1980s | the Decade that changed the world

27 Feb 2023


  • The Arcade game Pac-Man is released
  • Rubik’s Cube craze begins
  • University tuition fees introduced for international students
  • Christmas number 1: There’s No-One Quite Like Grandma by St Winifred’s School Choir


  • 15% cut to Higher Education funding
  • Royal Wedding of Charles and Diana
  • Christmas number 1: Don't You Want Me by The Human League


  • The Falklands War 
  • E.T. opens and immediately becomes a blockbuster
  • Christmas number 1: Save Your Love by Renee and Renato


  • Margaret Thatcher wins landslide second term as Prime Minister
  • Christmas number 1: Only You by The Flying Pickets


  • UK unemployment levels hit their peak at 3 million people
  • The Miners' Strike begins
  • Further major cuts to Higher Education funding
  • Christmas number 1: Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Band Aid


  • The first mobile phone calls in the UK are made 
  • A pint of beer costs 77p
  • Les Misérables opens in the West End 
  • Margaret Thatcher becomes the first post-war Prime Minister to be publicly refused an honorary degree by Oxford University
  • Christmas number 1: Merry Christmas Everyone by Shakin’ Stevens


  • The word “Walkman” is added to the Oxford English Dictionary
  • GCSE exams replace O Levels and CSEs 
  • Major industries are privatised
  • Christmas number 1: Reet Petite by Jackie Wilson


  • Thatcher wins third general election for the Conservatives 
  • Christmas number 1: Always on My Mind by The Pet Shop Boys


  • Academic tenure abolished in the Education Reform Act
  • Ford Escort is UK's best-selling car
  • Christmas number 1: Mistletoe and Wine by Cliff Richard


  • Tim Berners-Lee invents the World Wide Web
  • The Berlin Wall falls
  • Christmas number 1: Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Band Aid II

Starter for Ten plays 29 Feb – 30 Mar