The 70s

South Ruislip Station, exterior 1978


The 70s was my first series for BBC2, and was adapted from my books State of Emergency and Seasons in the Sun.

Most people assume that historians are desperate to get on television. This isn’t quite true: in fact, I never saw myself as a television presenter. The real credit for The 70s belongs to Steve Condie, who had produced two BBC2 history series – The British Family and The British at Work – that used me as a historical consultant. It was Steve who thought that my books on the 1970s would make a good series, and he was instrumental in persuading BBC2 to go for it.

I assumed that I would hate making the programmes. In fact, I loved it. I was, of course, very inexperienced, and our first day’s footage was almost unusable.

But I was very lucky to work with a tolerant and talented team. Very few viewers realise how collaborative history documentaries are. To the public, The 70s was “my” series, based on my books. In reality, though, it was a team effort in which I often played only a minor but very enthusiastic part.

The series producer was Steve Condie. The episodes were directed by Fatima Salaria, Mary Crisp, Tom McCarthy and Paul Tilzey, and were shot by Justin Evans and Louis Caulfield. The executive producer was Dominic Crossley-Holland.

Image: © Copyright Ben Brooksbank and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

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