The Ellis family see how life changed for northern working-class families in the 1970s, enjoying rare time together, helped by the acquisition of their first record player and car.
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Meet the Ellis family.
This Bradford family of five are about to embark
on a time-travelling adventure...
..to discover how changing food eaten in the north of England...
That is scouse.
..can reveal what life was like...
I think perhaps I do need to work on my frying technique.
..for working-class families over the past century.
I think it's just potato pie.
I think so.
From regional classics....
Pan haggerty for tea.
We'll have two chip naans.
..to dishes that expanded our horizons.
I'm so happy.
Honestly, this is, like, amazing.
The Ellises' own home is their time machine,
transporting them through a different era each week.
They'll experience the ups...
-What the heck is tripe?
-This is so hard.
As they fast-forward through 100 years of northern history.
And still get back in time for tea.
It's 1970, and the Ellis family home has been transformed
for a new era.
We've said "ta-ra" to the '60s
and "'ow do" to the decade that taste forgot.
# Express yourself... #
There's been an eye-watering explosion of colour in the kitchen...
# You don't ever need help... #
..and the backyard has been transformed into a modern garden,
complete with '70s favourite, pampas grass.
# Express yourself... #
I'm in Bradford with social historian Polly Russell
to check out what the new decade has in store for the Ellises.
Look at the car. Look at that!
This is going to be one of the biggest changes
for the Ellis family in the 1970s.
She's a beauty.
-Look at her.
In 1970, about 52% of families owned a car.
And that is really... You know, the car is going to transform
family life in some ways. It means you will be driving to the shops,
you will be driving to work and, of course,
you will be using the car for leisure.
Owning a car is just one way that life has got better
for working people.
Improvements in housing and the welfare state,
plus 20 years of economic growth,
have provided a level of comfort
previous generations could have only dreamed of.
That wallpaper hasn't aged very well, has it, necessarily?
It's a real assault on the senses, isn't it?
But straightaway, Polly, it feels so familiar.
And you think back to, like, the '30s and '40s, when you could hardly
afford to put food on the table.
And yet now there is all this stuff.
It smacks of more money around to spend on sort of trinkets.
Oh, wow. Gosh.
Is this now a fitted kitchen?
Yeah. This is when fitted kitchens become the norm.
They're much more sort of efficient.
But it's not just that you've got your fitted sort of cupboards.
It's also the equipment that they'll have been able to buy,
-a lot of new things.
-And where is the food in the kitchen, then?
Here. We don't have a larder so much as we've got our fitted cupboards.
Look at that. Oh, look at all the brands.
There's a real mixture here between brands which are northern,
-so you've got...
Jammie Dodgers, they're a northern brand, but...
-Yeah, they are.
-But they're being distributed over the country.
So, you'll see these brands will be familiar in many homes.
By 1970, many working-class families had a solid disposable income.
To give the Ellises a true flavour of the decade,
their experience will be based on historical spending surveys
that tracked everything families bought from light fittings to lard.
What we discover here in this 1971 survey is that they start
to spend more money on cakes and biscuits than they do on bread.
And they start to spend more money on sweets and chocolate than they do on potatoes.
And in this period,
they're spending about a quarter of their household income on food.
Is this because they're just buying up so many brands,
and so much processed food now, or is food just quite expensive in the '70s?
Yeah, what you see in this period is, because of inflation,
food prices fluctuate enormously.
Mostly going up in price.
Rising prices were a major problem for working families in this decade.
# Evolution, revolution... #
Trades unions campaigned for pay increases to keep up
with the cost of living.
There is an industrial war on now. Whether we like it or not,
we've got to fight it with all the measures that we think will solve the problem.
But the government saw higher pay as a cause of inflation
and tried to cap wages.
The result was more industrial action.
All those in favour, please show.
Strikes during the '70s saw workers win much
of what they'd asked for.
But trouble lay ahead.
Nowadays, the whole Lister group of six mills, including Manningham,
employs scarcely more than 4,000.
At least this mill hasn't shut down.
But job prospects generally are not good.
Many traditional industries, such as textiles, shipbuilding
and mining were in decline.
The gap between what workers wanted and what employers could give them
Jon and Lesley, who were children at the time,
remember the decade for different reasons.
For the very first time, I'm going to be living through my own history.
I'm like, "Oh, my God, I remember that, that were amazing."
I was born in 1968,
so it was really close to my heart this morning
when Harvey put his outfit on.
That's the type of stuff that I would have worn.
Bless him, he's kind of like a mini me, really.
I'm really hoping the '70s are a time where me, as a teenager,
will find my identity.
Everybody else's lives moved on in the '60s and mine didn't.
I'm hoping that I'm kind of going to catch up in the '70s.
So, bring it on.
There is a car!
-I can't believe we finally got a car.
Can't wait to pull that choke out and get going in there.
Oh, my God.
-Look at that panelling.
-I remember it well.
Oh, we've got a carpet that goes to the corners.
-Oh, we have.
-I'll tell you what,
there's going to be plenty of parties.
Look at all them glasses.
It weren't the '70s without a cocktail umbrella, were it!
Oh, my word.
Look at that.
-What the heck.
-It's all brown.
This is vile.
We don't have a pantry any more.
We've got Tizer.
You blend into the background there, Harvey.
You're camouflaged, we can barely see you.
To launch the Ellises into the new decade,
I'm here to fill them in on what to expect.
Hello, lovely family.
-Hiya. How are you?
Budge up, Harvey. Look at that, you're a walking, talking
fire hazard in all that man-made material, Jon.
-OK, so, this is your manual.
You know what this is all about by now.
It's got all your recipes, it's got all your info,
all your advice for this decade, OK.
Work-wise, Jon, you are still in a manual trade, OK?
You work for yourself and you're in the construction business.
you've got a part-time job down at the local secondary school
as a dinner lady.
Looking forward to that.
So you'll be bringing home a wage,
and you'll also be expected to keep on top of most of the housework...
..as per usual. However, this decade,
you might get a tiny bit of help from Jon.
Sorry, Jon. Caitlin, you've got a full-time job.
You work as a secretary.
OK, so that's three wages, guys.
So that's enough money coming in that you should have a bit of brass
left over for some nice treats during the week.
Freya, you are continuing your studies.
Harvey, still at school.
OK? It's quite cute, though,
because your mum is going to be there making your dinner for you.
And you're going to have a lovely time. Enjoy the decade, OK?
And I'll see you in a few years' time.
What better way to kick off the decade than by firing up the chip pan?
# You can get it if you really want... #
-Shall we see what's for tea, then?
Lesley and Caitlin are making spaghetti hoop puffs,
an interesting recipe
copied from popular women's magazine People's Friend.
Can I break this up more, because you're just doing my head in?
No, you need it quite big, a nice big...
I don't want it big, I want it small.
Right, OK. So, since you're such an expert, then,
I'll leave you to do this bit.
New convenience foods, like spaghetti hoops
and ready-made puff pastry
meant less time prepping basic ingredients
and more time to experiment.
You need to make sure that you can close them.
I can close it, look!
I'm thinking, if I were going to make these, like, in the modern day,
the last thing I would be putting in them is spaghetti hoops and ham.
I think it's genius, personally.
Why this hasn't continued into the 2000s, I have no idea.
Because it's a heart attack on a plate.
And? Worth it.
Right, so we've got to find which way to put this.
By 1970, old family hand-me-downs were no longer
the only option in home furnishing.
Sometimes, with these type of things, you kind of build it,
and then you break it down because you realise that you're always one part short.
Affordable and revolutionary flat-pack furniture had started to turn up in everyday homes.
What I should do now to impress Lesley a little bit more
is clear the corner and get it all set up.
I think she's going to be impressed with this.
With tea almost ready for dishing up, Freya and Harvey are on the pop.
We've got nine bottles here.
Oh, good. Put them into there.
Fizzy drinks had been sold door to door since the 1920s.
And by the '70s,
Sunderland firm Alpine
had a fleet of wagons peddling pop to the people of the north.
-You've got nine empties.
-Which means you get a free bottle.
-So what do you want?
-Please can I have dandelion and burdock?
Home recycling was yet to become a thing.
But enterprising kids could boost their pocket money,
earning three pennies back for every bottle returned.
Cherryade, limeade, lemonade.
We'll pay for the cream soda.
-A cream soda.
-OK, thank you very much.
You know, I think this looks, like, really green,
or is that just the bottle?
Right, shall we have some music?
-Hit it, maestro.
MUSIC: Ride A White Swan by T Rex
-So what's this?
-Spaghetti hoop and ham pasties.
Lesley served her pasties with chips fried in lard and tinned veg,
the '70s version of their five a day.
I think I like '70s food.
It seems to be, like, tinned stuff.
And I quite like tinned stuff.
Carrying on there from the '60s, innit?
The convenience food revolution is well and truly in swing.
We had a whacking meal today.
Spaghetti hoop puffs.
That's the first time I've really contributed in the kitchen.
I think I'd make it again,
but with baked beans, probably.
Maybe. If I can be bothered.
A new day in Bradford and a new year for the Ellis family.
-See you later.
-I'll see you.
While Jon does the washing-up for the first time in this experiment,
Lesley is off to join the growing number of married women in the
workplace, which rose by nearly 10% across the decade.
MUSIC: Changes by David Bowie
In her new job, she's not just bringing home the bacon,
she'll be cooking it as well.
-How are you?
So nice to see you. Really good.
So, today, you've got the important job of being a dinner lady.
You're going to be feeding the nation's children in the 1970s.
So, I've got a uniform for you.
-Should we go and see the kitchen?
-Yeah, let's do it.
When it comes to school meals, one Bradford school led the way.
Green Lane Primary was the first in the country to serve a state-funded
school dinner, a meal of Scotch broth, fruit tart, and bread.
By the 1970s, institutional catering in places like schools, hospitals
and prisons had become big business,
offering new careers for young working-class women.
Beverly, what have you got here?
These are photographs from when I first started in school meals.
Beverly Smith worked in the school kitchens of Leeds between 1970 and '78.
And how old were you then?
-So, straight out of school.
-Into school meals.
-Into school meals?
-How did the training go?
What did you start off cooking?
Potatoes. Six months on potatoes.
Six months on potatoes?
Six months on potatoes, all the duchesse, croquette...
Then we did six months vegetables,
that was the first year of my apprenticeship.
So, then I went on to the second year, which was six months on gravy,
custards, and sweet puddings.
I can't see the difference, looking at the training that you did,
between you and a chef.
-In a restaurant.
School dinners were first brought in to combat malnutrition in the
country's poorest children.
Ingredients like liver were specifically chosen for their high nutritional content.
By 1944, providing a hot school dinner had become compulsory,
a drive by the state to improve the lives of working-class people.
Kids were well-fed, weren't they, in the '70s?
Oh, yes. Quite often it was the only meal they got because, at that time,
lots of mums had started working and so it was the only hot meal they got
-through the day.
-And if you don't mind me asking, Beverly,
-was it well paid?
-Compared to some jobs, it was quite well paid.
I think my first wage was £7 13 2d.
So, it was quite a good wage,
considering some of the other wages that...
Yeah. And it had career progression as well.
Of course, yeah.
SCHOOL BELL RINGS
# Remember the days of the old school yard? #
Right, come and get some grub.
We've got liver and onions with bacon.
And cheese flan.
I think I would've been really happy
to have been a school cook dinner lady.
I feel it's a much more skilled and highly-valued role,
which I can't believe I'm saying about a dinner lady.
But genuinely, I do feel that.
-How's it been?
What about the liver?
It was chewy.
And the sauce around it was very sloppy.
It was just like this... That was, like, slimy.
He's dissing your food, Mum - what are you going to do?
Already, and we're only in 1971,
I feel like the '70s is...
There's more promise.
It holds more promise for women like me.
More women at work meant families now had more spending power.
But the money they were using was about to change.
I'm sending Lesley's mum, Christine, round
to bring the family up to speed.
-I've brought you something.
-Year of decimalisation, of course.
-It's a game to play.
31 and a half.
32, 33, 35, 40, and ten is 50 and 50 is a pound.
This was the year Britain's monetary system experienced
its biggest change since Roman times.
Think decimal. That way, you'll find shopping simple.
The object of the game is for each player to complete their shopping list.
The shopper's table may be used to assist in the conversion from pounds,
shilling and pence to the new decimal currency.
What a good idea, this game.
I think we could have all done with one, because it was quite difficult.
They didn't even have 20ps.
Board games like this were meant to help people make the shift
from crowns and shillings to new pence.
How did you know that yours was four shillings and 2p?
-Because you go on the...
But some found it easier than others.
..is one pence.
Two shillings is 1p.
-Definitely confusing, this.
Mine is three shillings and 10p.
Which is 19 new pence.
You're good at this.
I know, she worked with old dosh, didn't she?
Lesley's mum came round to do the game with us.
And it was hard to get the shillings and pence into pounds and do that
cross-reference. So it was a bit chaotic, was that.
My comment really was, how many actually finished that game?
Hey, guys, the newspaper today.
It looks quite serious.
I think we're going to be due some power cuts.
What happens next,
as this country faces its worst industrial crisis since the General Strike of 1926?
1972 saw the highest number of strike days in Britain since the '20s,
with steelworkers, builders and dockers all taking industrial action.
Among them were the coal miners, who staged a nationwide walk-out.
The strike is about money.
The mine itself is unprofitable and the miners say their pay is low.
Soaring inflation meant their pay had not kept up with that of other
The cost of living's gone up above 11%.
And we're here, there's lads having to live down that hole for a decent
living. Not for any luxuries.
And as far as we're concerned,
if they're not going to give us a decent living, well,
they can put the lid on them all.
With the mines closed,
Britain's coal-fuelled power stations
couldn't keep up with the demand for
electricity, bringing the effects of the dispute into everyday lives,
north and south alike.
There's a chart here that says how it affects us.
Would you believe it, Bradford and Low Moor's on here.
It's a disconnection rota.
Imagine buying all these new electrical appliances.
And you have a power cut so you can't use them.
What's the point? Why didn't they just do them later?
Well, when they invented them,
they didn't anticipate that in 20 years' time the miners would be
striking, did they?
During regular blackouts,
Brits got used to doing everyday activities in the dark.
Sales of camping gear and candles rocketed.
And if shops had sold out, you could always make your own.
Fat candles, a how-to guide.
Melt the fat in the double boiler until it is liquid.
What if the pan overflows?
It's not going to overflow.
Drop the washer into the jar so the string or wick
is in the centre of the jar.
I feel like we've taken a step back, making candles.
In the '60s, we were going out all the time.
Now we're just stuck making candles.
I wonder how long it takes this to dry.
You can't just rustle a batch up really quick.
You literally have to wait for it all to dry as well.
Lighting wasn't the only issue for families like the Ellises.
When the power went off, so did electric ovens,
making cooking a race against time.
To help Lesley get tea ready before the power cut,
I'm sending actor Claire Sweeney along
with the speedy version of her family favourite recipe.
I'm Claire and I've come to make some scouse with you.
-Scouse, do you know what scouse is?
-I do indeed.
-Oh, good, let's get cracking, then, come on.
-Good to see you.
-Nice to see you.
Listen, I'm loving the hair.
-Do you like it?
-It's really nice!
Scouse is Liverpool's most famous stew,
thought to be Latvian in origin and brought to the port city
by sailors in the 19th century.
It was a cheap but satisfying one-pot dish quickly adopted by
I'm not going to peel these because I think these...
I know, shall we just do it raw?
We'll slice them and, yeah.
So, where does this recipe comes from, then?
This was my dad. My mum was a shocking cook, and my dad could cook.
I wasn't from an affluent childhood.
I'm from terraced houses in Liverpool.
My dad was a butcher, my mum was a barmaid.
And it was just kind of making do for the week, really, for the family.
A stew like this would normally take two hours,
but with a power cut looming,
Claire's secret weapon is a pressure cooker.
In the days before the microwave,
this noisy but nifty bit of kit
could drastically reduce cooking times.
Do you know, I don't think you're meant to fill it more than two-thirds full.
We don't want an exploding pressure cooker, do we?
Stew on your walls.
Mind you, you wouldn't know with this wallpaper, would you!
-It would just blend in.
-Maybe there was method in the madness.
Claire's scouse will be ready in as little as 15 minutes.
Long before lights out.
Here we go.
-Do you want to do it?
-No, I'm scared of it.
My dad drummed fear into me as a child with the pressure cooker.
-You do it. Let's do it, let's do it.
-I used to love doing this.
-The smell is divine, isn't it?
Here we go.
So, when I was a kid, I remember sneaking into the kitchen,
and I'd get in and start stealing the meat.
My dad said, "You're not blinding the scouse, are you?"
So blind scouse is stew without meat.
And I've just found myself instinctively then,
pinching your family's tea.
-I'm blinding your scouse.
-You're blinding my scouse.
I'm going to have a mouthful before I go, is that all right?
Vegetarian scouse for tea, guys!
Karma! I'm burning the tongue off myself.
That is scouse, which is the Liverpudlian stew.
Guys, can you see? Do we need to light some candles?
-Have you heard the fridge has gone off?
There's something about candles, it's kind of soothing.
It's like looking at fish in a fish tank.
Well done, girls.
After tea, we played cards by using
the candles that Caitlin and Freya had made.
I remember the power cuts when I was a little girl.
And I remember them being cosy.
So I really enjoyed that.
It was kind of nostalgic for me.
As the decade went on, so did the threat of strikes.
The unions, government, and employers continued to clash.
-Right, lift your feet up.
But 1973 provided football fans with a welcome distraction.
-To Giles's chest.
This is the FA Cup final, this.
From Hunter now to Lorimer.
-Oh, look at this.
-14, 15, 16...
I can't believe I didn't make the school team.
In an all-northern final,
rank outsiders Sunderland took on defending champions Leeds.
And it's there!
Sunderland have scored!
Your mum won't be happy.
Sunderland's triumph caused one of the biggest shocks in FA Cup history.
It was the first time since the 1930s
that a second division team had won.
And they came home to a heroes' welcome.
As well as the trophy,
the players were presented with a more unusual prize.
A set of Pyrex cooking dishes.
Manufactured in Sunderland,
this popular cookware could be found in homes across the country.
Good old Pyrex dishes.
Tonight, in honour of Sunderland's win,
Leslie is cooking a dish from the Pyrex recipe book.
So, we've got a large can of baked beans.
Five beefburgers, a teaspoon of mixed herbs,
two tablespoons of breadcrumbs, and three ounces of cheddar cheese.
It's basically like cottage pie, just with beefburgers stuck in it!
OK, it's not too challenging, I'm sure I can do it,
but it's just a bit weird.
The growing popularity of branded convenience foods over the decade
saw regional favourites slowly losing out to the latest food fads.
It's like we're on the edge of change.
So, convenience foods have been introduced,
but I still think that people in the '70s
were a little bit suspicious of them.
So they had to make them into a recipe.
I think it's a case of convenience foods were too good to be true.
Maybe that's what they thought.
And in hindsight, I think they were probably right.
-What is it?
-What is that?
-What is that? Is it a burger?
Yeah, this is cottage burgers.
-I'm not sure I'm going to like this.
Is she actually kidding me?
-Has it got chives in?
-It's got celery in it?
It is weird.
What is that meant to be?
This is the weirdest thing you've ever cooked.
I totally agree there, Freya.
Time to move on to '74, I think.
We had an unusual tea.
I didn't have high hopes for it, to be fair.
But I have to say,
I really enjoyed it.
It was a lot nicer than I thought.
MUSIC: Money by Pink Floyd
# Get away... #
1974 began with an economic crisis.
As Prime Minister, I want to speak to you simply and plainly
about the grave emergency now facing our country.
Since the Second World War, cheap and plentiful oil
from the Middle East had enabled Britain to prosper,
but a conflict between Arab states and Israel caused fuel prices
in the UK to quadruple.
-The effect on traffic gave a preview
of what official rationing might bring.
Dramatic drops were reported in Lancashire where, on the M6,
only 50 to 100 vehicles an hour were counted,
instead of the usual 1,500 an hour.
On top of this, the miners' continuing industrial action
meant British fuel reserves were perilously low.
The country's power supply is in danger.
Industry needs power.
So do hospitals.
So do essential services.
To conserve energy, many businesses
were limited to working a three-day week.
Today, Caitlin's the only one not stuck at home.
I actually can't believe everyone else is at home
and I'm figuring out how to do this.
And, like, people aren't going to have fingers left after doing this.
There must be an easier way to go down the page without doing this.
The expansion of the public sector since the '60s saw increasing
opportunities in clerical and office-based roles
for working-class women.
What's "repeat spacer"?
Right, OK. Not that!
These workplaces typically used less electricity than traditional male
places of work, so were less affected by the power restrictions.
I even missed out a word!
Oh, no! They're not going to notice...
The fuel shortage wasn't the only way industrial action was having
an impact on family life in 1974.
This is going to be a big loaf.
Hang on, we need to rethink this.
Because I would never make a loaf that big.
With inflation now at 17%,
it wasn't just the miners demanding higher wages.
Among the strikers were 33,000 of the nation's bakers.
They wanted a 60% pay rise.
I mean, I know baking's important, but a 60% pay rise?!
Bread supplies fell by three quarters
and loaves were effectively rationed.
Families who'd got used to more and more of their food
being ready-made were now having to make their own.
I wouldn't have bingo wings if I was doing this every day, would I?
Right, go on, your turn.
It's so sticky.
Why do you like this?
Don't be frightened, you can slap it about as much as you like.
I know what I'd like to slap!
DISTANT DOG BARKS
Freya and I have been busy baking beautiful home-made bread.
That is not your bread!
Oh, yes, it is.
That is well good.
I bet you're well proud.
So I'm going to apply for a 60% pay rise!
Do you know what, I thought you were going to demand an 80% rise,
seeing as yours was better than the baker's.
We did it together.
MUSIC: The Hustle by Van McCoy
# Do it!
Guys, come here.
-What the heck is that?
No, guys, that's not it.
It's a TV thing, isn't it?
To bring the family bang up to date,
I've arranged for them to get their hands on the latest must-have.
"Dear Ellis family,
"today you have taken delivery of a colour television."
-Look at the size of it.
It's actually beautiful.
It's really... For the first time, I would say that that's beautiful.
And it's massive.
In 1975, the average colour telly would have cost Jon
around two months' wages.
The Ellises are joining the lucky 43% of skilled working-class households
who have one. Even if it is rented from Rumbelows.
That's a massive deal, isn't it?
A colour TV. Look at that big speaker as well.
It seems so weird that you're renting a TV.
You'd never do that in the modern day.
But £8 a month is affordable.
Do we know how it works?
Freya, you've got it working!
-The colours are really bright, aren't they?
-Yeah, it's fantastic.
Choice was limited to just three channels, but at 4pm on Saturday,
up to 16 million people tuned into ITV's World Of Sport,
to watch grown men grappling in leotards.
Yeah, I know what it is. Wrestling, aren't they!
I wonder if Big Daddy's going to be on?
The best-loved wrestler of them all was an ex-coalminer from Yorkshire
-And on my right, ladies and gentlemen, at 25...
-It's Big Daddy!
-Big Daddy, of course, alias Shirley Crabtree, of Halifax.
Look at the outfits!
I can't believe what he's wearing!
Wrestling was hugely popular with working-class audiences.
Including the most unlikely fan base.
-I've come to see this new television.
-There we go.
Six five-minute rounds.
-So, Big Daddy, he used to eat these.
That's why we're having them.
It was his staple diet, I think.
I'm sorry, but what the heck is this?
Don't like it.
TV: What an enormous man this Shirley Crabtree is.
Come on, Shirley!
My mother, your Grandma Hiley, absolutely loved wrestling.
And she used sit in front of the television,
and she would be shouting and...
"Work a bit harder", or whatever.
While Grandma and the kids enjoy a home-grown hit,
Lesley and Jon are looking further afield for tea-time inspiration.
I've got some red wine and some soda water.
Because I've been looking in a magazine
and I saw a recipe for sangria.
Sangria? You only have that when you go to Spain, don't you?
So I thought, we'll bring Spain to Bradford.
-Oh, right, good.
-And I have bought us a paella.
-Out of a packet?
-This is exotic.
I think I'll make double of the sangria, I think.
This is the moment...
Cheap package holidays were starting to expand people's horizons.
..in which perfect paella is made.
But if you couldn't stretch to a foreign holiday,
Sheffield firm Bachelors was here to help.
Vesta paella captures that mood.
For you, for him, and that moment made special by Vesta.
In 1975, we spent £10 million on their dehydrated Vesta meals.
..if we were truly in 1975 now, we would think we were the bee's knees.
Let me smell it. We haven't had wine for...
That wasn't easy! Hey, get off!
You're necking it!
-Oh, God! I can't wait to drink that.
-You used to do that and all!
I know I did.
It wasn't just tea-time inspiration being imported from Europe.
Once seen as an upper-class tipple,
wine was increasingly being enjoyed by the masses.
It's overflowing, so I'm going to have to drink some, love. Test it.
As Britain joined the Common Market, duty on alcohol imports was slashed.
We hit the bottle and wine consumption trebled.
MUSIC: Fernando by Abba
# In the firelight, Fernando... #
I wonder how many people had this as a paella.
Then they actually went to Spain and had a proper paella
and got kind of put off with all this seafood in the dish,
that they'd never seen before.
They went to Spain expecting they were going to get a dish like this.
# There was something in the air that night, the stars were bright...
Where do you find prawns so small?
Look at this one here.
# They were shining there for you and me...
That's made double...
That's made double its size because it's got a grain of rice on it!
I don't know what this obsession with dehydrated food was in the '70s.
I think people maybe thought they were all going to space.
I just don't know. Don't know.
But it's not my idea of a good meal, let's put it that way.
Cram in the back, kids.
It's the endless summer of 1976 and the Ellises
are heading off on a jolly.
-You go in the middle.
-You go in the middle, Harvey.
-That's well harsh.
With ordinary people enjoying more disposable income,
leisure opportunities also opened up.
Off on us holidays.
MUSIC: Sunny by Boney M
Owning a set of wheels expanded horizons.
Although working-class families were still five times more likely
to buy a second-hand car than a brand-new one.
# Viva Las Vegas... #
Are we going to Las Vegas? That would be a long ride, wouldn't it?
Male drivers still outnumbered women by more than two to one.
As late as 1975, only 29% of women had a driving licence.
So, for now, Jon's in charge of the Viva.
So, the speed dial goes up to 100mph, but I can't imagine doing 100.
-Can you imagine?
-I wouldn't like to think I'd go 100mph in this.
-This is hard work.
Chuffing heck! No power steering!
Keep pedalling, guys.
-Do you feel all right?
-Don't feel rickety?
-No, I love it.
The Ellises are hitting the glorious Leeds and Liverpool canal
to enjoy a new kind of pastime.
Watch it, Harvey.
Remember what happened last time you went outside of a boat.
-This is sick.
-This is mint. Wow!
It's quite big, isn't it?
MUSIC: Rock The Boat by The Hues Corporation
If you'd like to see rural England from the inside
and if you like mucking about with boats, and who doesn't,
how about this for a holiday?
Once a vital artery of trade and industry,
the Leeds and Liverpool canal linked Yorkshire's textile mills
to the port of Liverpool and beyond.
But when railways hit the scene,
the old-fashioned barges couldn't compete
and like many waterways across the north,
it lay unused until finding new life as a leisure destination.
By the late '70s, canals were thriving again,
with 200,000 people taking to barging like ducks to water.
There's an element of judgment involved in this, isn't there?
You've got no means of seeing exactly where
the front of the boat is.
It helps when you've got a kid stood on the front of it.
Yeah, that helps. Yeah, yeah. Waving all over the place.
Oh, my God!
Everybody knows we're coming now,
pressing that horn.
I nearly jumped in there!
So this is like exactly the kind of mill we would have been working in,
we did work in in 1919.
Yeah, textile mills, yeah.
If our 1919 selves were looking out of the mill window now
and watched us, on our boat, what do you think we'd have thought?
I think you'd have thought it was bizarre, really.
I think they'd think that we were rather lah-di-da.
-I feel like we've come such a long way since, like, 1918.
We had nothing.
We were cobbling together everything that we had just to feed ourselves.
And here we are, having a leisurely day out on the canal.
I just... There's no comparison.
This was the year we went crazy over the Queen's Silver Jubilee.
Oh, these are proper mugs, these, Mum. You'll like it.
MUSIC: Silver Lady by David Soul
But the country had changed since the start of Elizabeth's reign.
Back in the early '50s, Britain faced a labour shortage.
The government responded by inviting workers
from former British colonies to fill the gap.
# Here I am, a million miles from home... #
-Bradford, the dark Satanic mills
need cheap labour, and this the Pakistanis provide.
Many of those who came from the Indian subcontinent
headed for the textile mills of Lancashire and Yorkshire,
transforming the face of northern communities
and introducing new foods that would change British taste buds forever.
I'm sending Jo n and Leslie to Bradford's oldest curry house,
which has been around since the '60s.
Hello. Hello, lovely.
Nice to meet you.
Actor Shobna Gulati is on hand to help them navigate
this new dining experience.
-Seen that menu board?
-Look at that!
That's how it definitely would have been.
That's how it used to be, yeah.
-I remember them.
-I have this strong feeling that, at one point,
poppadom were free.
-18p for a poppadom!
-That's daylight robbery!
The Karachi started life as a cafe for local Pakistani workers.
Chicken karai madras, please.
It's interesting, this table, because it looks exactly like my mum's...
..my mum's kitchen table.
It's how we'd eat at home.
That's why I'm very familiar with this kind of food.
I believe that the Karachi restaurant
was the place to come in the '70s.
If you imagine these lads and their ancestors
came from the Indian subcontinent,
they must have wanted that taste of home and it was a place
for them to meet other people and socialise
outside of the factory or the foundry that was just nearby here.
I'm getting a little heated here.
How do you feel about this spice?
You've been without spice since 1918.
-Are you feeling the heat?
-And the tank top, as well, is not...
Polyester and curry are not a good combination.
During the '70s,
instability in the Indian subcontinent
saw the Asian population of Bradford increased by around 3,000 a year.
And while curry might have been starting to appeal
to the wider community,
not everyone was ready to embrace a multicultural society.
The mood was turning.
The fortunes of the textile mills on which Bradford had been built
were in decline.
Rising unemployment helped fuel rising racial tensions in the town.
I mean, the situation we've got now is that you can't find jobs,
accommodation in your own town.
We've got enough in Bradford.
Let's keep them out.
In April 1976,
hostilities came to a head as whites-only political group
the National Front marched through Manningham,
in Bradford, a largely Asian area.
Around 3,000 marched against them
in a show of solidarity for their local communities,
giving hope for a more harmonious future to come.
Bradford's become a really sort of inclusive, very,
very culturally vibrant place,
as we got people from all over the world here
and people who have been here now for generations.
I think food has definitely been a way
of assimilating cultures together.
In fact, when we were kids, my dad used to say,
"You can eat anything in the school dinner."
Even though there were specific religious things
that we weren't supposed to, but he just said, "Outside of the home,
"you be in the environment you are, and when you're home,
"then you're something else."
The introduction of foreign foods
has just had such a positive impact,
especially on this city.
It can only be a good thing, cos, let's be honest,
that food we were eating a few years back was very beige and bland,
MUSIC: Night Fever by The Bee Gees
In 1978, while disco fever swept the nation,
working-class teenagers like Caitlin and Freya
were finding their own way to express themselves.
Girls, come on.
Nice to see you. You've been here before, in the 1950s and, haven't you,
-for the Lindy Hop?
You're back to dance today, but now it's the 1970s and in the '70s,
cool young thangs - sorry about that, that was uncool, wasn't it? -
like yourselves used to go to all-dayers,
throwing insane shapes to music from across the pond.
-Are you ready?
Yeah. Come on. Let's go and dance.
MUSIC: There's A Ghost In My House by R Dean Taylor
In the towns and cities across the north of England,
young people rejected mainstream musical offerings
in favour of obscure soul music from America.
Easy, don't rush, don't push!
Thousands flocked to weekly all-nighters,
at venues like the Blackpool Mecca,
Manchester's Twisted Wheel and the legendary Wigan Casino.
Unique to the north at the time,
the movement became known as Northern Soul.
Come on, girls.
Now, this is the lovely Sharon, our teacher for the day.
Here to share their expertise are long-standing fans
and veteran of the original scene,
including dance tutor Sharon Sullivan.
You were about their ages when you would sneak out
and go to Northern Soul all-dayers?
I think I was a little bit younger than you two.
They had all-nighters, which I wasn't allowed to go to,
obviously, and what I used to wear, the big Mary Quant huge shoes,
so I was very tall then, so got in no problem at all.
Tell us about Northern Soul dancing, then.
-What goes on?
So, as you can see from some of the dancers that are behind you,
it is a freestyle dance.
Set of rules in there which make it Northern Soul.
There is a lot of foot swivels, high kicks and spins,
tiny little movements with your feet and backdrops.
I'm loving the tiny little movements.
Backdrops, girls? High kicks?
Freya? Do you want me to join in, girls?
Mastering the moves was a serious business.
The dance floor was considered hallowed ground
on which to pull off the most audacious moves
you could manage without putting your back out.
MUSIC: There Was A Time by Gene Chandler
Step underneath, step to the side, and do a heel kick forward.
OK? Use the same...
You all right there?
Can't get past the first hurdle.
If you do fall, can you turn it into a dance move?
You can turn it into a backdrop. Yes.
Northern Soul was a movement created by young people who found their own
working-class lives reflected
in the black soul music of industrial America.
Well, I think there's something wrong with the world, really.
To get enjoyment out of life during their teens and twenties,
people do have to build, more or less, an alternative society.
Why was Northern Soul so popular in the north?
I think, from a northern point of view,
I think it was working-class people. You know,
we worked so hard and we didn't have that prosperity
that they had in the south.
You could get into the Northern Soul nights
for not a lot of money, really,
and it was just a release from the mundane working week, really.
MUSIC: Sliced Tomatoes by The Just Brothers
I think, with us living through so many eras, we've definitely found,
like, down south, there were more money and prosperity
and then you've got the working-class up north.
Dance seems to be a recurring thing, cos, obviously,
we did dance in the '50s.
I bet it was so much fun to just go out.
Let's bring it back again!
Come on, girls. Oh, my gosh.
It smells amazing. Right.
You must be famished after your 11 hours of Northern Soul dancing.
-Are you ready for a nice delicacy from Wigan?
It's a Wigan kebabs, so it's a pie.
Only one way to improve a pie, though.
How can you improve a pie?
You put it in a barm cake!
I have never seen anything like this before.
-Have you got any money?
-I don't think I do.
We'll have to do a runner, then. Come on. Thanks!
Going from conforming with everything to, then,
just getting out on this Northern Soul scene,
it must be so good.
Like, you've never had that independence before.
Yeah, I think it must be so good to just sneak out of the house
and dance to music and with your friends and stuff.
It must be really good.
So we're nearly at the end of the '70s.
Whoopee! Nearly made it to the end.
While the decade had delivered the smallest gap in wealth
between rich and poor families ever,
the focus of the headlines in 1979 was still on strikes.
-Many of London's 32 boroughs
are now organising a do-it-yourself refuse disposal operation.
In the north-east, some garages have been rationing petrol,
but others have run out after serving more long queues of motorists.
Successive governments had tried and failed to control the industrial
chaos and economic instability.
A look at the Prime Minister, as he leaves to tender his resignation.
Now a new Prime Minister came into power,
promising to put an end to it all.
Her Majesty the Queen has asked me to form a new administration
and I have accepted.
I know full well the responsibilities that await me
when I enter the door of Number 10.
I completely understand why so many people voted for Margaret Thatcher.
We've experienced all the strikes, we've experienced the blackouts.
We've experienced inflation.
And if you have someone that's promising to
make things right and stop all that,
you are going to want to vote for them.
They promise the earth, don't they, until they get in?
Once they get in, they kind of change their tack, so, yeah,
it's a bit of an unknown, really, isn't it, what could happen?
Well, at least now we've got a female Prime Minister.
I know. It shows that times are changing, really, doesn't it?
To help them see out the decade,
the Ellises have invited round some good friends.
-Oh, Party Seven. Do you remember them?
-Watney's Party Seven.
Never ones to miss out on a knees-up,
Polly and I are also popping along.
Are we going to party like it's 1979? Woo!
Oh, it's beautiful in here.
Well, time flies.
How have they been for you? How have you enjoyed the 1970s?
As you know, last era, I was just at the end of my tether.
I spent my whole time in the kitchen, or in the house.
I feel I've been liberated and I've had so much more time
and that time has been spent doing fun things.
-So it's as if leisure activities have kind of taken over
from all that heavy graft that I were doing in previous eras,
so it's been good.
Food... I mean, can we talk about the food a little bit?
How did you feel about the processed food and the ready meals?
Well, as you know, processed food is not really my bag
and we got the full-on '70s processed food experience
Look into my eyes. A little bit of you,
did you kind of enjoy eating all that beige food?
Yeah. Loved it.
If I could sum it up in one word, I'd stay "comfortable".
I feel as though I'm comfortable through this era,
whereas previous eras, I've always been wondering what's coming next.
Despite all this upheaval going on around us and in the country
and politically and economically,
we've still managed to, almost to flourish in the '70s
and that's amazing,
considering that when we've had that kind of political turmoil
in the past, we have really, really felt the impact of it badly.
Have you felt like you've had more time together as a family,
like out on the barge, and chilling out at home?
-How's that been?
-Unfortunately, we have had more time together.
Oh, come now! You've loved it.
I agree, I agree.
Too much time with these two can get me wound up!
What? Get you wound up?
Yes, Freya, me wound up!
Now, I'll bang your heads together, kids.
So are you looking forward to saying goodbye to the '70s
or are you going to say goodbye with some sadness?
I think I'll be saying, this is the first time I'm going to say this,
but I think I'm going to be saying goodbye with an element of sadness.
Like, the Northern Soul I loved, I've loved the food,
I've hardly spent time in the kitchen,
I've got a job as a typist, which, to be honest, I loved.
I'm just hoping, like, the '80s are going to be a bigger improvement.
I'm hoping clothes are going to improve,
but I already know that's not going to happen!
I was going to say, the '80s are on the way.
Are you excited about that?
I'm hoping that there's going to be less brown stuff,
because I can't look at this wallpaper any more!
MUSIC: Get It On by T Rex
I will be sad to say goodbye to the '70s, if I'm honest.
It's just been so much fun.
If the '80s is even half as much fun as the '70s, then bring it on.
The Ellises get their first taste of Thatcher's Britain...
Come and get your spuds. Best in the north! Come on!
Wafers! Wagon Wheels!
..and they see out the millennium in style.
MUSIC: Step On by Happy Mondays
The Ellis family from Bradford are embarking on an extraordinary time-travelling adventure to discover how a transformation in the food eaten in the north of England can reveal how life has changed for northern working-class families over the past 100 years. The family's own home is their time machine, transporting them through a different era each week - from the sparse furnishings and meagre provisions of 1918 to the modern home comforts and bulging freezer of 1999. Guided through their time travel by Bolton-born presenter Sara Cox and social historian Polly Russell, everything the family of five experience, from the jobs they do to the food they eat, is based on historical data and spending surveys of the era. The family live through a time of dramatic change in the industrial north - experiencing everything from the mill to the mine, The Beatles to Thatcher and bland potato pie to the spicy delights of the curry capital of the UK.
For many northern families, the 70s saw a rise in living standards and the smallest gap in income ever recorded between rich and poor. Despite power cuts and strikes, this is a golden era for working-class families, and the Ellises enjoy rare time together, helped by the acquisition of their first ever record player and car!
A visit from the pop man, not to mention Brookside actress Claire Sweeney, bringing her family's speciality 'Scouse' round for tea, puts some sparkle into their kitchen. Mum Lesley tries her hand at being a dinner lady, and the family get their heads round the new monetary system.
They enjoy a family day trip on a canal boat and marvel as they cruise past mills similar to the one they worked in back in 1919. And wrestle with saveloy sausages whilst watching Big Daddy - all as part of their incredible journey back in time through the era 'that taste forgot'!