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Sarah Millican on ra-ra skirts, 90s music and The Big Reunion

“I’m not sure why I want to be transported back to a golden era of going out drinking whisky in a multicoloured chiffon blouse, tassled skirt and chunky heels” logo
Published: Monday, 24th February 2014 at 2:18 pm

I’m addicted to Sara Cox’s show Sounds of the 80s on Saturday nights on Radio 2. And it’s not just because she’s brilliant and the songs are awesome. It’s the titbits of history she gleans from her listeners. The mere mention of a ra-ra skirt will have me clapping. Scrunchies, legwarmers, National Health specs, perms. You can keep your pottery cups and old spoons, Time Team. This is the history I’m fascinated by. In those days, Pods were something that went on your feet, not a bit of metal full of records.


A small glossary for the youngsters:

Ra-ra skirts: multilayered skirt that everyone had at school. EVERYONE, Mam.

Scrunchies: chocolate bars you put in your hair.

Legwarmers: we all did a lot more dancing back then. And cold legs snap.

National Health specs: the most unattractive glasses it was possible to have. It was sexier to squint.

Perms: I think this was Kylie’s fault and the reason why most women now in their 30s can’t get their hair totally straight.

Pods: shoes. There were real ones (very expensive) and fake ones. And small leather “pod men” that you could hang off the buckle to prove authenticity. I had fake shoes and real “pod men”. Ha.

Most people cling to the music of their youth. I love seeing an old man with a quiff. A Septuagenarian teddy boy. To be fair, it’s only good friends that stop me wearing my “Frankie Says Relax” T-shirt now. I got it when I thought it was about an uptight man. I’m counting down to when I’m an acceptable age for another perm; 62, I think it is.

I love 90s music, too, because that reminds me of my late teens and early 20s. Though I’m not sure why I want to be transported back to a golden era of going out drinking whisky in a multicoloured chiffon blouse, tassled skirt and chunky heels, then spending my taxi money on a McChicken sandwich. Of struggling with maths A-level and fancying a boy in my German class who kissed everyone in Oz (the nightclub) apart from me. Of the Saturday job I had where I harrumphed beside magazine readers (not buyers) in a highly flammable brown skirt. Actually, reading back, what awesome times! Drinking whisky in a tassled skirt. That boy in German clearly didn’t have eyes.

Proper, actual palpitations, then, at The Big Reunion (Thursday ITV2). The boy bands and their fights, between not-the-lead-singer and another not-the-lead- singer. The girl bands and their wine-fuelled chats about why one of them was never allowed to sing lead vocals. And the mega-band made up of some two-hit wonders. I can only assume Chesney Hawkes had his phone on silent that day.

It’s the kids today I feel sorry for. What are they going to cling to? Remember when phones took photos but couldn’t drive cars? Remember onesies? I’d love to mention some music, but I have no clue what’s in the charts. I’ve just downloaded Frankie by Sister Sledge.

Nine is the magic number

Inside No 9 (Wednesday 10pm BBC2) is excellent. I will watch anything the League of Gentlemen boys do.

The Sarah Millican Television Programme — Best of Series 1 & 2 is available on DVD at



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