Actor and comedian Alan Davies grew up in the 1980s, an era when it seemed everything from race relations to sexual politics, jobs and the economy was going through a revolution. And it was the conflicts of that decade that helped shape Alan, and shaped the Britain we live in today. Packed with archive footage and home videos, this three-part series offers Alan's very personal history of the 1980s. Starting as a rebellious teenager in suburban Essex, it tells the story of coming of age in Thatcher's Britain.
The Rebel from Suburbia
In the first film - The Rebel from Suburbia - Alan returns to his Essex roots to rediscover his rebellious schoolboy years. The 80s was the decade when youth culture came into its own and Alan guides viewers through the heroes who defined that rite of passage for him, from brash Americans like tennis star John McEnroe to musicians like Paul Weller, whose raw energy sent shockwaves through suffocating suburbia.
Which Side Are You On
Alan flees the suburbs and discovers a host of political causes to die for - or at least wear the badge for. By the mid-1980s, Thatcher's Britain was bitterly divided by political debate, and Alan was in the thick of it. He revisits the 80s counterculture of his youth - from animal rights and gay rights to Ban the Bomb and Coal not Dole - and he comes face-to-face with one of the arch-bogeymen of the Left: Norman Tebbitt. But the 80s was also a confusing time to be an angry young man. Radical feminism was on the march, and as a right-on student Alan found himself navigating a minefield of sexual politics and political correctness. Alan meets some of the personal heroes who for him defined the political battles of the era, including folk-punk singer Billy Bragg and gay rights activist Sir Ian McKellen.
Get Up, Stand Up
The final episode in the series charts the end of the 1980s, its legacy and the beginning of Alan's comedy career. Alan tracks down some of the inspirational figures who for him defined the era, from Rory Bremner to Neil Kinnock. In 1988, after four years of studying drama at university, Alan joined the ranks of the unemployed. He traces the beginnings of his desire to perform on stage, and how this eventually propelled him to climb the slippery slope of stand-up comedy. But not the old style comedy of racist, sexist, homophobic gags. In the 1980s, it sometimes seemed as if comedy, theatre and TV drama were the only opposition that Mrs Thatcher was unable to defeat. She may have had them all in her sights, but the Poll Tax demonstration at the close of the decade hastened the end of her political career, and Alan was there to see it.