Venice Preserved director Prasanna Puwanarajah was heavily influenced by the 1980s for his new production, but what can you remember from the decade?


There are so many iconic looks from the 80s that it's hard to know where to start. Leg warmers worn regardless of the weather? Shoulder pads so sharp they could take your eye out? Scrunchies trying (and failing) to control the tightest of perms?

Whatever your style, there was one golden rule: the more neon, the better. After all, who doesn't look good in a lime green shell suit?


Music stopped being just something you listened to in the 80s and turned into a national obsession, the singers and bands becoming superstars to be studied, copied and, often, lusted over. Music videos took over our TV screens; Top of the Pops was compulsory viewing; and a copy of Smash Hits magazine was to be found in every teenager's bedroom.

Although it was the era of hair metal and power ballads, there was one woman who towered over the music scene: Madonna. While her self-titled debut album made a few waves, particularly on the US dance charts, it was Like a Virgin that made her a star, seducing and scandalising audiences in equal measure, and changing the course of western pop culture forever.


For better or worse, the 80s saw soaps take over British TV. Neighbours and Home and Away made their way to our screens from Australia, and homegrown shows like Brookside and EastEnders debuted. Name a more iconic TV moment than the '86 Christmas EastEnders when Dirty Den served Angie those divorce papers.

Oh, I guess there was the wedding of Charlene and Scott. Kylie and Jason were the quintessential 80s power couple.

Or the actual real Royal Wedding.

Or Live Aid.

Or the whole "Who shot JR?" thing.

Casting vote to my Dad. Turns out there was no TV moment bigger than half the country staying up to watch the 1985 World Snooker Championship final. Thanks, Dad.


Every era has its defining gadgets and gizmos, and in the 80s everyone who was anyone had a Walkman. Portable music didn't start with the iPod, you know.

And although Gameboys were the must-have toy in 1989, many of the decade's toys were much more low-tech. Doll fans could collect the Cabbage Patch Kids, Care Bears and My Little Pony; if you were more outdoorsy, a BMX Bike was essential.

And every house had a Rubik's Cube, even if we don't know anyone who ever finished one...


From the John Hughes coming-of-age films (think Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink) to anything starring Tom Cruise (Top Gun! Rain Man! Cocktail!), via the genre-defining sci-fi of Back to the Future, Blade Runner and The Terminator, the 80s was a decade of stone cold classics.

It's hard to pick a standout when the list is so strong, but there are few films that captured the hearts of its audience more than E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. That lovable little alien first appeared on our screens in 1982 and has been making entire families weepy ever since.

David Hasselhoff

Yes, he gets his own section.

Musician, actor, liberator of East Germany - is there anything this man cannot do? Despite his, um, unique appeal, The Hoff was a key figure throughout the 80s. Whether you remember him best for talking-car-based TV nonsense Knight Rider or for singing on top of the Berlin Wall, you've got to respect the man who holds the Guinness World Record for being the most-watched man on television of all time.


For more 80s nostalgia, watch our Venice Preserved cast reminiscing about what they remember from the decade (warning: this video does feature voguing).

Venice Preserved plays in the Swan Theatre until 7 September.

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