The swinging sixties has been named as the most defining decade of the 20th Century in British history a study revealed yesterday.
Research has found that nearly half of UK adults said that the decade famed for its iconic fashion, ground-breaking music and significant moments in history was the most defining. The sixties beat other eras hands down when it came to music – only 17 per cent said the 70s would be remembered for its music and even less said the 1980’s. Thanks to the arrival of the mini-skirt championed by fashion designer Mary Quant respondents also voted the 1960’s as the best decade for fashion with runner up being the 70s.
The study was commissioned to coincide with the launch of The Sixties, a documentary series on the decade which launched on UKTV’s Yesterday, earlier this week.
Executive produced by multiple Emmy award-winning producers and Hollywood actor Tom Hanks, The Sixties explores how and why this decade became a period of such consequence, and still today remains an epoch of such fascination. Neil Armstrong landing on the moon was named as the most defining moment of the 60s, followed by the assassination of JFK in 1963.
Other significant milestones included the death of Marilyn Monroe and the first ever James Bond movie. The arrival of the contraceptive pill and the meteoric rise of Beatlemania were also listed as defining moments of the 1960s.
“We conducted this research to find out which decade in history was viewed as the most defining. By far and away the 1960s won every category. Regardless of whether we were around in the 1960s or not, Brits tend to have a real sense of nostalgia when it comes to the music and the history surrounding that era. Even teenagers of today will be aware of the significance of key figures in history like Marilyn Monroe, the Beatles and the story of Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King” – Adrian Wills, General Manager of Yesterday
Over ten episodes The Sixties examines key moments of the era using archival newsreel footage, personal movies, expert commentary from historians, and interviews with eyewitnesses to history. The study also found the Beatles dominated the music scene – with five of the top 10 singles of the decade being by the fab four.
Still a favourite of kids’ today, Mary Poppins was named the best film, closely followed by The Sound of Music, both of which starred Julie Andrews.
Nearly two-thirds of people said there was a feeling of great optimism in the swinging sixties that doesn’t exist today. And a third said if there was any era they could go back and live in it would be the sixties, with 10 per cent choosing the fifties and 17 per cent opting for the seventies. Of the 2000 adults polled a third said despite the technological advances people had a better standard of living in the sixties.
The Sixties, Tuesdays at 9pm on UKTV’s Yesterday.