The Swinging Sixties is Britain’s most defining decade

Tuesday 30 September

he 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 new TV show on Yesterday, Tuesdays at 9pm from 30th September.

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.

Adrian Wills, General Manager of Yesterday said; "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"

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.

Adrian Wills continued:

Few decades have had the breadth of impact as the 1960s. From protest and war, to the space race, The Beatles, innovative technologies, fashion and politics. The events of that tumultuous ten-year period transformed the world, making it the most transformative decade of the modern era.


1969: Neil Armstrong was the first man to land on the moon - 63%
1963: Assassination of JFK - 61%
1968: Martin Luther King was assassinated - 48%
1966: England win?s world cup - 47%
1962: Beatle?s recorded their first single - 42%
1963: Martin Luther King Jr. Makes His I Have a Dream Speech - 41%
1960: Birth control pill was approved - 40%
1961: The Berlin Wall was built - 34%
1962: Marilyn Monroe was found dead - 32%
1965: Miniskirt first appeared - 31%
1964: Nelson Mandela Sentenced to Life in Prison - 31%
1963: Civil Rights movement started - 25%
1962: First James Bond movie - Dr.No - 24%
1965: The Rolling Stones? Mega Hit Song, ?(I Can?t Get No) Satisfaction? - 21%
1965: Malcolm X Assassinated - 19%
1966: Twiggy was named the face of 1966 - 18%
1963: First Doctor Who episode aired - 17%
1969: Manson family murders - 15%
1962: Andy Warhol displays his Campbell?s Soup Can artwork - 14%
1967: First Super Bowl - 3%


1 She Loves You - The Beatles - 20.9%
2 Can't Buy Me Love - The Beatles - 13%
3 I Want To Hold Your Hand - The Beatles - 12.8%
4 It's Now or Never - Elvis Presley 11.7%
5 We Can Work It Out / Day Tripper - The Beatles - 9.9%
6 Green Green Grass of Home - Tom Jones - 7.4%
7 The Carnival Is Over - The Seekers - 5.8%
8 I Feel Fine - The Beatles - 5.6%
9 Release Me - Engelbert Humperdinck - 3.2%
10 Tears - Ken Dodd - 2.7%


1 Mary Poppins - 16.5%
2 The Sound of Music - 16%
3 Psycho - 10.1%
4 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid - 10%
5 Doctor Zhivago - 8.2%
6 The Graduate - 7.7%
7 Lawrence of Arabia - 6%
8 To Kill a Mockingbird - 5.3%
9 Bonnie and Clyde - 5.2%
10 Easy Rider - 4.4%


1 Marilyn Monroe (Actress)
2 Twiggy (Model)
3 Audrey Hepburn (Actress)
4 Brigitte Bardot (Model)
5 Jacqueline Kennedy (Wife of JF Kennedy)
6 Elizabeth Taylor (Actress)
7 Grace Kelly (Actress)
8 Aretha Franklin (Singer)
9 Dusty Springfield (Singer)
10 Cilla Black (Media personality)
11 Mary Quant (Model)
12 Julie Andrews (Actress)
13 Judy Garland (Actress)
14 Sandie Shaw (Singer)
15 Doris Day (Actress and singer)
16 Charlotte Rampling (Actress)
17 Diana Ross (Singer and actress)
18 Tina Turner (Singer)
19 Lulu (Singer)
20 Ursula Andress (Bond Girl)
21 Sophia Loren (Italian Actress)
22 Shirley Bassey (Singer)
23 Cher (Singer)
24 Joan Collins (Actress and author)
25 Catherine Deneuve (French Actress)
26 Barbra Streisand (Singer)
27 Jean Shrimpton (Model)
28 Mia Farrow (Model)
29 Jane Birkin (Model)
30 Edie Sedgewick (It girl)


1 Elvis Presley (Musician)
2 Martin Luther King (Activist)
3 George Best (Footballer)
4 John Lennon (Musician)
5 James Dean (Actor)
6 Sean Connery (Actor)
7 Michael Caine (Actor)
8 Steve McQueen (Actor)
9 Clint Eastwood (Actor)
10 Muhammad Ali (Sports man)
11 Bob Dylan (Musician)
12 Frank Sinatra (Singer)
13 Paul McCartney (Musician)
14 Mick Jagger (Singer)
15 Jimi Hendrix (Musician)
16 Bruce Lee (Actor)
17 Paul Newman (Actor)
18 Jim Morrison (Musician)
19 Dean Martin (Actor)
20 Marlon Brando (Actor)
21 Johnny Cash (Singer)
22 Malcom X (Activist)
23 John Glenn (Astronaut)
24 Andy Warhol (Artist)
25 Dick Van Dyke (Actor)
26 Woody Allen (Comedian)
27 Truman Capote (Author)
28 Brian Wilson (Musician)
29 Dustin Hoffman (Actor)
30 John Coltrane (Jazz artist)

For more details, please contact: Emily Jones, Yesterday Publicist.

Notes to Editors

About Yesterday

(Sky 537, Virgin 203, Freeview 19)

Showcasing UK premiere series such as Raiders of the Lost Past, Museum Secrets and Treasure Detectives, Yesterday provides entertainment inspired by history. The channel also features dynamic history and science- inspired series such as Perfect Storms: Disasters that Changed the World, and programmes which challenge expectations including Secret Life of.... Ancient history is also featured in series including Alexander?s Lost Cities and Mummy Mysteries, plus modern conflict in shows such as Black Ops.

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UKTV's eleven imaginative brands - UKTV Play, Dave, Watch, Gold, Alibi, Yesterday, Drama, Really, Home, Eden and Good Food - include the most popular non-PSB channel in the UK and account for 9% of the British commercial TV market. The company?s most recent financial results showed record-breaking year?end revenue of £278m, and EBITDA of £67.4m. It invested a record £125m in programming and related launches last year, and is becoming an increasingly significant investor in UK creativity.

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