1001 TV Series You Must Watch Before You Die: TV memories – 1980s & 90s

I’m not much of a reader and the majority of my book collection is France related topics or travel guides.  The latest book to add to my collection (and can also be used as a step) is the 1001 TV Series You Must Watch Before You Die by Paul Condon.

I’m maybe old but I’m not that old so I skipped past the 1940s, 50s and 60s chapters (I crossed off Coronation Street as I did watch it during the 80s and 90s) and even thou I’m too young for most of the 70’s I do remember watching Monk and Mindy re-runs on a Saturday tea time and I think most of my childhood was spend watching Grange Hill.  But it’s from the 1980s chapter of this book where my memories start.

1980s – Saturdays, Soaps and swinging a chicken in the air

Starting with the kids programmes I remember Press Gang and The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole but I wasn’t a big fan and even thou they are not listed in this book being an 80s child meant watching a lot of children’s Saturday morning television.   These shows were the reason to get up early on a Saturday none of these boring cooking shows. I can remember Tiswas, Swap Shop, No 73, Going Live, and Alive and Kicking.  I always used to flick channels when Trevor and Simon came on (never funny) and then SM: TV in the 90s the last of the excellent Saturday mornings shows. I wonder if there is a book of 1001 Children’s’ TV shows to watch? Back to the book Saturday afternoons and nights consisted of A Team, Knight Rider, Baywatch, and for a change from the American invasion there was Allo Allo, Robin of Sherwood, Hi-De-Hi and Only Fools and Horses.

With the soaps I remember running home from school in time for Home and Away and Neighbours and my Mom having to buy the Radio Times to see if Daphne in Neighbours survived that car crash as it was a time before online spoiler alerts.  Like most of the soaps it was like a religion watching them all during the 80s and 90s but I slowly stopped watching them one by one, it must have been the same storylines being repeated (love, weddings, murders, births and death) Brookside was my all-time favourite.


Friday night’s agenda was watching Roseanne and taking notes of the wise cracks and put downs from my attitude icon Darlene. I can vaguely remember watching Auf Wiedersehen Pet with my Nan and Granddad and I think I could understand the thick Geordie accent later on when watching the repeats. My 80s favourite TV moments has to be staying up late on a Sunday night watching Spitting Image, I probably loved it because I wasn’t old enough to watch it and the jokes where rude. Now I can’t get the Chicken Song out of my head…..’Hold a chicken in the air, stick deckchair up your nose…’


1990s – the decade of more than 4 channels and actual laughing out laugh

The 90s was a turning point in my life, no Sky TV until 1993 I had to wait until I turned 18 so I could pay for it myself (the good old days when I was paying around £30 a month for the full package), but before I was old enough to vote and legally drink I had to go next door to watch the football and was heartbroken when Beverley Hills 90210 switched over to Sky from ITV. The 1990s was the start of the very good crime dramas Silent Witness, Cracker, Prime Suspect and Touch of Frost being my favourites.  My bad attitude followed me into working life and Joy from Drop the Dead Donkey replaced Darlene as my new role model and quick-wit Queen. Saturday nights consisted of  was watching Louis and Clarke – The Adventures of Superman and then Casualty, and looking back the 90s seem to be the last decade of good Saturday night telly before reality TV and ‘talent’ shows invaded the box.

My 90s highlight has to be Friends,  life as a Billy No Mates and not going out on a Friday night didn’t seem so bad and twenty plus years later I’m still watching them and I’m still saying their catchphrases. UK comedy seemed to be at best I loved Royle Family and Cold Feet, I did watch 2point 4 Children, Keeping Up Appearances and One Foot in the Grave but all these shows put together wasn’t as good as the Men Behaving Badly – the ‘I am sailing’ scene in the pub, laughing to myself now as I have found it on youtube.




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