- became a modern day enigma when he disappeared in November 1974 following the discovery of the murder of his children's nanny, Sandra Rivett, at the Lucan's family home. The Countess of Lucan later gave a statement naming her husband as the murderer and a few days later Lucan's blood stained car was found abandoned on the south coast. In 1975 an inquest jury named Lucan as the murderer of Sandra Rivett. He was the last person to be named a murderer by this procedure which was later outlawed. The mystery of what happened that night in 1974 and Lucan's subsequent disappearance has never been solved.
THE 3 DAY WEEK
- was one of several measures introduced in the United Kingdom by the Conservative Government to conserve electricity, the production of which was severely limited due to industrial action by coal miners. The effect was that for 2 months in 1974 commercial users of electricity would be limited to three specified consecutive days' consumption each week and prohibited from working longer hours on those days. Services deemed essential (e.g. restaurants, food shops and newspapers) were exempt. Television companies were required to cease broadcasting at 10.30pm during the crisis to conserve electricity.
THE SILVER JUBILEE
- marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the throne. It was celebrated with large-scale street parties and parades throughout the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth throughout 1977, culminating in June with the official "Jubilee Days," held to coincide with the Queen's Official Birthday. The anniversary date itself was commemorated in church services across the land on 6 February 1977, and continued throughout the month.
- won the hearts of the nation when she won the women's singles championship at Wimbledon on 1st July 1977; Jubilee year and Wimbledon's centenary year. It was the last time to date that any Briton has won a singles championship at that tournament. 'Ginny' also won three Grand Slam singles championships and four Grand Slam doubles championships and was also the last Briton to win any Grand Slam singles championship. After retiring from competitive tennis, she coached for four years.
- was a Formula One World Championship racing driver notorious for his unconventional behaviour on and off the track. Hunt became the epitome of unruly, playboy drivers with a controversial lifestyle that included a succession of beautiful women; he was an extensive user of alcohol, cocaine and marijuana and lived an informal life near the beach in Marbella. He was regularly seen attending nightclubs and discos, and was generally the life and soul of the party. Soon after retirement, Hunt became an outspoken and entertaining television commentator for the BBC. Hunt died in 1993 at the age of 45, of a heart attack.
THE WINTER OF DISCONTENT
- an expression popularised by the British media, which refers to the winter of 1978–1979 during which there were widespread strikes by local authority trade unions. Local authorities began to run out of space for storing waste and used local parks under their control attracting rats.
THE MORECAMBE AND WISE SHOW
The 1970s was the golden era for Eric and Ernie. Their Christmas shows became such an institution that few British families would dream of missing them. In 1977 28 million viewers tuned in; half the UK population at that time. Classic sketches often revolved around the guest stars who were sent up unmercilessly but willingly. The most famous example is the 1971 appearance of the London Symphony Orchestra's principal conductor André Previn.
The age of supersonic air travel was launched in 1976 with two simultaneous flights from London and Paris. Concorde was a product of an Anglo-French government treaty. With only 20 aircraft built, their development represented a substantial economic loss, in addition to which Air France and British Airways were subsidised by their governments to buy them. As a result of the type’s only crash on 25 July 2000 and other factors, it was retired in 2003.
It seemed that every kid in 1970 was bouncing up and down on a Space Hopper - introduced to the UK in 1969, by the following summer they became a major craze. They didn’t allow the user to go faster, bounce higher, or run further than they could on foot and they served no practical purpose whatsoever, apart from the fact that they were bouncy. For much of the early 70s, children grew very attached to their orange Hoppers, and spent hours bouncing up and down busy roads. If you didn't have one - you were hopping mad!
THE GENERATION GAME
- was possibly the best-loved Saturday entertainment show in the history of British television and almost certainly Bruce Forsyth's finest weekly hour. Under Brucie's chairmanship the show became part of the classic Saturday TV lineup, alongside the football results, Basil Brush, Doctor Who and Parkinson. And as with all good game shows, Bruce's catchphrases 'Didn't they do well?', 'Good game, good game' and 'Give us a twirl' entered the public consciousness.
THE VIDEO RECORDER
In the late 1970s, the first technically advanced television recorders with accurate electronic timers kickstarted the VCR revolution. By 1979 there were two main competing technical standards, offering incompatible tape cassettes: Sony's Betamax and JVC's VHS battled for sales in high street stores. Betamax was argued by many to be technically more sophisticated but ultimately VHS became the standard.
- was long established as a TV institution in 1974 when Tom Baker took over the role from Jon Pertwee. But for many, Baker's arrival transformed the series from established children's drama to cult status and over the next 7 years the series enjoyed its second golden era. He quickly made the part his own capturing the public's imagination with his eccentric speech and style of dress —particularly his trademark long scarf. To many he appeared as the most 'alien' Doctor of all.
- The naïve, clueless, accident-prone tank top and beret-wearing character, Frank Spencer was brought to life by Michael Crawford after Ronnie Barker and then Norman Wisdom were initially wanted by the BBC for the part. However the choice of Crawford provided the seventies with one of its most iconic comic characters, as many of Frank's mannerisms and turns of phrase were invented by Crawford himself, who also performed his own stunts. The series was voted #22 in the BBC's poll to find Britain's Best Sitcom.
- changed TV police drama by sweeping away the coziness of Z Cars and Dixon of Dock Green to replace them with a gritty, no-nonsense series that looked into the savage world inhabited by real villains, armed robbers, murderers and the hard-nosed coppers who tried to put them away. The men of the Sweeney (Sweeney Todd: cockney slang for Flying Squad, the Met Police's rapid response unit for serious crime) were DI Jack Regan, played by John Thaw and Detective Sgt George Carter, played by Dennis Waterman. The show's dialogue "Get your trousers on, you're nicked" and "Shut it!" passed into popular usage.
- a character in the TV series The New Avengers played by Joanna Lumley was a spy working for British intelligence; a martial arts expert and an expert markswoman she was an Avengers girl in the style of Emma Peel. Lumley is credited with suggesting the character name, after James Purdey and Sons, a famous shotgun manufacturer. Purdey is remembered as much as anything for her famous haircut which came to be in demand at hair salons throughout the country.
- made by Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate is one of the best remembered children's series of the 70s and a perfect example of the stop-frame animation that Postgate was a master of. The fluffy pink cat quickly became a television icon and in 1999 the series came first place in a BBC poll selecting the nation's favourite children's show. In 1987 the University of Kent at Canterbury awarded an honorary degree to Oliver Postgate. He stated that the degree was really intended for Bagpuss, who was subsequently displayed in academic dress.
FLARES AND PLATFORMS
Two fashion trends defined the 70s: flared trousers and platform soles. Flares were derived from the hippy fashion for loon pants of the late 60s. They were worn by men and women. The flare was from the knee and reached exaggerated proportions in the middle years of the 70s. The trousers were often hipsters, sitting on the hips rather than the waist, and tight fitting. The combination of flares and denim made flared jeans the fashion phenomenon of the decade. Platform soles were worn by women and men alike. There were health warnings about damage that could be caused to the back in later life, but the fashion did not last long enough for that to have an effect.
- took to wearing top hats and feather boas on stage as well as putting drops of glitter on each of his cheekbones. His music, as well as his highly original sense of style and extraordinary stage presence, helped create the glam rock era which made him one of the most recognizable stars in British rock music. Glam rock emerged out of the English psychedelic and art rock scenes of the late 1960s and was as much a fashion as a musical sub-genre. Tragically, Bolan died in September 1977, two weeks before his 30th birthday.
- became a major worldwide cultural phenomenon in the mid seventies. For the most part, punk took root in local scenes that tended to reject association with the mainstream. An associated punk subculture emerged, expressing youthful rebellion and was characterized by distinctive styles of clothing and adornment to the body such as piercings and tattoos. Punk exploded on the scene to adverse publicity following the Sex Pistols appearance on a live television show in which they used a barrage of expletives. The Daily Mirror famously ran the headline "The Filth and the Fury!"; which instantly made the band household names.
- became Britain's first female Prime Minister in 1979. She entered Downing Street determined to reverse what she perceived as a precipitous national decline. Her economic policies demanded the sale or closure of state-owned companies and withdrawal of subsidies. Thatcher's popularity sank amid recession and high unemployment. The 1982 Falklands War brought a resurgence of support and she was re-elected in 1983. Her poll tax was widely unpopular and her views on the European Community were not shared by others in her Cabinet. She resigned as Prime Minister in November 1990 after a challenge to her leadership.