Golden ages: The best (and worst) decades for entertainment and fashion

November 26, 2013, 5:27 PM GMT+0

More British people say 1960s was the best decade for music and fashion than any other; the 2000s top the list for TV and movies, and the 1970s for comedy

So far in 2013 David Bowie has topped the album charts, and Monty Python's reunion stage show next year sold out in 43 seconds. Are contemporary consumers simply nostalgic for bygone eras? YouGov research looking at the public’s favourite decades for fashion, music, TV, movies and comedy shows that – although opinion is splits along generational lines – there are indeed a few “golden ages” of British culture

The 1970s, the decade that brought us Monty Python, Morecambe and Wise and Dad’s Army is considered a golden era of British Comedy, whilst the swinging 60s was the most popular pick for the 'best decade' of both music and fashion.

The most recent decades tend to invoke the strongest opinion. The 2000s are chosen most often as both the best and worst decade for movies and TV, as well as the worst decade for music and comedy.

And fashion may have forgotten the 1980s, but it lives on in the memories of the British public (as the worst decade for fashion).

Looking at the generational disparities in people’s favourite decades shows that in some cases people long for the decade they grew up in and in others like TV and movies – the more recent the better.


For music people tend to choose the era they grew up in. Those aged 60+ tend to think the 60s (69%) was the best, whilst 63% of 40-59 year olds picked the 70s or 80s. 59% of 25-39 year olds and 44% of 18-24 year olds think the 80s or 90s was the best decade for music.


However for TV people tend to think the more recent decades are better, regardless of age. The 2000s come out on top (30%) as the best decade for TV, coming first across all generations including 42% of 18-24 year olds and 24% of the over 60s.


On fashion there is a broader range of opinion but a clear winner in the 1960s (22%) as Britain’s most fashionable decade, followed by the 2000s (14%).

There is also a clear loser for fashion in the 1980s: just 7% think it was the best decade for fashion and 19% of people think it is the worst, including 13% of those aged 18-24 (born after 1989).

Overall the research shows a strong sense of nostalgia amongst the British public, but with the most recent decades invoking such a strong range opinion, the best assessment of the 1990s and 2000s may be in the decades to come.

Image: Getty

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