Back in Time for School – BBC2

Back in Time for School with Sara Cox
(Image credit: BBC/Wall to Wall/Duncan Stingemo)

The pupils and teachers find themselves in the 1980s, where technology comes to the fore, with educational robots, BBC Micro Computers and synthesisers entering the classrooms

The Back in Time for School pupils and teachers find themselves in the 1980s

Brace yourselves – it’s the 1980s and the pupils are wearing their leg warmers with pride!

There’s also a break-dancing lesson, a music class with 1980s pop star Nik Kershaw and a school disco where the sounds of Spandau Ballet and Wham! fill the gym.

With Mrs Thatcher in power, schools had a more business and tech focus.

The beginning of the decade sees mass unemployment and the Falklands War but also a relaxation of the school dinner rules – the kids are delighted with chips and fizzy drinks for lunch.

The decade ends with the roll-out of a national curriculum.

TV Times rating: ****

Back In Time For School. Welcome to class – circa 1980

Welcome to class – circa 1980

For the show’s host, Sara Cox, this episode of the BBC2 history series provides something of a trip down memory lane.

TV Times caught up with Radio 2 DJ Sara, 44, to find out more…

Did you particularly enjoy filming the 1980s episode, because that’s when you were at school?

I guessed I’d have a bit of a ‘rose-tinted’ view of things when we got to the 1980s episode and saw the school uniforms and hairstyles.

And I love 1980s music! That said, I never really liked school at the time.

I liked junior school but then we moved and I was the ‘new girl’ at a new school, so I was bullied a bit. Also, I’m not very good with authority…

Were you the troublemaker when you were at school, then?

I was never a rebel, but I struggled with why you had to sit quietly and listen.

I found myself questioning authority a lot – although that was mainly just in my own head.

While making this series of Back in Time for School, I found I revert to that the second I’m in the school hall with a bunch of kids.

Suddenly I’m one of them, not one of the teachers. Even when I’m sitting up on stage, alongside some of the teachers, my eyes start to roll.

So would you say this show is bringing out the worst in you?

Yeah, suddenly I’m 15 again… Just without the spiral perm!

Mandy Cooper
TV Times Highlights Editor

As TV Times Highlights Editor I get to hear about all the latest TV shows coming soon. Here at TVT HQ we are in the privileged position of selecting the best programmes from across all the channels and streaming platforms. Our mission is to make it easier for our readers to decide what to watch - and give them lots of choice of genres - all the latest shows, plus some nostalgic choices we call hidden gems, too. My career began with a postgraduate degree in periodical journalism (ahem, yes old school!) in 1991 and I’ve worked in TV media since 2000.