The Ellis family experience the chintz of the 80s and swagger of the 90s. From burgers to BMX bikes, this era is one filled with change, chance and character.
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Meet the Ellis family.
Lesley, John, Caitlin, Freya, and Harvey.
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...
Panhaggerty 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 a new week and the Ellises' home has been transformed for a new era.
The garish '70s have made way for the chintzy '80s.
The lounge isn't the only room that's had an update.
The kitchen has also been revamped and has some exciting new gadgets.
I'll be working with social historian Polly Russell
to set the stage for the Ellises' adventures in the '80s and '90s.
Beautiful motor, what is it?
Yeah, small, but when it came out, a luxury car.
The Ellises probably would have had a second-hand version.
Do you think the Ellises are going to love it?
It's the car they've got, so they're going to have to put up with it.
You're really tough. Shall we see how the house is looking?
Yeah, let's have a look.
Oh, Polly look at this.
-What do you think?
-It's basically my childhood home.
Is it? There's so much stuff here.
There's loads of stuff.
But I think, don't imagine that this is because the Ellises are
incredibly flush or awash with money.
Lots of these things have been bought on hire purchase or
So, they may not have paid for these sofas or the hi-fi yet,
it might just be all on the never-never.
I didn't know you could get so many shades of beige.
But I want to show you the most important and exciting thing in the kitchen.
-And that is this.
-What is it?
-The Norfrost chest freezer.
In 1978, only 32% of people had freezers,
but by the mid-1980s it's 76%.
So, most households have got a freezer, and probably a big freezer like this.
Wow, I mean, look.
I used to love Arctic roll.
With the freezer that they had before, in the '70s,
you could maybe put some fish fingers, some peas,
but here, you've got whole meals.
So, this is going to change both what they eat in the home,
but it also changes massively how food is produced.
Handy, isn't it?
If mums are working hard and dads are working, and you get back late,
you can just bung something in the oven from the freezer.
Yeah, this is the decade where, sort of, technology delivers convenience.
Everything the Ellises eat in the era will be inspired by historical
data from the time.
So, this is actually the details of what a family in York were eating
in 1980 over a particular week.
What you see here in their shopping list,
lots and lots of convenience foods.
Look - tinned pears, tinned peaches, tinned strawberries.
I mean, it's gone from, you know, we used to just have a bit of flour,
some potatoes, perhaps a bit of milk.
Now there's loads. Are people better off and buying more food
because of more money?
In the 1950s, people were spending about 30%-33% of
their income on food.
By 1980, they're just spending about 20-22%.
Food prices are going down and also, wages are going up.
Oh, so it's a bit of a boom time for the fridge and freezer and cupboard.
If you're in work and if you're lucky,
but there's a really significant north-south divide that starts to
increase over this decade.
So, in 1980, the average difference between north and south weekly
household incomes was £50. By 1986 it's £100.
At the start of the 1980s, families
in the north were better off than ever before.
Successive governments had pursued full employment,
backed by a comprehensive welfare state,
transforming the lives of ordinary families.
But huge change was on the horizon.
The previous decade had been one of bitter industrial disputes.
1979 alone saw nearly 5 million workers go on strike.
-Out, out, out!
Some thought the unions were hampering the growth of the British economy.
Margaret Thatcher was elected on a promise to cap union power and allow
the free market to flourish.
The way to recovery is through profits.
Good profits today leading to high investment, leading to well-paid jobs,
leading to a better standard of living tomorrow.
Rather than the state playing an active role in the economy,
Thatcher had an alternative vision in which business, family,
and individuals would be encouraged to look after themselves.
For the industrial north, change would come quickly.
As the Ellises are about to discover.
Unaware of what lies ahead,
the family's concerns are much closer to home.
I don't think I'm looking forward to a lot about the '80s,
considering what my hair, make-up and clothing looks like.
I'm going to have to wake up, like, two hours earlier to get my hair
like this. I look like Mickey Mouse.
I've got some really strong and clear memories of the '80s and it's
going to be fun reliving those, I think.
Me and Harvey are playing the role of my dad and me when I was younger,
so this is going to be quite strange for me.
As I walk through the door,
there's going to be, like, one of them telephones, you know,
that you circle it with the number thing.
How have we ended up with a worse car?
Look at that car! We've gone backwards.
-Oh, my God, it's minging!
-We've got fabric seating now,
so that'll be comfortable.
We've got a doorbell!
Oh, my God, blimey look at this!
It looks like somebody's grandma's room.
-Look at the phone.
-I predicted it!
We've got a lock on it to keep the kids off of it.
The Ellises are finally joining the 72% of families in the north
that own their own phone.
-This is sick.
-I'm testing the couch.
-Oh, my God!
-A sandwich maker. Toaster.
Oh, my God, toasting.
We got our pantry back.
-Wafers, Wagon Wheels.
Wow. Look at this.
Cheap convenience foods saw regional favourites fall out of favour
as cupboards and freezers across the country filled up with
the same national brands.
This is like the freezer from hell.
You just like put everything at the top, and you never get to the bottom.
How is this the freezer from hell?
This is the freezer out of anyone's dreams.
I'm actually quite speechless.
What's in our shed?
-Got a BMX!
-Can I have one? They've got two BMX.
I was a girl who wanted a train set and a BMX and I got a doll and a folder.
-Come on, then.
-So were you a tomboy?
-Let's see what you were like.
I'm back to help the Ellises plant their feet firmly on '80s ground.
-Hello, lovely family.
Girls, I've never seen so much blue eyeliner in one room.
You look spectacular.
I'm pretty sure spectacular isn't the correct term.
John, job wise, you're back down t'mine.
-Now, there's a surprise.
You're in for a bit of a bumpy ride with the '80s.
There's a divide going on, like you've not seen since the 1930s.
Lesley, terrible news for you sweetheart.
You've lost your job.
-Your role as a dinner lady is gone.
Instead, a school canteen has been replaced by a sort of, like,
help-yourself cafeteria, and it's been outsourced to a private company.
So, you've got to find a job.
Harvey, you're an international footballer.
-When does it change?
You're not, I fibbed.
OK, you're still at school, basically.
Sorry about that.
This, Ellis family, is your special manual.
Before I go, though, a little treat.
To quote Olivia Newton John, are you ready to get...
# Physical, physical... #
Sorry about that, I won't sing any more.
-I'll just leave you with this. Ta-da! So, dig in, enjoy.
-And I'll see you all soon.
-Thanks very much.
-What are these?
1980 was a huge summer of sport in the UK and the Ellises are about to
relive the year's highlights.
Rising star Ian Botham becomes captain of the England cricket side.
The Borg/McEnroe tennis rivalry captivates the public.
You're totally out.
And at the Moscow Olympics...
Do you move your bum up?
..Alan Wells from Scotland surprises everyone as he wins the 100 metres.
-And away they go. John Ellis, AKA Alan Wells, in lane eight.
Is he going to make it?
Gold medal for John Ellis of Great Britain!
With America boycotting the games following Russia's invasion of
Afghanistan in 1979, the medal table was wide open.
Caitlin, you're miles better.
But politics didn't stop one American super brand
invading the Moscow Olympics with a 10 million sponsorship.
Do you not think it's funny that we're drinking Coke after exercising?
Anyway, cheers from a champion.
Marketing campaigns using sport to sell food,
would become a big feature of the '80s life.
Difficult to tell, isn't it?
Oh, you cannot be serious, man.
Don't upset yourself, old chap.
Have a Smiths crispy tube.
Doing all this exercise seems so pointless when we're eating this.
It's 5pm and Lesley's nipped back to the house to get tea on.
She's recreating a quick and easy meal recorded in the
National Food Survey in 1980 by a 34-year-old housewife from Gateshead.
So, on the menu today, we've got gammon, pineapple rings, fried egg,
frozen chips, frozen peas.
I think probably the last time I had gammon, fried egg, pineapple, chips,
was in the '80s.
The freezer, I have to admit, is quite useful.
Back in 1918, for their first time-travelling meal
of suet pudding, Lesley slaved over the stove for three hours.
OK, there we go.
But not this time.
Hey, presto, tea is going to be on the table in about 20 minutes.
Tonight's super quick meal comes courtesy of one Yorkshire-based
brand's newest innovation.
I heard today that there's chips they've brought out
you don't have to fry. McCain oven chips.
You just put them in the oven and they're supposed to fry themselves.
-By God, that looks good.
-Hey, I thought you had no clothes on, then.
I know, I did!
That does look good.
It's blending in with your skin.
It's very salty.
-The best thing to do with salty gammon is eat it with sweet pineapple.
Are these oven cooked chips?
They are, they were frozen. They're from the freezer.
That's the first time we've had them, isn't it?
To be fair, guys, I do think it was a reasonably quick tea.
I've not had a lot of labour to do to make it.
And if oven chips weren't exciting enough,
there's a revolutionary topping for the dessert.
Why does he make everything so difficult?
Neapolitan ice cream with Ice Magic.
Launched in 1980, Bird's Ice Magic turned ice cream into an event.
-A C, and then an E.
-This is by far the best, because I love ice cream.
And I love chocolate.
Lesley, two more there.
-Look, it's rock-solid.
-I do not want to know what's in this
to make it do that.
We all know when it comes to food, that magic means chemicals.
I'm doing my video diary!
For anyone who knows me, ice cream is, like, my all-time favourite thing.
Like, all-time favourite thing.
Chips, nice, love them. Yeah.
# When you're in love you know you're in love
# No matter what you try to do... #
-Guess who won Eurovision in 1981?
You should know this. A clue...
# You got to speed it up
# And then you got to slow it down... #
Oh, my God!
You know, then?
Do that twirl again.
-You still struggle.
-Why are you falling at the end?
It's easy, you just go....
Yeah, but that is not what Bucks Fizz did,
they ripped the skirt off at the same time.
Bucks Fizz, I know them, Bucks Fizz.
It wasn't just this Eurovision sensation that was proving
popular in 1981.
A newly launched cereal was developed at the Kellogg's factory
near Manchester, and it was snapped off the supermarket shelves.
It tastes like peanut butter.
In the first three months, sales were more than double those predicted.
And it's forever remained a national favourite.
Today, Caitlin and Freya are off to their Saturday job
at a local fast food chain.
I'm not going to lie, I've never heard of it.
Neither have I.
-Hi, I'm Chris Wolfenden.
-Nice to meet you.
I'm the general manager for Wimpy.
Welcome to your first day at work at Wimpy.
A presence on the high street since the 1950s,
by the '80s, Britain's leading burger chain had gone hi-tech.
-The computerised kitchen equipment means that a hamburger bought in
Manchester would be identical to one bought in London.
So, we're going to start with 8g of onions on the base.
Then a piece of cheese. Then get your quarter pounder off the griddle.
Then we're going to get 15g of sauce in a spiral over the burger.
And then finally, 15g of iceberg lettuce
and then put the lid on.
I think because I've always been on the receiving end of the food,
I've never really looked at the way it's made and, like, how precise it
needs to be. I mean, this is the first time I've seen a burger
the whole time, and it's exciting.
There you go, Freya.
I can understand why it was so popular for people in the '80s.
Not only were fast food chains serving identical food,
by the 1980s, American restaurants were using the latest technology to
offer service from identical counters, on identical trays,
in identical packaging.
It was now possible to sit down to exactly the same meal from New York
So, what do you think about the car?
-It's all right, isn't it?
-You like it?
Yeah, it's not too bad.
American influence on our fast food even extended to a more traditional
A drive-through chippy? I mean, what do you do?
Yeah, but what you do about getting salt and vinegar and that?
No, they chuck it in, they go, "Head's up!"
In 1981, a chippy in my hometown of Bolton
installed the American drive-through system,
offering cutting-edge convenience.
-At Henry's automated chippery in Bolton's busy Derby Street,
technology has added several brand-new dimensions to the noble
bag of fish and chips.
Fish and chips, mate, three times.
I'll have some scraps on, please.
Proceed forward to the pick-up window and your food
will be ready for you. Thank you.
That was pretty easy, wasn't it? Oh, can you make sure you put
plenty of salt and vinegar on them?
It's all new to me, is this.
I've never done this before, it's pretty good, isn't it? Cheers, pal.
The service might be American, but the food is straight out of the north.
John orders his chippy tea with a generous helping of scraps.
Crispy bits of batter from the bottom of the fryer.
-Looks like an old petrol station garage.
Good evening, sir. That's 1.99, please.
You put plenty of salt and vinegar on there, didn't you?
-I did, love.
-Thanks, love. Cheers.
I hope they're warm when we get home, these.
It's so easy.
Frees up your time to do other things, so maybe...
..maybe mum's got some washing done and some ironing. Who knows?
At its peak, Bullseye was one of the most popular game shows in the country,
drawing in 15 million viewers at tea time.
-'..popular indoor sport. It's a game about general knowledge and the skill of dart playing.'
Can't believe it, can you?
-'All we've got to do is...'
Did you guys used to watch this?
-I used to, yeah.
-Everybody watched Bullseye.
It's a darts programme.
What's the point in that?
I didn't know they had dishwashers in 1981.
Why ain't we got a dishwasher?
Maybe you couldn't afford a dishwasher on a miner's salary.
-Oh, my God, he's got a car!
-A car! He's got a Fiesta!
It's a new day and a new year.
Lucky John is tucking into a Sunday morning fry up.
Look at that.
Lovely. Can't wait for that.
The rest of the family are enjoying a cereal full of get up and glow.
You're having Ready Brek.
-It's like porridge.
They used to advertise it as food that made you warm inside.
When you walked out, you had like an orange glow.
I feel like I'm not quick to get that from this.
# This is the way to glow to school
# Glow to school glow to school... #
In 1983, this classic '70s advert for Ready Brek was given a makeover.
The kid in the duffel coat was now a break dancing legend.
US pop culture was dominating the Western world and the north was no exception.
If you do the Ready Brek Roadie Rider competition,
you could win a BMX Mongoose.
Like that one.
So the Nottingham manufactured Chopper was out,
and the American BMX was in.
I love BMXing.
-Come in, then.
-Nice and sunny out here today.
From Star Wars and MTV to the king of pop and hip-hop,
it was no wonder we couldn't get enough of the USA.
# Downtown the young ones are growing
# We're the kids in America Whoa
# We're the kids in America Whoa
# Everybody live for the music-go-round
# Na-na-na-na-na-na... #
The Ellises are off out for a special Sunday tea.
It's the first time they've eaten out as a family in this experiment.
In the past, sit down restaurants had been pricey places for those who
could afford to skip a home-cooked meal.
It looks nice.
Hi, guys, how are you?
I've arranged for the Ellises to meet Merseysider
and Michelin star chef, Marcus Waring...
..no stranger to the delights of the all-you-can-eat salad cart.
Harvester was the first restaurant that brought out the idea of open
kitchens, you can see behind you, and salad bars,
where it's unlimited food.
And remember, kitchens were closed doors.
They were brick walls, you never saw the chef.
I feel it's like, I need to put my name on one already.
The biggest draws were the generous mixed grills with early bird special prices.
Look at this one.
Talk about fill your boots.
You do know you've two whole chickens coming, don't you?
The chain still serves a very popular '80s dish.
I've got the traditional 83 combo,
shall we put that one in front of you to start off with?
How are the ribs, Harvey?
1983, I was 13-years-old.
Going out and having a meal,
it was a massive luxury, and when I was your age,
you went out on your birthday.
And you may have got a chance of a couple of restaurants to choose
and that was probably it.
I was thinking this, if I was out with my dad and he thought that he
knew exactly what he was going to be spending. You know,
working-class families that didn't have a lot of spare cash to throw
around are more likely to feel comfortable coming somewhere
like this, where they know it's not going to cost the earth.
Don't know about you guys, but I'm absolutely stuffed.
-And you haven't finished, either.
MUSIC: Karma Chameleon by Culture Club.
I think it's been good as a family.
We've had a really good afternoon, haven't we?
It's the first thing we've done together without arguing,
that's an achievement in itself.
# Karma, Karma, Karma, Karma Karma Chameleon
# You come and go
# You come and go... #
MUSIC: Two Tribes by Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Come on, guys, it's 1984.
-'With the miners' strike now in its 15th week, and no sign of a settlement,
'picket line violence has reached a new peak.'
1984 saw the Government go head-to-head with an industry that
embodied the industrial north and union power.
They took on the miners.
Coal consumption had halved in just two decades,
leading the National Coal Board to announce the closure of 20 pits
no longer considered profitable.
20,000 jobs, and the future of many mining communities, were at stake.
The dispute remains as bitter and unpredictable as ever.
Pickets set up at the gates in the Yorkshire coalfields,
struck in sympathy.
Soon Scotland followed, then Kent and South Wales.
Across the country, the miners went on strike.
Dear Ellises, it's all change in 1984, I'm afraid.
John, you are working at one of the mines threatened with closure
and are now on strike. National strike pay is £15 per week.
You may have noticed your car, sofa, freezer,
and washing machine have disappeared.
Families in the Ellises' position, unable to make payments on goods
bought on credit, were often forced to return them.
And other staples are in short supply.
Look how it's grim.
So, why don't you just get a job somewhere else?
It's not as easy as that, is it?
He could still be working in the pit.
-But he's chosen to strike.
I'm not saying work in the pit,
I'm saying don't strike at all and just get a new job.
He's taking a stand...
With all my colleagues.
This stand has cost us a sofa.
Would you go back to work?
It's... It's a hard one to call, that, isn't it?
I wonder how many families had that discussion back then.
Every family. If you decide to cross the picket line,
our lives are going to be hell.
All of us, it will affect all of us.
If you decide to carry on striking...
All our lives are going to be hell.
-So, either way...
It's Hobson's choice.
I think whatever the decision that, like,
the miner in the family wants to make, the family should support it.
Strikers like John headed to the picket line
which saw increasing heated clashes between police and miners.
Most memorably at Orgreave in South Yorkshire...
..where 55 miners were arrested.
Whilst the wider dispute played out...
..many miners and their families struggled financially.
Oh, tell you what there is.
We have some cheese.
Have we got that grill?
Yeah, we've got the sandwich toaster.
The bailiffs didn't come and take that.
In 1984, the weekly food shop cost an average of £35.
With just £15 to cover every expense,
putting food on the table became a daily challenge.
I wish someone looked at me the way I look at this cheese sandwich.
Strikes saw soup kitchens appear in Yorkshire for the time in 60 years.
-Once only 30 people arrived each day.
Now over 4,000 meals a week are served.
Well, if we didn't have this, we wouldn't have anything to eat really.
Doesn't the fact that you're so short of food now make you feel
inclined to go back to work?
No, no way. No, I'd rather starve than go back to work.
As well as soup kitchens, women in pit villages organised food
collections to share with families of striking miners.
-Hello, Mrs Ellis.
Steve Maitland is a retired miner from using Easington Colliery in County Durham.
So, we know you're going through hard times at the moment,
so we thought this might help you out.
Thank you so much.
Like many striking miners, he received food parcels during the protests.
The food parcel is actually being donated from the Russian miners.
-So, you might find a little bit of difficulty in the reading of
the tins, but you'll grasp it once you open them.
We got some of that food, and there was no dates or times or nothing
on them, expiry dates.
And people weren't sure what they were going to be consuming or the age.
-That was real life.
Lorry loads of supplies were sent to Britain as a gesture of solidarity
from communist countries around the world.
Miners' wives had to interpret the contents of these mysterious tins,
using their imagination to put a meal on the table.
When there would be a half decent meal on the table,
-I would say, "How the hell has she done this?"
-Yeah. Creating magic.
Out of nothing.
There would be panackelty, there would be a broth.
What's a panackelty?
Panackelty is potatoes, sliced, placed with corned beef.
We had that in the '60s, I think, and they called it a panhaggerty.
There is panackelty and panhaggerty,
-which is two different, slightly two different dishes, yes.
Being able to feed the family could mean the difference between
staying on the picket or being forced to return to work.
Some lads nearly cracked. They wanted to go back and it was the
wives that actually stopped them.
So, it was hard, it was an experience.
I would go through it again.
-Because it was right.
-It was tough, though, wasn't it?
As the strike turned from days to weeks to months,
the task of the miner's wife became ever more crucial.
I can't read that, that is unreadable.
-What does that mean?
-I don't think they're tomatoes.
So, Lesley is determined to put a good meal on the table.
All she has to do is figure out what's in the tins.
Gravy and carrots.
There's beans from Hungary...
It's like minestrone soup.
Oh, I love minestrone soup.
..tinned beef from Russia...
It smells like fish and looks like corned beef.
..and, courtesy of the French...
-Is it, actually?
Put it back in, get rid of it.
That's disgusting. Isn't even meat.
Doing the best she can with the ingredients she has,
Lesley puts together a panackelty with a continental twist.
At tea time...
I think you've all done a good job with this,
under the circumstances.
Harvey's got a cob on.
This would be so much better if the potatoes were cooked properly.
It's all right, it gives it a bit of crunch.
-I don't like it.
-I think it's really, really tasty.
Tasty in the wrong way.
So, you know, I would've preferred a bit more appreciation over this.
Because we have hardly any food all,
and we've managed to rustle something up.
I think the fact that you don't like it is irrelevant.
Like, at first I didn't understand the severity of it, and now,
like, I think I was just being really narrow-minded.
And now that I've come to my senses, I realise how big a deal it was.
No sofa, no car, empty pantry.
It was so bizarre, like,
I didn't realise how much luxury we had until it was all taken away.
After a year of intense hardship for 130,000 miners and their families,
the union narrowly voted to return to work,
ending Britain's longest industrial dispute.
Within a decade,
the number of mines in the UK would shrink from 133 to 32,
all of which would be privately owned.
For those who still had a job, the return to normality began.
We've got a washer and freezer back.
Yeah, I know.
We've got some more food in the pantry, as well.
We're not back up to scratch yet, but we're getting there.
The sofa might be back,
but many families were saddled with bills and mortgage arrays.
What are you making?
Corned beef plate pie.
What's a plate pie?
It means you make it in a plate.
It's not got loads of filling, but it's still good.
It's sort of ironic that you're making corned beef pie.
-Because I'm reading an interview with Morrissey...
..and his album, Meat Is Murder.
Freya, could you be a vegetarian, do you think?
-What would you miss, though?
While the kids settle in for a TV dinner,
John and Lesley are meeting some mates for an afternoon out.
They're off to the dogs.
-Good to see you, mate.
Rearing and racing greyhounds had been part of life in pit towns for
over a century.
In the 1980s,
the track was still a place to meet and forget the worries of the day.
When they're going round here, they're so quick, though,
Come on, number four!
-They are so fast.
-It's coming up on the outside, Lesley.
-Come on, number four!
Come on, number one!
-Oh, number four.
I should've put £2 on yours.
I should've put £2 on instead of £1.
Is that what you put on it?
Last of the big spenders!
It's time for a pie, and the pints are on the winner.
Both, please, yeah, I like a bit of both, yeah.
-You're having gravy?
-Yeah, I want to have a bit of both.
-On pie and peas.
This track in the pit town of Kinsley, West Yorkshire,
is owned by ex-miner John Curran.
He bought it in the year that the miners' strike ended.
The following year his pit closed and the track became the family business.
His brother, Alan, also a former miner,
still brings his dog to the stadium.
It's a mining village, so every miner had a greyhound.
They either had a greyhound in the back of his yard or a pigeon
in the back of his yard.
We've always had a greyhound in my house when we fetched up.
And like I said, I was fetched up in a big family, eight brothers, and...
Did you have a massive house, then?
With maybe four or five greyhounds in your house.
And they had better space than we had, love.
We had a rug on the bed, they had a blankie.
-I love that.
The hard thing what gets me, like I say, is I look up there
and that pit's gone.
You know what I mean?
And that, that was the point here, were there.
It weren't the greyhound racing, it were that pit.
I didn't care what they did with me, as a miner,
I believed in what I believed in.
And it were nothing to do with money, what I were fighting for.
I were fighting for t'next generation to have a job.
This guy was so interesting and he talked about the decimation of
his town when the mine shut and how greyhound racing is still there and
it's part of the mining heritage.
Sport had always been well loved in the North.
But on the 11th of May, 1985, one event would break the heart of Bradford.
-At least 40 people are now known to have died in a huge fire,
which engulfed the main stand during a match
at Bradford City Football Club this afternoon.
The final count of the injured has yet to be made,
but police say they expect the figure to be more than 200.
On the day the club was celebrating promotion to the second division,
In total, 56 people lost their lives in the fire.
There's an article in here, it says, "Britain's national game
"is wallowing in the lowest reputation it has ever held."
The disaster prompted a passionate debate in the press about the future
of what had always been a working-class game.
"British football is in crisis, a slum sport played in slum stadiums
"and increasingly watched by slum people who deter decent folk from turning up."
And that's after the Bradford fire disaster?
That's a week after the Bradford fire disaster.
"Death on the Bradford scale has brought home brutally just what an
"appalling state football is in.
"The game needs cleaning up and revitalizing every bit as much as
"the rest of Victorian industrial Britain."
All right, again, yeah.
Is this a southern magazine?
-No, it's the Sunday Times.
-The Sunday Times.
So, where is that based?
-Of course it's based in London,
it's not going to be based up north, is it?
Why would you turn a disaster and a situation where people are clearly
going to be upset... People's families were in that disaster.
People watched people suffer and to make it out like it was, like,
"Oh, it's a lesson learned.
"At least it's happened so people realise that you're all slum people."
Like, you don't write things like that.
If anything, that article just makes me proud to be from Bradford.
Because why would I want to be living in London with people that write stuff like that?
# Everybody take a stand
# Join the caravan of love
# Stand up, stand up, stand up
# I'm your brother... #
-Guys, it's 1987.
In the years since the miners' strike,
39 pits had closed and almost 50% of miners had lost their jobs.
John is now unemployed.
My mum used to eat that.
My mum did as well.
94% of all job losses since 1979...
Look at that.
Job losses below the great divide, just 6%.
That's shocking though, isn't it?
To help tackle the issue, the Employment Secretary, Norman Tebbit,
launched a new scheme under the slogan,
"inside every unemployed person there's a self-employed one."
Enterprise Allowance Scheme.
Congratulations, your application to set up a jacket potato business
through the Government's Enterprise Allowance Scheme
has been accepted.
So I've gone from t'pit to a jacket potato business.
So, what you're telling us is we're just going to be eating jacket
-potatoes all the time.
-I'm going to have jacket potatoes
-coming out of our chuffin' ears.
Whoo! I love jackets.
In a blaze of enthusiasm for free enterprise,
the Government is offering a strong incentive to help jobless people
To encourage people to start their own businesses,
those on the scheme got £40 a week allowance instead of £30 a week dole.
All they needed to get started was a grand in the bank.
Me, Vic, it's my own business, isn't it?
Enterprise Allowance Scheme.
For the Ellises, their £1,000 would've helped them get the
necessary kit to kick off their entrepreneurial venture.
Oh, my God!
-What the chuff is this?
I think we need a bigger one. I'm going big, me.
This is the start of our empire.
All right, calm down.
It's just the right size for you, Lesley.
In the '80s, the rapid expansion of the Spudulike chain saw jacket
potatoes become a feature of every high street.
John and Lesley are making their own fillings on a slightly smaller scale.
We couldn't do this without doing chilli cos it's Johnny's, like,
Yeah, signature dish.
We've chosen cheese, beans, and coleslaw.
Come and get your spuds! Best in the north! Come on!
Oh, it's lovely in here. Clamp it all down, Lesley.
-I don't think...
It must've been hard, because they've got to know about marketing,
they've got to have a strategy, they've got to have a business plan.
Best in the north, come on!
The Enterprise Allowance gave new entrepreneurs like John and Lesley
a one-day induction into running their own business.
Then they were on their own.
We can have them on the top there, other side.
I don't know quite when the customers are coming,
but when they come, they're going to love them.
Is that my mum?
-Are you sure?
-Oh, it is, yeah.
-What the hell is she doing here?
Have you sold anything?
-Do you want one?
-We've got plenty of stock left.
I can't pay you for it, because I haven't got my handbag.
We don't have a credit facility!
We don't have a credit facilities!
In 1987, 45,000 new businesses started.
You need a driving licence for this, don't you?
Over 80% would still be going the following year,
although I'm not sure the Ellises' fortune lies in jacket spuds.
While John and Lesley face an uncertain future in the north,
much of the south from city traders to property investors benefit from
booming financial and service sectors and celebrate a third
Conservative election win.
# And they promised us the world... #
-Looking down over the City of London,
-where the yuppies live.
Joan Bakewell has been talking to some of them.
-Are you celebrating?
-Yes, we are, yes.
I mean, financially, things are going well, very steady, good, yeah, no change.
-Happy with that.
-They're just drinking champagne in the street.
It's the safest and steadiest the country has been for years.
-Keep it on an even keel.
-We've never had it so good.
# Friends tell me I am crazy
# That I'm wasting time with you... #
A new year brings with it a new decade.
New car, new sofa, and new tunes.
# On one, in one, did one, do one
# Did one, have one, in one have one... #
Oh, sounds good, that, doesn't it?
New jobs were also on the scene in the world of retail and leisure.
Although the loss of traditional industries would continue to impact
the north, unemployment had at least halved.
The Ellis family can afford to splash out at the supermarket,
enjoying the latest in food technology.
-Do you know what?
It's easy, you just put it in a microwave.
Who's going first on microwave?
Harvey goes first, Caitlin goes second,
I'll go third, mum goes forth, dad goes fifth.
By the mid-90s, 35% of our grocery bill was going on convenience food.
With cooked, what's five times six, Harvey?
-You'd be better getting fish and chips.
-Five times six, that's 30.
So, that's half an hour to cook the food.
Right, first two are done.
Right, I think they are.
-No, just put them on for longer.
-Just be careful.
Put them on for two minutes.
I can't be bothered to wait any longer,
and Caitlin has had two slices of bread.
So, we're going to share ours down t'middle.
This isn't right convenient when there's five of you, is it?
Microwaves are useless.
Do you know what I mean? You might as well as just cook it all in the
oven, and make one big dish.
It would make more sense, because it's reducing family time and I
can't believe I'm saying this,
because I'm not about family time, but, like...
MUSIC: Supersonic by Oasis
# I need to be myself...
The north has a new musical icon.
In 1994, Oasis took the Manchester music brand global
with 15 million sales of their debut album.
-See you later.
-See you later.
-See you later.
-Your top feels nice.
In Manchester itself,
abandoned mills and warehouses were reincarnated as bars and clubs.
MUSIC: Voodoo Ray by A Guy Called Gerald
Tonight, I'm meeting Freya and Caitlin for a night of '90s music.
Oh, my gorgeous girls, you're here.
Come on, welcome, then, to the early '90s and to the former home of the
legendary Factory Records.
The early '90s in Manchester, or Madchester as it was known,
was the coolest place to be, basically, on the earth.
Suddenly, as a teenager, I was your age,
it was cool to be from the north and it was cool to be from nearly
Manchester, like I was.
And you're now going to meet a man who was right in the thick of all
MUSIC: Step On by Happy Mondays
Hey, girls. Hugs, hugs.
# Gonna stamp out your fire... #
Salford born Shaun Ryder's band, Happy Mondays, were one of the
latest groups to make being northern part of their appeal.
# You're a man... #
You're twistin' my melon man, you speak so hip.
Tell us, Shaun, how did the Happy Mondays start, then?
Well, we was on the dole,
and then we got introduced to the Enterprise Allowance Scheme.
So, basically, you got to start a band and we had to start a spud business?
Yeah, they're selling jackets spuds.
Well, we was on it with fishmongers and shoe salesman.
So, how do you know that?
Because we all had to sit round the table and talk about our businesses
and our business plan.
Go on, then, pitch us Happy Mondays.
What did you say?
We did have to come up with a business plan.
We did have to, you know, give our projections and what we were going
to do for the next so many years and stuff like that.
So, what was the impact on the north, do you think?
Manchester went really from sort of late '70s black and white into
-Can you see and appreciate the impact you would
-have had on the young people?
-Oh, absolutely, yeah, more than ever now.
At the time, you don't really. I didn't really appreciate it.
I was doing it and getting on with it, and now I really appreciate it.
In our small way, it was like The Roses and The Mondays,
it was sort of like The Beatles and The Stones going on Top Of The Pops
for a lot of young kids.
What does "twisted my melons" mean?
There was a Steve McQueen documentary on television
where Steve McQueen's talking to one of the film producers and he's
telling him that he's twisting his melon, which he's doing the his head in.
See, that's like, everyone knows that lyric.
Everyone knows that, it's like anthem.
-A big chunk of history stood here drinking an alcopop.
I think a "cheers" is in order.
-Yes, definitely. Cheers, Sean.
# He's going to step on you... #
Yeah, I used to go to Hacienda.
-In the '90s.
-Where is that?
-Don't you know?
-I've never been.
I know you haven't, it weren't really your scene, were it?
After the club, the girls are in need of some grub.
-You all right?
-Hi, I think we'll have two chip naans.
Manchester is home to the largest Pakistani population in Europe.
New arrivals to the city opened late-night takeaways and put their
own twist on the northern chip butty.
It has become a bit of a local classic.
-Thank you very much.
To say it's just like a naan and chips, this is really nice.
# More or less
# It's just a change in me
# Something in my liberty
# Oh, my, my... #
In 1997, Labour returned to power drawing a line under 18 years of
Conservative rule which had changed life in the industrial north forever.
Hey, do you want a cup of tea?
Yeah, I'll have a cuppa. Why is it in a triangle?
It's a pyramid, actually.
Pyramid tea bags came out in '99.
And they were, like, revolutionary.
-According to the advert,
it allowed space for the tea leaves to circulate and it makes a stronger
cup of tea quicker.
It's the last year of the millennium,
and the last day of the Ellises' time-travelling experiment.
Tonight, there's a special millennium celebration planned.
For the party, Lesley's preparing my all-time favourite -
Lancashire black peas.
This warming treat is made by boiling up black beans with plenty
of salt and vinegar.
Coming from Yorkshire, Lancashire black peas, I'd never heard of.
And so I went and spent Bonfire Night with some Lancastrian friends.
They were completely gobsmacked that we'd never heard of it.
None of us.
This is just commonplace for them,
so I reckon Sarah's going to like these, being a Bolton girl.
To mark the end of the millennium, the Ellises and their friends have
gathered at Crag Delph Nook in Yorkshire.
I knew you were here!
On New Year's Eve 1999, 4,000 beacons were lit across the country
to welcome in the new millennium.
One of them was here.
Polly and I are joining them for the big send-off.
What a beautiful place to celebrate the turn of the millennium
and the century. Listen, we've got black peas on tonight.
-What are these?
-I saved them for you.
-You know, we used to always have these on
Bonfire Night, my mum used to make them.
-But this is, like, proper sort of northern
-regional food, isn't it?
And in '80s and '90s, you haven't had very much of that, have you?
We've had very little.
The only time we actually ate a kind of regional dish,
was 1984 when we had no food.
And we just kind of recreated a panhaggerty that we had in the '60s
-with what we had.
-This whole experiment,
has it made you feel differently about being from the north,
-being a Northerner?
-I think the two things that have really stood out
to me throughout all this,
has being working in the textile industry and working down the mine.
When I worked down the mine,
that'll stick in my mind for the rest of my life.
It was just like, I felt as though I worked there day in, day out, for
many, many years and that's proud to be northern,
because that's where the industry was.
And sadly today, all the industry has gone away.
I identify as a Yorkshire person more than northern.
It's never occurred to me to identify as a Northerner.
But, at the end of the day,
we are from the United Kingdom and we should all be together.
That is attitude we want going into the new millennium, isn't it?
-Ten, nine, eight, seven...
It's time to mark the end of the millennium and celebrate the end of
the Ellises' time travelling.
# For auld lang syne
# We'll take a cup o' kindness yet
# For the sake of auld lang syne. #
The Ellis family have fast-forwarded through 80 years of history.
They've experienced a huge transformation in the lives of
working families in the north.
And nowhere has that change been more evident than in the food that
they've been eating.
Every morsel has told a tale about the changing the lives of working
families, who have gone from bare cupboards to times of plenty
-and back again.
What has never changed is the determination, resourcefulness,
and good humour of the northern folk.
From a dripping butty to microwave meals,
their food and fortunes have been ever-changing.
Living through the century, we've been like a feather in the wind.
It's just, we'd blown in whichever direction social policy has led us.
You're just walking a tight rope,
you're either going to go one way or the other.
The one thing I'm going to take into real life is to spend more time with dad.
We've gone go-kart riding, we've gone to play football,
we've done 37 kick-ups together.
And that feeling is so good.
I feel like I can build a stronger connection with my dad.
It's never nice to see that you might go hungry,
to see that your cupboards are empty,
so I feel like having the food in your pantry is just like a safety
blanket, and it's kind of stepping out of your comfort zone
when it's not abundant.
You can't always rely on things being good,
you've also got to be able to confront the bad things as well.
There's always somebody worse off than what you are.
And wherever you can help people out, then try and do that.
Because, you know, you never know whether that might hit you one day.
Next time... Oh, it stinks, is that you that smells?
Or is it that?
Oh, it's you!
The family discovers how, in the 21st century...
Every bite, you get a different flavour come through.
..the north is harnessing its past.
-Like little Bo Peep.
-Jam me down the street. See ya!
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 Ellises 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.
The Ellises 80s home is a homage to chintz and magnolia with the exciting addition of some new technology: their first telephone, a chest freezer and that 80s kitchen essential - a toastie maker! Whilst traditional food still takes precedence at home, 1983 sees a revolution in eating out for the family who enjoy a feast with top chef Marcus Wareing at a chain which launched that year - Harvester. The continuing influence of food from across the Atlantic means the girls get a job flipping burgers at Wimpy, while the boys pick up tea at a drive-thru fish and chip shop.
With Margaret Thatcher in power, the north experiences turbulent times. The family support dad Jon as he goes on strike from his job down the mine, and their bare kitchen cupboards are supplemented with a surprising Soviet food parcel. High unemployment across the region sees a widening of the north-south divide, although new government policies give enterprising northerners the chance to start their own business. Jon and Lesley get a jacket potato van and soon realise that owning your own business means working come rain or shine. But it's not all work work work. With an outing to the dog races, BMX riding and Bullseye on the telly, there's still plenty of time for fun.
By the 90s, the north is back on the map as the Manchester music scene captures the nation and everyone wants a slice of northern cool. The girls dance the night away with Manchester's very own Sean Ryder and experience the boom of late-night kebab shops whilst indulging in a chip naan.
To celebrate the end of their time-travel journey, the family gather their nearest and dearest for a millennium party. With a beer in hand, black peas in their bellies and a firework display, the Ellises are ready to party like it's 1999!