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George 1978
29-03-2019, 01:41
I always thought if you happened to be a person who was famous, the 1980s was the perfect decade to be a celebrity in - I have always felt growing up that society, mostly in television, sport, politics etc, there really was a lot of "community spirit" that celebrities lived under - one happened to be famous for doing what they were good at, and because of being famous, they got paid a lucrative amount - not bad for an era where people were successful at making lots of money from the outset.

A lot of famous people had their own niches - Steve Davis - snooker; Russell Grant - astrology; Ian Botham - cricket; Shakin' Stevens - pop music and wearing jeans; Claire Rayner - agony aunt: Paul Daniels - magic; David Bellamy - Botany; Margaret Thatcher - politics; Jimmy Cricket - wearing his wellies the wrong way round; Brian Clough - Nottingham Forest, etc.

I have always assumed that a celebrity was a celebrity back in the 1980s if they had at least one of these things happen to them:

1) They were portrayed as a Spitting Image puppet.
2) They were the star guest on This is Your Life (mostly hosted by Eamonn Andrews reading the Big Red Book), or they had featured as a guest on someone else's edition.
3) They sat on the TV-am sofa at least once.
4) They were a guest on Wogan at least once.
5) They were seen at least once in the audience of an edition "An Audience With", unless they were the star guest on stage.
6) They were on the panel on editions of Blankety Blank or Punchlines - mostly the first one of those two shows.
7) They were on the panel of the Thames "What's My Line" (if they were not the star guest during the "blindfold" round).
8) They supported Margaret Thatcher at the 1983 and 1987 General Elections, and by implication they were Conservative Party supporters.
9) They were impersonated by Mike Yarwood (Rory Bremner didn't find his own niche properly until the early 1990s).
10) They were part of an "all-star cast" in a comedy drama or film.
11) They were featured in at least one outtake seen on It'll be Alright on the Night.
12) They lost most of their earnings in the 1992 Recession, and became a "where are they now?" person.
13) They allowed Loyd Grossman to look around their house for Through the Keyhole.
14) They were continuity announcers for a whole month on Children's ITV, if they had presented or starred in a children's TV series on ITV at the time.
15) They had a novelty hit in the charts, mostly for charity (cf Russ Abbot; neil [sic] from The Young Ones; Keith Harris and Orville, etc).
16) They appeared in that year's Royal Variety Performance.
17) They performed as contestants in celebrity versions of game shows at Christmas.
18) They had a well-known catchphrase (which was probably repeated in the school playground).
19) They probably ended up doing local radio or regional news programmes by the late 1990s, Alan Partridge style.
20) They still perform ironically at Pontins or Butlins, birthday parties, and also at university dos.
21) They haven't been seen on TV since 1991. but they still perform in pantomimes, summer seasons and sea cruises every year.
22) They were famous for being in character as someone.
23) They had a prop sidekick (emu, ventriloquist's dummy, soft toy, dustbin, etc).
24) They appeared in TV commercials either as themselves or in character.
25) They are now in their 60s and 70s if they are still around these days.
26) They were implicated by Operation Yewtree nearly 30 years later, (but enough said about that).
27) They had their own show on BBC Radio 2.
28) They supported Manchester United, (says a Nottingham Forest supporter).
29) Erů
30) That's it. (cf Private Eye).

So many famous people fall into one of those categories, no doubt - if I was looking back at the 2010s, no doubt that taking part in Reality TV programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing, or I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! would feature prominently in the above list.

As I grew up in the 1980s as a child, the familiar names and faces that we saw on TV, be it as an actors, game show hosts, newsreaders, darts players, etc, felt like a community that nearly everyone in Britain was familiar with, and it made the decade so special and magical, especially the Christmases where we had Christmas specials that they appeared in, mostly for charity. It was so great to hear or see so many 1980s celebrities in "scaled down" roles in the late 1990s and 2000s, but are so welcome, such as Sarah Kennedy from Game from a Laugh doing the early show on Radio 2, or Gordon Burns of The Krypton Factor seen reading the BBC North West News. I would even include people like Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Regan and Robert Runcie within that scope as well - they were the "straight" people to most of the others. The TV-am sofa and Wogan was such a huge showcase for a lot of these stars, and I suppose that the occupational hazard was the fact that many of them got a bit of over-exposure at the time as a result.

I might be looking through my Dolland and Aitchison rose-tinted spectacles at my childhood from over 30 years ago, but the famous people who we saw on TV was amazing, and to think that if they had not had become famous in the first place, we would have missed a good chunk of all this, and many of them weren't even discovered on talent shows in the first place.

I bet that the 1980s was the best decade to be famous in - or was it?

Mulletino
29-03-2019, 01:50
I guess everyone knew ALL the stars of the time, you wouldn't have mentioned a celeb in those days with the other person now knowing who you meant. I guess we had a much narrower realm of popular entertainment then, 4 TV channels (well 3 for most of it) who seemed to program their shows around each other rather than compete, so everyone watched the same stuff pretty much. Whereas now there are so many channels and forms of entertainment there is no way everyone can keep up with everyone on them.

Celebs were more than celebs back then, they were "household names" as we called them and as you said, it did seem to bring people closer together rather than fragmented as we are today. Was a great time to be alive, i'm so glad i was part of it.

Clare
29-03-2019, 11:32
When children's presenters didn't have to be really young and trendy: Johnny Morris, Norris McWhirter, Wilf Lunn, John Craven...

Richard1978
29-03-2019, 14:46
Here's a few more:

Appear on a kids show (the Saturday morning ones mostly, or the likes of Crackerjack) & have the mickey taken out of them by the hosts & pretend they were in on the joke.

Appear on Pebble Mill At One & badly sing an easy listening version of a current hit.

If they were a sports personality they had a summer filler series giving tips on how to perform better in their particular sport.

Become famous on a BBC show, then defect to ITV & pretend it's not for a bigger pay cheque.

Have Harry Enfield base a character around them in the early 1990s.

Appear on a chat show & baffle an American fellow guest who has no idea who they are, but are acting like a big name, leading to some awkward moment for the host.

In the late 1980s jump on the green issues bandwagon by getter their car converted to unleaded & make sure a news crew is recording it.

In the mid 1990s appear on Fantasy Football League to boast about being the sole celebrity fan of their home club, but can't stand being sent up by the hosts.

Be a winner of the Golden Egg Award on The Late Late Breakfast show for an on screen ****-up on a BBC show.

Become a Radio 1 DJ & an early victim of the Bannister axe, only to end up on Virgin Radio or a bigger local station a few months later.

Getting in a court battle with a tabloid paper & losing.

Get a brief chat show with guests even lower down the fame ladder & a baffling premise that turns the viewers away.

Have a sort lived ITV sitcom where they play themselves & the plot lines & jokes are wobblier than the sets.

tex
29-03-2019, 17:32
unfortunately you dont have to do an awful lot or even have to be good at whatever you do to be labelled a sleb these days, if you are happy to forego your dignity in the name of entertainment aka love island, im a celebrity ,big brother etc than you too can have your fifteen minutes. :(

Richard1978
29-03-2019, 18:51
A few more I thought up:

Being in a drinking or golfing clique

Starring in a remake of an American sitcom that wasn't that good to start with

Having an "er indoors" wife that stayed out the limelight or a young often ethnic partner who was almost as much in the public eye

Being a fan of American culture & bosting about it when being interviewed

Becoming famous in an odd way liked surviving a disaster or winning a quiz against the odds

Being a child star & appearing on all the usual kids shows for ages afterwards

Being a candidate in an election on a flimsy platform

Saying they will leave the country if there's another Labour government, but didn't move in 1997

Getting a boost of publicity during a TV strike when the usual staff wouldn't cross a picket line.

Having a hobby that they seemed to be more dedicated to than their actual job

If a musical act being tipped towards the end of the decade as being a sound for the 1990s, but fading away while the Berlin Wall was still intact

Being billed as the British... in comparison to an American or Australian star, or else a New... for a star of the 1960s or 70s

When a footballer playing for a home nation other than the one they were born in

Being a "professional" person from where they were born, ie a professional Northerner, Cockney etc.

Coasting on the success of a more talented parent / sibling / friend.

George 1978
29-03-2019, 21:31
When children's presenters didn't have to be really young and trendy: Johnny Morris, Norris McWhirter, Wilf Lunn, John Craven...

That's right - I preferred those sort of presenters who probably did jobs such as teaching prior to entering into television - "the tweed jacket with leather patches" people if you like. David Bellamy and Johnny Ball are other examples. This is how Blue Peter has changed since the Christopher Trace / Singleton / Noakes era of the 1960s - from the Mark Curry era onwards, I doubt that many of them would fit into that category. Although they are not presenters, many of the actors who play Grange Hill teachers in character could even fit into that category.

It's another reason why I enjoy the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures between Christmas and New Year - the lecturers often resemble that sort of person, although sadly, even that seems to lack a little bit in recent years. It disgusts me that it isn't popular enough for BBC 2 anymore.

George 1978
29-03-2019, 21:46
Great list, Richard! Especially the one referring to leaving the country if Labour won in 1997 - Jim Davidson, Frank Bruno, Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Paul Daniels were four celebrities who mentioned that they were going to do just that, I believe. I think that as the list was from a 1980s perspective, 1997 was two General Elections away into the future to consider those things!

In addition to being a guest on Wogan as I said in my opening gambit, they could have also hosted it for a week when Tel was on one of his dozen annual holidays!

George 1978
29-03-2019, 22:09
And they could have been the star castaway on Desert Island Discs which would have been presented by Michael Parkinson after Roy Plomley's death - which reminds me of all of those guests on Una and Lionel's team on Give us a Clue.

I have always assumed that all celebrities (B and C-list at least) all know each other, and they often professionally "bump into each other" many times as guests on different shows as well as working together - it's just the ordinary members of the public which seem to be anonymous to them - a bit like the "teacher and pupil" relationship in a way.

Richard1978
29-03-2019, 23:54
Great list, Richard! Especially the one referring to leaving the country if Labour won in 1997 - Jim Davidson, Frank Bruno, Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Paul Daniels were four celebrities who mentioned that they were going to do just that, I believe. I think that as the list was from a 1980s perspective, 1997 was two General Elections away into the future to consider those things!

In addition to being a guest on Wogan as I said in my opening gambit, they could have also hosted it for a week when Tel was on one of his dozen annual holidays!

Thanks, I was trying to put things in a 1980s context about a Labour victory in a general election, when it looked like a future Labour government would put a lot of tax on high earners.

This was when anything like New Labour would have been pie in the sky thinking.

tex
30-03-2019, 12:17
[QUOTE=George 1978;237536]Great list, Richard! Especially the one referring to leaving the country if Labour won in 1997 - Jim Davidson, Frank Bruno, Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Paul Daniels were four celebrities who mentioned that they were going to do just that, I believe. I think that as the list was from a 1980s perspective, 1997 was two General Elections away into the future to consider those things!

In addition to being a guest on Wogan as I said in my opening gambit, they could have also hosted it for a week when Tel was on one of his dozen annual holidays![/QUO

George 1978
30-03-2019, 20:37
Thanks, I was trying to put things in a 1980s context about a Labour victory in a general election, when it looked like a future Labour government would put a lot of tax on high earners.

This was when anything like New Labour would have been pie in the sky thinking.

If you look at those who supported Foot or Kinnock back then - in particular Kinnock in 1987, they were mostly alternative comedians such as Ben "12 more hours of Thatcherism to go" Elton; Tony Robinson; Rowan Atkinson (although one would imagine Mr Bean to be a Conservative if he knew what to do in a Polling Station) - anyone who appeared on a Friday or Saturday night on BBC 2 or Channel 4, whereas Conservative supporters would be mainstream BBC 1 and ITV entertainers pre-watershed which were harmless and would be seen by the majority of households. Those who were mainstream in the public's conscience - Paul Daniels, Bob Monkhouse, Jimmy Tarbuck, Cilla Black, etc. I would rather have watched a 7.00 pm Monkhouse game show back then rather watch than Ben Elton trying to be funny by using bad language at 11.00 pm so that he doesn't die on stage.

And Pete Murray claimed that he was sacked from Radio 2 because of his unofficial Public Election Broadcast on Breakfast Time while reviewing the daily papers, claiming that a vote for Michael Foot would be a vote for communism. On that day, Labour has a PEB, the Greens got a spot on TV later on and the Liberal leader featured on Election Call on Radio 4. Even in my old constituency, it was Labour since 1945 until Thursday 9th June 1983, and remained like that for nine years.

The closest one had to New Labour in the 1980s was the SDP which didn't have much of a chance.

George 1978
30-03-2019, 20:39
And of course, the IBA made sure that we had proper commercial TV as well.

George 1978
31-03-2019, 16:24
Richard also mentioned about celebrity candidates standing on a flimsy platform in elections back in the 1980s - apart from the obvious Lord Sutch by-elections in that decade, it made me think of the 1984 Chesterfield by-election where Tony Benn re-entered the Commons after losing his Bristol seat the year before. Bill Maynard of all people, stood as an Independent (some said it was Independent Labour) and was fourth with just over 1,000 votes, losing the pre-1985 12.5% deposit. Because of Maynard's fame and also the particular time of the election, I would have bet that he would have been close to a Conservative than Labour.

TV-am was full of Conservatives - in fact, it was regarded as Margaret Thatcher's favourite TV station - Bruce Gyngell the boss was Mrs Thatcher's friend; her daughter Carol Thatcher worked for the station; Jonathan Aitken MP was the first Chief Executive of the station; Gyles Brandreth (of the Tuesday Postbag) became a Conservative MP; Jimmy Greaves was a Conservative voter, etc. The unions members being locked out a la Wapping, etc. I am sure that the IBA felt that like the Daily Telegraph of broadcasters at the time! It doesn't bother me at all though. ;)

It was still an agreeable decade to live in.

George 1978
20-04-2019, 00:57
THE 202 MAKERS OF THE 1980s - THE PEOPLE WHO WERE FAMOUS IN THAT DECADE
 
Here is a list of the 202 most famous people of the 1980s as far as I am concerned - the list was originally to have been 101 of them, but there were so many of them that I have decided to double the number of people on the list.
 
Those who made great inpact in that decade - the only rule is that a person must not have been born or have died in that decade. Of course, a lot of them were famous (or made a huge impact in society at least) before the decade bagan and after the decade ended. Was there a day that passed by during that decade without seeing any of them (or seeing their names at least) on television, or in a newspaper or a magazine?
 
Some names are familiar, while others are not...
 
1) RUSS ABBOT
2) JONATHAN AITKEN
3) ADAM ANT
4) PRINCE ANDREW, DUKE OF YORK
5) MICHAEL ASPEL
6) CHERYL BAKER
7) RONNIE BARKER
8) MICHAEL BARRYMORE
9) GRANT BAYNHAM
10) JEREMY BEADLE
11) DAVID BELLAMY
12) FLOELLA BENJAMIN
13) HYWEL BENNETT
14) LENNIE BENNETT
15) CHRISTOPHER BIGGINS
16) CILLA BLACK
17) LIONEL BLAIR
18) IAN BOTHAM
19) FRANK BOUGH
20) JIM BOWEN
21) DAVID BOWIE
22) TOMMY BOYD
23) GYLES BRANDRETH
24) RICHARD BRANSON
25) ERIC BRISTOW
26) FRANK BRUNO
27) ZOLA BUDD
28) ROB BUCKMAN
29) GORDON BURNS
30) GEORGE BUSH
31) KATE BUSH
32) GAVIN CAMPBELL
33) CANNON AND BALL
34) GEOFF CAPES
35) BOB CAROLGEES
36) FRANK CARSON
37) JUDITH CHALMERS
38) BOB CHAMPION
39) PRINCE CHARLES
40) CHAS 'N' DAVE
41) JULIAN CLARY
42) BRIAN CLOUGH
43) SEBASTIAN COE
44) JOAN COLLINS
45) PHIL COLLINS
46) MATTHEW CORBETT
47) RONNIE CORBETT
48) JIMMY CRICKET
49) LESLIE CROWTHER
50) EDWINA CURRIE
51) BIG DADDY
52) PAUL DANIELS
53) JIM DAVIDSON
54) DICKIE DAVIES
55) SHARRON DAVIES
56) STEVE DAVIS
57) BOBBY DAVRO
58) LES DAWSON
59) ROBIN DAY
60) CAROL DECKER
61) LES DENNIS
62) ANNE DIAMOND
63) DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES
64) JONATHAN DIMBLEBY
65) JASON DONAVAN
66) SHEENA EASTON
67) EDDIE "THE EAGLE" EDWARDS
68) QUEEN ELIZABETH II
69) BEN ELTON
70) NICK FALDO
71) ALEX FERGUSON
72) SARAH FERGUSON
73) MICHAEL FISH
74) BRUCE FORSYTH
75) DAVID FROST
76) JILL GASCOIGNE
77) MIKE GATTING
78) BOY GEORGE
79) BOB GELDOF
80) BRIAN GLOVER
81) DUNCAN GOODHEW
82) MICHAEL GRADE
83) RUSSELL GRANT
84) SARAH GREENE
85) DEREK GRIFFITHS
86) BRUCE GYNGELL
87) PAUL HARDCASTLE
88) KEITH HARRIS
89) DAVID HASSELHOFF
90) GEOFFREY HAYES
91) LENNY HENRY
92) PAUL HENRY
93) BENNY HILL
94) BOB HOLNESS
95) GORDON HONEYCOMBE
96) GEOFFREY HOWE
97) FRANKIE HOWERD
98) TED HUGHES
99) ROD HULL
100) GLORIA HUNNIFORD
101) DAVID ICKE
102) VICKY IRELAND
103) JESSE JACKSON
104) MICHAEL JACKSON
105) CLIVE JAMES
106) DEREK JAMESON
107) DAVID "KID" JENSEN
108) POPE JOHN PAUL II
109) HOWARD JONES
110) HENRY KELLY
111) MATTHEW KELLY
112) SARAH KENNEDY
113) NIK KERSHAW
114) MAGGIE KIRKPATRICK
115) NEIL KINNOCK
116) BONNIE LANGFORD
117) SIMON LE BON
118) RUSTIE LEE
119) MARTYN LEWIS
120) ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER
121) MAUREEN LIPMAN
122) LITTLE AND LARGE
123) KENNY LOGGINS
124) MADONNA
125) TIMMY MALLETT
126) ROBERT MAXWELL
127) IAN McCASKILL
128) JOHN McCRIRICK
129) TREVOR McDONALD
130) RALPH McTELL
131) FREDDIE MERCURY
132) GEORGE MICHAEL
133) KYLIE MINOGUE
134) BOB MONKHOUSE
135) DUDLEY MOORE
136) ADRIAN MOORHOUSE
137) ALISON MOYET
138) RUPERT MURDOCH
139) DENIS NORDEN
140) ANDREW O'CONNOR
141) DES O'CONNOR
142) TOM O'CONNOR
143) BILL ODDIE
144) DAVID OWEN
145) NICK OWEN
146) ELAINE PAIGE
147) SU POLLARD
148) GWYNNETH POWELL
149) PRINCE
150) ESTHER RANTZEN
151) CLAIRE RAYNER
152) MIKE READ
153) RONALD REAGAN
154) ANNEKA RICE
155) CLIFF RICHARD
156) LIONEL RICHIE
157) ANGELA RIPPON
158) KATE ROBBINS
159) TED ROGERS
160) JIM ROSENTHAL
161) ROBERT RUNCIE
162) TESSA SANDERSON
163) ARTHUR SCARGILL
164) SELINA SCOTT
165) HARRY SECOMBE
166) TOM SELLECK
167) CAPTAIN SENSIBLE
168) PETER SHILTON
169) WAYNE SLEEP
170) BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
171) ALVIN STARDUST
172) FREDDIE STARR
173) DAVID STEELE
174) SHAKIN' STEVENS
175) ROD STEWART
176) STING
177) MIRIAM STOPPARD
178) UNA STUBBS
179) MR T
180) JIMMY TARBUCK
181) CHRIS TARRANT
182) DENNIS TAYLOR
183) NORMAN TEBBIT
184) MARGARET THATCHER
185) DALEY THOMPSON
186) CLIFF THORBURN
187) SANDI TOKSVIG
188) TORVILL AND DEAN
189) TINA TURNER
190) BONNIE TYLER
191) TRACEY ULLMAN
192) SUZANNE VEGA
193) GARY WATSON
194) ROY WALKER
195) CLIVE WEBB
196) "MAD" LIZZIE WEBB
197) SIMON WESTON
198) KIM WILDE
199) GARY WILMOT
200) BERNIE WINTERS
201) TERRY WOGAN
202) VICTORIA WOOD
203) PAUL YOUNG (ONE TOO MANY, METHINKS!)
204) ER...
205) THAT'S IT

Clare
20-04-2019, 15:08
I see Gwynneth Powell in there, but not Todd Carty?

Also, there was another Paul Young (the singer in Sad Cafe and sometimes Mike + the Mechanics), deceased, alas.

tex
20-04-2019, 17:09
Not to belittle your efforts here George but of-course whilst these people were indeed famous in the 80s the majority of them started their respective careers much earlier

George 1978
21-04-2019, 00:04
Not to belittle your efforts here George but of-course whilst these people were indeed famous in the 80s the majority of them started their respective careers much earlier

They probably did, but I feel that atmosphere of the 1980s helped the people listed to be more successful than in previous decades. Play Your Cards Right feels better than Sunday Night at the London Palladium because simply PCYR was made in colour for example - we didn't get the "Brucie's wig" stuff in the 1960s, did we? Some celebrities don't find their proper niche until decades after they became famous.

The way I look at it is that the 1980s wasn't black and white just like two decades before, and wasn't full of Big Brother / I'm a Celebrity stuff like two decades later - the mix of the 1980s was just right.

George 1978
21-04-2019, 00:07
I see Gwynneth Powell in there, but not Todd Carty?

Also, there was another Paul Young (the singer in Sad Cafe and sometimes Mike + the Mechanics), deceased, alas.

Powell was in Grange Hill for almost the entire 1980s as Headteacher (save for 1980 and 1985 as Deputy Head) hence her inclusion. I can't stand EastEnders, so that might be one reason why Carty isn't listed - Tucker's hard luck, methinks. ;)

I was indeed referring to Paul Young, whether he laid his hat, etc. And a prominent face courtesy of Look In Collect-a-Pages, Jackie, Oh Boy, etc on the walls in my sister's bedroom circa 1985.

George 1978
21-05-2019, 20:16
A few years ago before I joined this forum, I created a montage of different images of celebrities, television programmes, big news and sport events, pop videos, and even adverts throughout the 1980s - I started off chronologically and added some more at the bottom of the picture as time went on. They are mostly from still images of YouTube clips (some are no longer on there), cut and pasted, and even my avatar is included if you look carefully. I wonder how many images that you recognise from that decade... : -


https://forums.doyouremember.co.uk/attachment.php?attachmentid=6152&stc=1
(You may need a magnifying glass or even a microscope to see them in detail, but they are all images from the 1980s).

George 1978
21-05-2019, 20:24
Is there any way I can make the image in the previous post just a little bit bigger?

Richard1978
21-05-2019, 22:40
Once they had made their first million, buying a Rolls Royce with a personalised plate & posing for the press alongside it was very common.

George 1978
22-05-2019, 01:19
And being the 1980s, the personalised number plate was allowed to be seen on camera.

Richard1978
22-05-2019, 13:19
And being the 1980s, the personalised number plate was allowed to be seen on camera.

I notice that Alan Sugar's car in The Apprentice doesn't have the plates blurred out.