Cunk on Britain (2018) s01e05 Episode Script

The Arse End of History

This programme contains some strong language.
Today, Britain stands at a fork in its crossroads.
And its people are asking questions.
Now we've got our country back - what actually is it? Who are we? And why? The best way to find out where Britain's heading is to look behind us into something called history - a sort of rear view mirror for time.
So that's where I'm going.
Back there.
It's a journey that'll take me the length and width of the country.
On my odyssey, I'll be starting sentences in one location, and finishing them in another.
And looking at some of the biggest faces in British history, and asking other people's faces about them.
What was the difference between punk rock and just being angry but without a guitar? All of it taking place in this skepterred isle we call home.
So join me, Philomena Cunk, as I take you right up the history of the United Britain of Great Kingdom.
Thisis Cunk On Britain.
Throughout this series I've been on a journey up through Britain's history.
Now I'm almost at the end of that road, at the point where olden times end and now times begin.
A time when the archive footage goes colour at long fucking last, and some things you might have actually heard of happened.
It's the story of how Britain went from the 1960s to this very moment now.
And this moment.
And this one.
And also this.
And found itself here and now, at the arse end of history.
Britain had been uptight ever since Victorian times, and having two world wars on top of that had really knocked the fun out of everyone.
Men had to wear bowler hats issued by the government, and their only form of entertainment was reading boring newspapers.
They weren't even allowed to get erections and had to make do with a stiff upper lip instead.
Meanwhile, women had to stay at home washing clothes, raising hundreds of children by hand, and agreeing with their husbands.
The only form of personal expression they were allowed was wearing pointy glasses.
But all that was about to change thanks to four boys from Liverpool - George, Ringo and their guitarists.
A pop band called The Beatles.
Some brave volunteers among the British police elect to act with heroism above and beyond the call of duty and escort The Beatles to their car These Beatles didn't have six legs.
They had eight legs.
Like a spider.
Everywhere they went, girls screamed.
Like with a spider.
But unlike spiders, The Beatles never crawled into anyone's mouth when they were asleep.
Instead they sang, which scientists claim spiders don't.
The Beatles started from humble beginnings.
In the early days they couldn't afford individual haircuts, and had to copy and paste the same one onto each of their heads.
And they had to share a microphone to save money.
But their catchy jingles were so infectious they soon lead to an epidemic called Beatlemania.
And The Beatles wanted to hold your hand, which only made the disease spread faster.
Soon it spread across the Atlantic to America, a country which was still there.
There are rumours around that this is Britain's revenge for the Boston Tea Party.
While The Beatles were in the USA they started to become influenced by the hippies - which were sort of American Wombles.
They experimented with a drug called LUZZD which made the user see and hear things that weren't really happening - a bit like Netflix.
Their music turned psychopathic.
Rather than churning out more simple love songs, thanks to psychopathic drugs, The Beatles began to sing about deeper, more meaningful things.
# We all live in a yellow submarine # Yellow submarine, yellow submarine.
# The Beatles created some incredible music whilst they were on drugs.
Did they not have dope testing back then? How come they weren't disqualified from the charts? Well, erm, as a matter of fact there were songs they did that the BBC, who in those days were most of the radio stations, thought were references to drug taking so they did ban them from the charts.
It's weird that The Beatles LSD songs are so happy, isn't it, because LSD isn't always a happy experience.
Like, my mate Paul met this Italian couple whilst he was backpacking and they invited him back to their room for a threesome.
And they gave him some LSD and when they got there the bloke one pulled a screwdriver on him and made him shit in his own shoe and eat it, whilst the woman one filmed it.
And that's a side of drug use that Paul McCartney doesn't sing about, isn't it? No, I think, luckily, that That kind of experience never came his way.
During one LUZZD expedition, or "trip", The Beatles became the first Britons to discover the existence of colour.
And like Sir Walter Raleigh and his potatoes, they took their discovery home to the UK, where it caught on like hot cakes of wildfire.
Britain went overnight from grey to groovy.
Suddenly it was cool to ignore society and just be whoever you wanted to be, as long as you had fashionable hair and flamboyant clothing like everybody else.
A pearl mink miniskirt.
Must be tailor-made for the freeze.
Were miniskirts actually shorter or did they just appear that way cos people's legs were getting longer? They were actually quite a lot shorter.
And they got shorter as the '60s went on.
Was there a miniskirt for men? You know like trousers that just stopped under the balls? No, there wasn't.
There wasn't a miniskirt forfor men.
That seems like a shame.
For whom? For men.
So they didn't feel left out, you know.
And it must be nice to have that sort ofair circulating.
But it wasn't just clothes that were changing.
The sexual revolution was coming, and the country was lapping it up.
Much of the change was due to this - the pill - a condom you could eat.
A sort of "Get Out of Child Free" card, that meant at last women could have sex for fun, with any man of their choosing, for two or three minutes, until he spaffed off, rolled over and went to sleep.
Some women were having so much sex they decided to burn their bras cos it was quicker than putting them on and taking them off all the time.
Free love was all the rage.
Thanks to the pill, sex was turned on its head.
And its back.
And over the table.
People let it all hang out, like your dad doing the gardening in loose shorts.
And the law was catching up with the times.
For years, homosexuality was illegal and gay men were sent to prison where, as punishment, they'd have to share a tiny room with a man, for years.
But in the '60s, same-sex sex was decriminalized.
It was a time of liberation.
Soon everyone in Britain was swinging.
Except convicted murderers, because hanging had just been abolished.
For the first time ever, Britain was cool, not just the weather.
Britain even decided to be cool at sport.
England, the posh bit of Britain, brought back memories of the war by beating the Germans again.
This time they bounced a ball into a net, rather than a bomb into a dam, killing far fewer civilians and coining the infamous phrase "They think it's all over, presented by Nick Hancock.
" Things were really looking up.
But the fun, like a Toblerone, couldn't last forever, and almost as quickly as the '60s had arrived, they were over, give or take ten years.
And now it was the 1970s turn to happen.
The 1970s was a time of great change and the first change was the economy.
Britain had a new Prime Minister, Edward Heath.
With his love of yachts, classical music and church organs, Edward Heath seemed to be a real man of the people.
But Heath soon found himself facing a financial crisis, the likes of which the world only sees about every ten years or so.
Thanks to inflation, prices were getting bigger, while wages were getting smaller.
The country was in chaos.
Britain was said to have "the British disease".
And there was no known cure.
Apart from not to be Britain any more.
Which is why Ted Heath insisted we should became part of Europe.
Soon Britain entered the European Common Market, in what should have been called Brentrance, but wasn't.
It was so perfect we held a referendum to check whether Britain should stay in Europe Yes is now at 67% and the no vote at 33%.
and it turned out everybody was happy with the idea, as a majority secretly are today but daren't mention.
But things were still rubbish.
There was rising unemployment, widespread industrial action and an energy crisis, which meant for the first time people had to justify how much electricity they were using.
But elsewhere on the estate, one bar of an electric fire was heating a defiant old-age pensioner.
If we don't need two bars on, well, we don't have two bars on.
If we need two bars on we put two bars on! It's like It's not It's logic.
It's human nature.
So if the weather suddenly turns very cold again you're probably going to have to put the other bar on, are you? I'll put the other bar on and a reflector.
I'll have the lot on.
Soon power cuts became all the rage.
Because the lights kept going out at a moment's notice, plunging everyone into darkness, there was no point dressing nicely.
And as a result the world of fashion decided to simply give up.
Every item of clothing in the world went off overnight.
And the sickness spread to haircuts, which caught Dutch elm disease and became horribly disfigured.
Even the air and the sky started to look dingy and awful, and like it was all filmed underwater.
To cap it all, in Northern Ireland, a civil war was breaking out, but so as not to scare anyone, they didn't call it a civil war, they just called it The Troubles, like it was a tummy bug or something.
People were angry and all that pent-up fury had to go somewhere.
Conditions were ripe for a musical explosion known as punk.
# Remember you're a Womble Remember you're a Womble # Remember you're a Womble Remember you're a Womble # Remember you're a Womble Remember you're a Womble # Remember you're a Womble Remember you're a Womble # Remember member member what a Womble Womble Womble you are # As you can see from this searing performance, the punks were antisocial, cynical, and dangerous.
And no punk band was bigger or more shockinger than the Sex Pistons.
# I am an antichrist # And I am an anarchist # They had shocking names like Johnny Bottom and Sid Knickers, they wore shocking home-made clothes, and put hankies on their heads, hence their famous call to arms - Handkerchiefs in the UK.
But the most shocking thing they did was swearing on TV, an incident so outrageous that in the time since it first happened, it's only ever been seen again three, or maybe four hundred times, in music documentaries.
It's what? Nothing.
A rude word.
Next question.
No, no, what was the rude word? Shit.
Was it really? Good heavens! The Sex Pistols were fired, weren't they, as TV presenters? What was all that about? Well, I think the thing about the Sex Pistols were that they were They had a lot of impact cos they got a lot of, you know, shock value and sensation in the papers and on telly.
And they help really launch the movement of punk because everybody knew about what they were up to.
But I don't understand why they got fired on the telly? Well, they swore.
Oh, right, yeah.
That was quite shocking back then, wasn't it? Back then it was.
Not now though, really.
Now you'd have to do something much bigger, wouldn't you? Yeah.
You'd have to like do a poo on The One Show or something.
Even then, you know, you might not get fired.
What if you then sort of hoike your trousers up without even wiping? But punk wasn't the only sign the country had gone to the dogs.
In 1978, literally everyone went on strike in the Winter Of Discomfort.
Even punks went on strike, refusing to put on their punk uniforms and instead dressing like normal people.
Something had to be done, so it was decided to start the 1980s a year early, with the election of a new Prime Minister in 1979 - Margaret Thatcher.
Street name: Mrs.
Her Majesty the Queen has asked me to form a new administration.
Thatcher's election was a watershed.
It proved that absolutely anyone could become Prime Minister, provided they went to Oxford and married a millionaire.
As well as a uterus, Mrs Thatcher had a vision.
An economic vision.
With all coins up it.
She believed in laissez faire economics - which is French for something, and then English again for the "economics" bit.
OK, let's pretend it's the 1980s and I'm Margaret Thatcher.
This is a political interview.
What would you ask me? I think I would start by asking, if this was, erm, the early part of her period in office, erm, why she was setting interest rates so high, why she was allowing the exchange rate to go so high in a way that was really damaging British industry and, er, causing a huge rise in unemployment, and didn't she think that she was causing huge, unnecessary suffering? You're not expecting me to answer that, seriously.
Mrs Thatcher had saved the nation from chaos with her tough economic policies, and a grateful nation erupted into lively street parties.
The sense of jubilation continued during the royal wedding of the century.
It was a dream come true, as the then future and still future King of England, the Prince of Charles, married one of the three people in his marriage, the future Queen of Hearts, Lady Diana Frank Spencer, in a wedding just like something from a fairy tale, except without a wolf or dwarves or a beanstalk, or a happy ending.
But while people waved flags like idiots at home, trouble was brewing overseas, at a faraway corner of foreign Britain known as the Isle of Falklands Island.
This island was invaded by Argentinas, who'd mistaken it for an identical island they'd left lying around in exactly the same place a few centuries ago.
Mrs Thatcher immediately fought back by bravely ordering troops to fight and die on her behalf.
And soon that famous flag, the Onion Jack, was flying over the Isle of Falklands Island once again.
Beating the Argentines at war sealed Mrs Thatcher's reputation as a tough guy so much that people started to call her the Iron Lady.
And she soon got another chance to prove just how hard she was, not in a major war but a minor strike.
During Mrs Thatcher's reign there was the Minor's Strike, wasn't there? Yeah, yeah.
Why was it considered minor? It wasn't considered minor.
It was a strike by miners.
People who go, you know, underground and dig out coal.
What's a mine? So a mine is the underground construction where you dig out the coal.
What's coal? So, coal is this black, er, rock that you burn.
And that's grown underground? And that's underground.
So the min-ers go in the mine They do.
and they get the coal.
And they get the coal.
And then they went on strike.
The miners' struck their strike in 1984, led by their leader, Arthur Scarface.
If we've got to suffer, through November and December we'll beat this CHEERING Thatcher refused to back down and soon the two sides were at war.
A class war.
The rich police on their horses in their smart uniforms, and the poor dirty miners fighting with bits of coal.
It was like something out of the Russian Revolution.
Except it was happening here.
In Britain.
Somewhere near you.
If you lived near a mine.
The miners' strike, perhaps the most bitter dispute Britain had seen in years, tore generations apart, before ending in 1985 - one whole year before the terrestrial broadcast premiere of the BBC sitcom Brush Strokes.
# Because of you # These things I do # Because of you # Because of you # Oh, oh # With the miners crushed, like miners in a bad mine, Thatcher was free to pursue her economic dreams by privatizing some of Britain's biggest assets.
Thanks to the big sell off, anyone could get rich, providing they had loads of spare money already - a system still in use to this day.
Suddenly having money was cool and no-one had more money than the yuppies, or Young Urban Twats.
To be a 1980s yuppie, did you have to qualify as a wanker first and then just work your way up? EhI think some people identified as yuppies but it was also, I think, used as an insult in the 1980s.
I've seen footage of yuppies holding Filofaxes and mobile phones.
Er, are they still in that footage or where are they now? Er, where are they now? Well, they're sort of 30 years older now so So they're not in that footage any more? Well, that footage is historical so So if you look back at that footage it'll just be empty? No Cos that person has now left.
No, the footage isis.
is a recording of what happened in the past.
So the footage stays the same but those people, we don't know what's happened to them.
But what What of their Filofaxes? What happened to them? It seemed like a golden age of twattery.
But Thatcher's luck couldn't last forever and as the 1990s approached she got too ambitious, by unveiling the controversial Paul Tax.
A tax on people called Paul.
And they were furious.
Following a wave of protests, Thatcher wound up on her Iron Arse, leaving Downing Street crying tears down her face, which she'd never done before in case it rusted.
The next Prime Minister, Major John, was as fearsome as he looked, and he presided over yet another depressing period of recession.
Britain was in a right state, not only financially but also economically, and in money terms, too.
The only hope was that we could somehow paint and sing our way out.
It was an art and culture renaissance.
An era defined by Oasis, The Spice Girls, Swede, Chris Evans, Take This, Damien Hurts, The Proddy Guy, Trainspotting, Chris Evans, Mr Blobby, Jamie Oliver, mopeds, ironic wanking, The Italian Job, Chris Evans, Chris Evans, and Chris Evans.
But one name sums up the nineties better than anyone else: Blur.
In the 1997 election, why do you think more people voted for Tony Blur than Oasis? You're making, erm, a mistake which was quite common at the time because the Prime Minister, or Labour Party leader at the time, was called Tony Blair.
Tony Blair was.
was Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Party and there was one of the biggest, erm, rock or pop bands of the time was Blur.
It's hard to remember today, but Blur and Blair were actually two different things.
Blur were a rock band locked into a notorious rivalry with Oasis.
Oasis were rough-and-tumble lads from Manchester, whereas Blur were from art school, which is the opposite of Manchester.
And that's why they hated each other.
Tony Blur, meanwhile, was a guitarist and D:ream fan, who reinvented the Labour Party and rode it to victory at the election.
Blur hosted a party at Number Ten, inviting lots of the Cool Britannia crowd and immediately making them much less cool.
Anyone who was anyone who was a massive prick was there.
But the party atmosphere was interrupted by tragedy.
Diana's death couldn't have come at a worse time for a nation that had just got really into being judgmental about her sex life.
The sense of loss was shocking.
It's hard to convey the atmosphere to younger viewers, although it's fair to say the general mood was And also But because emojis hadn't yet been invented, people had to cry with their faces.
Millions looked to the Queen to pull a ceremonial sad face in solidarity.
But with the monarch constitutionally forbidden to express emotion, their pleas fell on deaf tear ducts.
Tony Blur stepped in to say what needed to be said.
He called Diana "the Peebles Princes.
" "She was the People's Princess.
" Even though she wasn't from Peebles, she was from Norfolk, but sometimes the facts aren't as important as how something sounds.
It was the first step on a post-pop career that turned the Prime Minister into a living saint, like Bono, or Holly Willoughby.
Through the '90s, Blur solved all the nation's problems - the economy, health, education, education, education, even the Irish Troubles - there was nothing he couldn't do.
But no sooner had the 21st century started happening, than Blur dragged Britain into the war on terror.
But the war in Iraq proved about as popular as infanticide-flavoured crisps.
And Blair's legacy was well and truly shat through a bin bag.
Blur slinked off to live inside a haunted mirror, leaving Number 10 under the stewardship of a man with all the carefree joie de vivre of a haunted cave in Poland - Gorgon Brown.
Gorgon Brown knew mainly about coins, but that wouldn't help him cos all the coins were about to implode in a financial crisis which would become known as "the financial crisis".
People queued outside banks in scenes of boring desperation.
The world of money was broken and no-one knew how to fix it.
Today stock markets across the world tumbled, imploded, continued to collapse like deflated dirigibles.
People say the financial crisis happened because it just got too complicated and it's all because of the maths.
If we took maths out of the equation it'd be much easier.
Couldn't we use something else instead of numbers? I think that actually you're right, in a way.
That there is too much maths in the way that people think about the economy.
One of the things that occasionally goes wrong is that economists think that they can build PHONE RINGTONE: Man! I Feel Like A Woman by Shania Twain # Let's go girls # Sorry about that.
After Gorgon Brown stuck a plaster on the economy and left, the country needed a strong leader, and luckily one man stepped up to single-handedly save the nation.
The finest Prime Minister Britain has ever had.
A man whose name will never be forgotten.
Davis Cameron.
Davis Cameron skilfully almost won the 2010 election, and formed a Brokeback Mountain style coalition with the equally visionary and beloved Nick Clegg.
Almost immediately, Britain's problems, apart from the economy and social injustice and all the other ones, were solved, and by 2011 everything was going swimmingly.
There was even a new Diana, in the form of Kate Middleton, who married King William in a high definition reboot of the Royal Wedding.
By the time the Olympics came to Britain the country was riding the crest of a wave.
Suddenly, it seemed like we could do anything if we put our mind to it, even stop moaning.
It was a great time to be British.
Unless you were Scottish.
Scotland wasn't sure it wanted to be British any more and thought being Scottish might be good enough.
Delegates, it's game on for Scotland.
It's funny - why do Scottish people hate the English when the English have absolutely no feelings at all about the Scots? I suppose it's a bit like a a marriage .
of an old couple.
Er, it's, you know, it's as though Scotland and England got married when they were young and it's constantly under debate whether they're better off staying together for the sake of the pension and the house or if they should get divorced.
Do you think England snores? England looks to me like the kind of person that snores.
The Scots held something called a referendum, which is a way of asking the public what they want to happen, and then actually taking them seriously, unlike in an election.
In the end, Scotland voted to stay attached to England using a system of fields and roads, as before.
But the referendum had been such a hit that Davis Cameron decided he wanted one, too.
But this referendum would be about a different country: Europe.
And I will go to Parliament and propose that the British people decide our future in Europe.
It was a simple choice - should Britain leave things as they were and stay part of Europe or, alternatively, remain on its own, and become part of England instead? One thing's for sure, Davis Cameron's referendum would stop anyone arguing about Europe ever again.
When the sun rose on 24th June, 2016, with it came the news that Britain had voted Out.
Brexit was happening, and everyone was delighted.
That is now statistically, mathematically there, that the Leave campaign have won.
The Brexit result shook everything up.
Suddenly Davis Cameron was out, Theresa May was in and Jeremy Corbyn was sexually attractive.
The future of Britain is now more uncertain than at any point in the past, which is the opposite of its future.
Right now, is Britain at an important moment in history, or a significant one? ErmI'd say really important.
Not significant? Both.
What if you had to choose one? Important.
Not significant? Just because it's important, doesn't mean it's They can be both.
They can be important and significant.
Not in this.
You have to choose one.
If I'm going to choose one Yeah.
I'll chose important.
So it's not significant? Throughout this series I've charted the story of Britain, and it's a story that ends here, with the country once again at a turning point between a rock and a harder rock, closing one door with a foot in the past, and opening another with an eye to the future, an eye that's looking at itself in the mirror and asking the question, "What sort of massive country am I?" Can the nation that withstood Romans, Vikings, plagues, Great Fires, Rippers and Hitler survive itself? Will it draw upon the spirit of King Arthur, Lord Nelson, Queen Victoria, Charles Darwin and Andy Crane? Who will the Britain of tomorrow look like? And why? Britain didn't get to have a long history by ceasing to exist or being born yesterday.
The one thing we can be sure of is that Britain is Britain.
And it'll stay that way forever.
Until it's not.