Plimsoll Productions is behind four-parter The 80s – Music’s Greatest Decade? With Dylan Jones for BBC2’s October schedule.

It was commissioned by Owen Courtney, Commissioning Editor and Jan Younghusband, Head of Commissioning for BBC Music TV. The Executive Producer is Siobhan Logue.

Journalist and author Dylan Jones celebrates what is described as “the towering influence of the music of the 80s, with an aim to inspire a newfound respect for this maligned musical era.”

He’ll argue that the 80s is one of the most inventive periods of pop culture – a kaleidoscopic display of musical experimentation in which genres were born and evolved with dizzying rapidity – and that whilst music continues to fascinate to this day, it will never be as varied as it was then.

The programme features contributions from Nile Rodgers, Mark Ronson, Jazzie B, Trevor Horn, Bananarama’s Sara Dallin & Keren Woodward, Gary Kemp, Mark Moore, Cookie Crew’s Cookie Pryce and Suzie Q, Bobby Gillespie, UB40’s Ali Campbell & Astro, The Fall’s Brix Smith, Sarah Jane Morris and more.

Lorna Clarke, BBC Controller, Pop, says: “I’m delighted that we’re going to dissect the impact and influence of the 80s decade, culturally – an experimental period of time that divides opinions hugely.”

Dylan Jones says: “Interminable television programmes still suggest the whole episode was nothing but a calamitous mistake, a cultural cul-de-sac full of rotten records by shameful individuals with orange skin and espadrilles. I’m here to tell you this couldn’t be further off the mark.”

In the first episode, against a background of archive from the BBC vaults and beyond, Dylan sets out his claim: that the 80s was the most creative musical decade ever. He’ll assert that the 80s, unlike other decades, was undefinable by monolithic musical movements such as punk, disco or Britpop, and unleashed a myriad of new musical genres in just 10 years..

Episodes two, three and four will feature a mixture of archive performance and music video, handpicked by Dylan, which explore themes including the MTV generation (artists who benefitted from being ‘super-produced’); the birth of hip hop, the emergence of house and the rise of the rebels, who deliberately eschewed all they believed to be ostentatiously 80s.

Some of the artists explored in the series include Madonna, Duran Duran, Eurythmics, The Sugarhill Gang, Public Enemy, Bronski Beat and Erasure.

Also in October, Later…with Jools Holland returns for a new six-part series on BBC Two, produced by BBC Studios.

The BBC will support National Album Day on Saturday 16 October, with programming on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio and BBC Sounds.

Image credit: Sebastian Barfield/Plimsoll Productions, showing Dylan Jones (centre) with UB40’s Astro (left) and Ali Campbell (right).

Jon Creamer

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