216, based on the next-generation Honda Ballade.

Petrol price: about 38.7p/litre

Typical mortgage interest rate: about 12% jump to top

Series 3 - 1985

EastEnders, New Coke, and the first GCSE courses begin. Only one is still with us.

The wreck of the Titanic is discovered and photographed.

Symbolic.com becomes the world's first registered dot-com.

Microsoft releases Windows 1.0. Almost no one notices except Apple, which sues.

Commodore discontinues the VIC-20 and introduces the 128.

Alice Coleman's scathing criticism of council estates, Utopia on Trial, is published; in combination with rioting in Brixton and Broadwater Farm the year marks a turning point in urban regeneration.

In the theatres: Roger Moore's final outing as James Bond in A View to a Kill, Back to the Future, and The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo's Fire, which together launch the "brat pack" - Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, and Ally Sheedy.

On the radio: I Want To Know What Love Is by Foreigner, There Must Be An Angel by the Eurythmics, If I Was by Midge Ure, I'm Your Man by Wham!, Into The Groove by Madonna, 19 by Paul Hardcastle, The Power Of Love by Jennifer Rush, and Bring On The Dancing Horses by Echo and the Bunnymen. Oh, and USA For Africa's ubiquitous We Are The World.

Vauxhall Astra voted European Car of the Year. A sporty variant of the popular Ford Sierra hatchback is exported to the United States as the "Merkur XR4Ti," where it achieves a cult popularity.

Petrol price: about 42.8p/litre.

Typical mortgage interest rate: 13-14% jump to top

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