Back in Time for School – 26 October 2021 – BBC Two

Series 1 Episode 7 of 8 – 15 pupils and their teachers embark on an extraordinary time-travelling adventure to discover just how much life at school has changed over the past 100 years. The school itself is their time machine, transporting them through seven eras of British history. From Victorian grandeur and the age of Empire, through a postwar grammar, a 60s secondary modern, and finally the dawning of the digital revolution in the 80s and 90s. Guided through their time travels by presenter Sara Cox and social historian Polly Russell, everything the students and teachers experience – from the lessons they learn to the dinners they eat, technology, discipline and playtime – is based on historical data and school records from the past.

The pupils and teachers arrive in their final time-travelling decade, the 1990s. Ready to embrace the decade that gave us girl power, Brit pop, Oasis and Blur, Mr Blobby and the Gladiators, the pupils arrive at their comprehensive school.

Their first lesson taps into a moment of pop culture we all remember – Italia 90, and the pupils take the chance to trade football stickers. The canteen is still stocked sky-high with fast food and in this era they have potato smiley faces and turkey drummers added to the menu, along with cans of apple Tango and bottles of Panda Pops cherryade.

In 1992, they have a treat in store as a very special guest from the Gladiators joins them to kick-start the eliminator with a blow on her whistle. And the treats don’t end there as CD-ROMs become affordable, the school receives its very own copy of Encarta and a world of knowledge is available at the click of a mouse.

By the mid-90s, it is time for the class to connect with the wider world and embrace the joys of fundraising as they perform a fashion show for their friends and family. As the world becomes more accessible, their computer class gives them the chance to connect to the Information Superhighway, as they fire up the dial-up modem and access the very first world wide website.

Careers are all important in this decade, and what better way to pick the job of your dreams than via database? The pupils input their details using Kudos and some of them receive surprising results.

As the decade draws to a close, and the pupils contemplate bidding farewell to Bopit, Dreamphone, the Gameboy and their pet Tamagotchis, the school holds a leaving assembly. With balloon arches and t-shirts for signing, the pupils reflect on how much they have loved being kids of the 1990s.

About Back in Time for School

Fifteen pupils and their teachers embark on an extraordinary time-travelling adventure as they fast-forward through more than 100 years of school life.

This show is broadcast on BBC Two, also known as the British Broadcasting Corporation.

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