Britain in the 1970s and 1980s was reflected, energised and transformed by the scintillating one-off dramas that the BBC put out. They still have plenty to teach us The most disconcerting aspect of the BBC Four documentary Drama Out of a Crisis: A Celebration of Play for Today is that it makes it sound as if the 1970s and 1980s were history. Of course they weren’t – I was there, I remember them. They were … just life. But “the consensus politics that had governed the UK since the end of the second world war was unravelling”, Martina Laird’s voiceover informs us. “Britain was struggling with the end of empire.” Time makes fools of us all, especially when you don’t notice it passing. Forty or fifty years ago is the past and, although we’re still technically in the same country, they did do things very differently there. They put on an original (usually) play every week on one of three mainstream channels, for a start, which garnered audiences of millions.
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