It’s Tuesday 8 September 1987 and it’s the first day of the new academic year at the Blackpool & Fylde College of Further Education at Norcross, near Bispham in Lancashire. We’re looking down at one of the many car parks at this large college, and we’re presented with an interesting cross section of the lecturers’ and students’ cars randomly parked. It’s a crisp autumn day, and the campus is heaving with optimistic students looking forward to the exciting new term…
Some of them might be gutted to be to be missing out on the lunchtime broadcast of Neighbours, which has yet to make the afternoon schedule on BBC1. The good news is that, if they wait until 7.00pm, they’ll be treated to the first episode in series five of the excellent sitcom No Place Like Home (below), which has been filling this slot in the schedule on and off since 1983. Starring William Gaunt (from The Champions) and Patricia Garwood, tonight’s episode has their characters Arthur and Beryl Crabtree being pulled into their neighbours’ marriage problems – with typically hilarious results.
No doubt, plenty of the students tune in to The Mike Smith Breakfast Show on BBC Radio1 on the way in this morning, although the lazier ones will end up listening to Simon Bates from 9.30. Wait until 11.00am, and the delightfully depressing Our Tune will besiege your ears, usually punctuated by Bates crooning, ‘…and then she died.’
It’s better news for the drive home tonight – the most played songs on Radio1 are, Never Gonna Give You Up, by Rick Astley, riding high at number one in the Top 40, closely followed by Wipeout by The Fat Boys and The Beach Boys, Where The Streets Have No Name, by U2 and Heart and Soul by T’Pau, lead by the lovely Carol Decker. Wonderful…
So, tell us about the cars
This is a great snapshot into what students were driving in the late-1980s. In among the Ford Fiestas, Austin Metros and Vauxhall Chevettes were some interesting chariots, suitably revved up by their enthusiastic drivers. The Vauxhall Astra closest to the camera, fitted with a quartet to spotlights was pretty typical, but the Morris Marina Estate (middle row) and Renault 18 shows that some of them had a sensible head (or at least their parents did).
We suspect the Ford Granada Mk2 and MG Metro 1300 to the left of the picture are probably lecturers’ cars, as is the Saab 900 to the right of the picture. Look closely and you’ll find an Austin Ambassador, a Skoda Estelle 105 and a Hyundai Pony in among the mix – but all are probably overshadowed by the fabulous fabric-topped Fiat Panda. There’s a veritable feast of what we called bangers back then, but would now be championed as wonderful survivors… and rightly so.
The car I travelled into college on that day is in the car park, but you’ll have to guess what that was. I would tell you, but I’m off to watch repeats of No Place Like Home on Forces TV, before having Pot Noodles and Ravioli on toast for my tea!
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