Uncool Britannia

Steve Punt presents a new three part history of the Britain that's ubiquitous yet unashamedly uncool.

Steve argues the nation's recent past has been hijacked by the fashionistas and that it's time to celebrate the past as it really was - deeply unhip.

Forget the Rolling Stones, Mary Quant and the Aston Martin, what Britons really love is a nice melody, a sensible coat and a reliable motor...

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
011949-67: The Pakamac Years2010052920100920

Steve Punt presents a new three part history of the Britain that's ubiquitous yet unashamedly uncool.

Steve argues the nation's recent past has been hijacked by the fashionistas and that it's time to celebrate the past as it really was - deeply unhip.

Forget the Rolling Stones, Mary Quant and the Aston Martin, what Britons really love is a nice melody, a sensible coat and a reliable motor...Steve Punt presents a new three part history of the Britain that's ubiquitous yet unashamedly uncool. Steve argues the nation's recent past has been hijacked by the fashionistas and that it's time to celebrate the past as it really was - deeply unhip. Forget the Rolling Stones, Mary Quant and the Aston Martin, what Britons really love is a nice melody, a sensible coat and a reliable motor...

Steve re-imagines the 50s and 60s as the Pakamac Years. He argues that it wasn't beatniks that epitomised the spirit of the era - but the foldaway mac. The Pakamac flew off the shelves in their tens of thousands as Britons rejoiced in the sheer novelty and practicality of a plastic raincoat which you could pop in your handbag. Steve also considers the importance of anoraks, cagoules, parkas and snorkels as emblems of uncool Britain.

Producer: Laurence Grissell

(repeat).

How practical rainwear epitomised the 1950s and 60s.

In programme 1, Punt re-imagines the 50s and 60s as the Pakamac Years.

He argues that it wasn't beatniks that epitomised the spirit of the era - but the foldaway mac.

The Pakamac flew off the shelves in their tens of thousands as Britons rejoiced in the sheer novelty and practicality of a plastic raincoat which you could pop in your handbag.

Steve also considers the importance of anoraks, cagoules, parkas and snorkels as emblems of uncool Britain.

In the second programme - the James Last Years - Punt makes an assault on Punk, claiming it was James Last and his orchestra rather than Sid Vicious and his safety pins who embodied the 70s.

Between 1967 and 1986, Last racked up 52 hit albums - coming second only to Elvis in the number of albums in the UK charts.

And in his final show - the Austin Montego Years - Steve overturns the idea of the 80s as a decade of yuppies, conspicuous consumption and flash cars.

He concludes it's actually the sensible but wholly unstylish Austin Montego saloon that sums up the spirit of Thatcher's Britain.

Steve re-imagines the 50s and 60s as the Pakamac Years.

01The Pakamac Years20100529 (BBC7)
20160427 (BBC7)
20160428 (BBC7)

How practical rainwear epitomised the 1950s and 60s.

Steve Punt presents a new three part history of the Britain that's ubiquitous yet unashamedly uncool. Steve argues the nation's recent past has been hijacked by the fashionistas and that it's time to celebrate the past as it really was - deeply unhip. Forget the Rolling Stones, Mary Quant and the Aston Martin, what Britons really love is a nice melody, a sensible coat and a reliable motor...

Steve re-imagines the 50s and 60s as the Pakamac Years. He argues that it wasn't beatniks that epitomised the spirit of the era - but the foldaway mac. The Pakamac flew off the shelves in their tens of thousands as Britons rejoiced in the sheer novelty and practicality of a plastic raincoat which you could pop in your handbag. Steve also considers the importance of anoraks, cagoules, parkas and snorkels as emblems of uncool Britain.

Producer: Laurence Grissell

(repeat).

02The James Last Years2010060520100921
20160428 (BBC7)
20160429 (BBC7)

How German bandleader James Last won over millions of Brits.

Steve Punt continues his three part history of the Britain that's ubiquitous yet unashamedly uncool. Steve argues the nation's recent past has been hijacked by the fashionistas and that it's time to celebrate the past as it really was - deeply unhip. Forget the Rolling Stones, Mary Quant and the Aston Martin, what Britons really love is a nice melody, a sensible coat and a reliable motor...

Steve makes an assault on Punk, claiming it was James Last and his orchestra rather than Sid Vicious and his safety pins who embodied the 70s. Between the mid-60s and the mid-80s, Last racked up 52 hit albums - coming second only to Elvis. Whilst the Punks may have packed out a few obscure venues, James Last was selling out the Royal Albert Hall. Steve attempts to get to the bottom of how this German band-leader won over legions of Brits with his easy-listening tunes and why the maestro of the middle-of-the-road has never received credit for his chart-topping success.

Producer: Laurence Grissell

(repeat).

Steve Punt continues his three part history of the Britain that's ubiquitous yet unashamedly uncool.

Steve argues the nation's recent past has been hijacked by the fashionistas and that it's time to celebrate the past as it really was - deeply unhip.

Forget the Rolling Stones, Mary Quant and the Aston Martin, what Britons really love is a nice melody, a sensible coat and a reliable motor...

Steve makes an assault on Punk, claiming it was James Last and his orchestra rather than Sid Vicious and his safety pins who embodied the 70s.

Between the mid-60s and the mid-80s, Last racked up 52 hit albums - coming second only to Elvis.

Whilst the Punks may have packed out a few obscure venues, James Last was selling out the Royal Albert Hall.

Steve attempts to get to the bottom of how this German band-leader won over legions of Brits with his easy-listening tunes and why the maestro of the middle-of-the-road has never received credit for his chart-topping success.

03 LASTThe Austin Montego Years2010061220100922
20160429 (BBC7)
20160430 (BBC7)

Steve Punt concludes his three part history of the Britain that's ubiquitous yet unashamedly uncool.

Steve argues the nation's recent past has been hijacked by the fashionistas and that it's time to celebrate the past as it really was - deeply unhip.

This week Steve takes to the road, remembering the Austin Maestro and Montego which were unveiled with great fanfare in the early 80s.

Steve takes a drive in a Montego with motoring journalist Quentin Willson and attempts to get to grips with why history has been so unkind to these two sensible but unstylish motors.

He hears from the voice behind the cars' celebrated speech synthesiser, Nicolette Mckenzie, and hears from dealers, designers and marketing men involved in the car's launch.

Producer: Laurence Grissell.

Steve Punt concludes his history of unhip UK with a celebration of the Austin Montego.

Today Steve takes to the road, remembering the Austin Maestro and Montego which were unveiled with great fanfare in the early 80s.

(repeat).

Steve Punt concludes his three part history of the Britain that's ubiquitous yet unashamedly uncool. Steve argues the nation's recent past has been hijacked by the fashionistas and that it's time to celebrate the past as it really was - deeply unhip.

Today Steve takes to the road, remembering the Austin Maestro and Montego which were unveiled with great fanfare in the early 80s. Steve takes a drive in a Montego with motoring journalist Quentin Willson and attempts to get to grips with why history has been so unkind to these two sensible but unstylish motors. He hears from the voice behind the cars' celebrated speech synthesiser, Nicolette McKenzie, and hears from dealers, designers and marketing men involved in the car's launch.