The British at Work s01e03 Episode Script

To Have and Have Not, 1980-1995

From the vast factories and yards of the post-war years to today's uncertain, insecure, modern, working world.
This is a history of the way we have worked.
It's a story of remarkable change.
More and more, work wasn't just what you did.
It was who you were.
In my family, we worked in factory jobs and office jobs, in shops and shipyards.
In the '80s, it was my turn to join the world of work.
And it was an exhilarating place to be.
Markets could go absolutely mad.
And that's when you earn your money.
Here's 2,000 quid.
Take your old lady on holiday.
I got loadsa money! In these thrilling years, our work could broaden our horizons.
And our shoulder-pads.
My style was kind of benevolent dictator.
Probably a bit too aggressive.
What's the opposite of unanimous? The opposite of unanimous is Iron.
But work could also leave us shattered.
It just degrades you.
It just throws you on the scrap heap and you're left there.
That's all there is to it.
Gis a job.
Go on, gis it.
Gis a go - come on! What was happening in your working life could slice through into everything you expected from the rest of your life.
At work, the only certainty was uncertainty.
This is the era in which everything we thought we knew about our work was turned upside down.
In 1985, a drama series appeared on our scenes that perfectly captured the spirit of Thatcher's Britain.
Remember the glamour? SCREAMING The drama? Thanks for the vote of confidence(!) All right! Go ahead, if that's what you want! The sex.
Hang on - I'll just give the receiver a bang.
Ooh! Remember Howard's Way? I do.
I loved it.
It was my guilty secret.
Here was a very British TV drama series that gave Dallas and Dynasty a run for their money.
Grab a chance.
Oh, I couldn't agree more.
It was all about aspiring, enterprising types, keen to get on and fulfil their dreams of becoming their own bosses.
In the central character of Tom Howard, we found an inspiring figurehead.
After being made redundant from his job of 20 years, he decides to plough his golden handshake into a business of his own, much to his wife's horror.
Think of the risk, Tom.
The last thing we can afford to do is to throw that money down the drain.
Maybe it's time I took a few risks.
Look where playing safe has got me.
Risk-taking was what it was all about in the 1980s.
We started to dare, to dream of a new way of doing things, of throwing off the corporate shackles and going it alone.
Working in jobs that we felt passionate about, where we could be in control of our own lives.
In the early '80s, Jackie Sharpe travelled from Cumbria to Surrey to become a nanny but her ambitions soon soared.
Once I became a nanny, I just looked around me and I was in this beautiful house.
They had a fantastic swimming pool.
She was in the film business, he was in the wine business.
I was in heaven.
She came back every night, "Jackie, glass of wine? "Oh, sweetie, darling," because she was in the film business.
And we just had a lovely time.
I thought, "Hm, I quite like this and I want this for me".
In 1984, aged just 21, Jackie followed her dream and set up her own marketing company.
Where was your office when you set up business? It was in a bedsit.
Is this? Yes, and this is it, and basically I had the office, at first, just with a phone and a desk.
Is this a colleague, being terribly high powered? Yes, that's right! Yes.
Do you think you were sort of swept up by the spirit of the '80s, the idea that anybody could be, should be, an entrepreneur? Yeah, I think at the time it was very much if you've got the nerve, you can go out and do it.
I had friends who were property developers and just doing those things that nobody had really thought about before and I think women were coming on more.
So I just felt, "Well, I'll give it a go.
" I'd never really set out You know, when I set out from secretarial college and nannying it was the last thing that I thought I'd do but I just happened to be in the right place at the right time and gave myself that push.
By 1984, nearly 2.
5 million Britons were running their own small businesses, up a third from the previous decade.
I'm starting my own business.
David, that's fantastic! But it wasn't just advertiser's peddling the dream.
In the coming years, my purpose is to see that private enterprise can start to earn the return that it needs.
The Conservative government believed this was a new era for the British at work.
We could be a nation of inspiring self-starters.
We live in a world of constant change.
Adapting to change is a challenge for everyone and making the most of change is the entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs are self-starters, people from all walks of life who thrive on change, recognise new needs and do something about it.
But for all this rousing talk, the experience of work for millions during the 1980s was in fact being out of work.
Even Tom Howard's inspiring example started with him being made redundant.
Two years after the Conservatives came to power, Britain was plunged into a worldwide recession.
Unemployment more than doubled, from 1.
5 million to more than 3 million, the largest recorded figure in 50 years.
In the previous decade, there had been outrage when unemployment spiralled.
But Mrs Thatcher's administration simply didn't think it was the job of the state to keep us all in work.
Their focus was on creating a vibrant private sector.
The Government's getting inflation down, interest rates down, reforming trade union law - the rest is up to industry.
Because in the end, it is private employers who will produce the great majority of jobs.
In this radical economic shake-out, it was the traditional heavy industries - shipbuilding, car manufacture, steel production, mining - that were hardest hit.
Up until now, if they got into a spot of bother, they were propped up - essentially bailed out - by the Government.
Not any more.
This new Tory administration made it clear it was time now to sink or swim.
On the front line of this new economic reality were the 142,000 employees of loss-making colossus British Steel.
The Steel Corporation has no money.
It's virtually bankrupt.
You are doing the country a great deal of harm.
SHOUTING AND CHANTING Despite a national steel strike and noisy resistance from the workforce, numbers were slashed by 100,000.
Terry Headland was one of the 14,000 men made redundant from the Corby Steelworks in 1980.
Myself, my father, we're not skilled men.
My brother isn't a skilled man either, so And he's got a wife and family to support as well.
Not much hope of anything, really.
I'm fed up with it, you know? "Fed up with it.
" What do you think now, looking back on that? Strewth, it's a long time ago, isn't it, eh? It is a long time ago.
I think, 30 years ago I mean, that was the main industry in Corby.
When I left school, you knew you were going into a job for life.
The steel works as going to be It had been there forever, it'll be there forever.
Obviously, it wasn't, you know.
And also what strikes me, watching that It wasn't just you that was going through this trauma - it was family-wide.
Your brothers, your brother- in-law, and your father.
And a lot of families in the town were in the same position.
What had having that job at the steelworks meant to you, when you had it? It was a job.
It was a full-time job.
Bringing money into the house, too, which meant you could afford your holidays, you could afford your car.
And that was going to be taken away from you.
So that was a horrendous thought.
Suddenly one minute you've got an income coming in, and the next What do I do next week? How do I pay the mortgage? How do I pay the electric? I mean, I may have signed on once or twice during my working life, but the thought of going into a JobCentre or the benefits office, it's something The dole queue, or the dole office, you know, it is gutting.
Losing a job wasn't just about losing a wage packet.
I remember in my own family back in the 1980s, my dad was made redundant and it didn't just have an effect on him and his self-esteem - it had an effect on the entire family.
As a teenager, I felt insecure about what the future might bring.
Dependants, Mr Dean? Yeah, a wife and four kids.
Two at school and two on the dole.
Unfortunately, the two on the dole don't count.
Nobody on the dole counts, friend.
Boys From The Blackstuff was TV's most impassioned response to the devastating changes taking place in the industrial North, a lament for the end of male working-class unionised culture and one figure in particular struck a chord.
Gis a job.
Go on, gis it.
Gis a go - go on! I could do that.
You only have to walk the streets.
I can walk the street.
Go on, gis a job.
Go on, gis a go.
Go on, gis a job.
I could do that.
That's easy! Go on, gis a job.
Gis a job.
Remember that? The plaintive cry of Yosser almost became a sort of catchphrase in the 1980s.
How does it feel To treat me like you do? Unemployment left men reeling and caused havoc in traditional family set-ups.
When Terry lost his job, his wife, Susan, found her hopes for their future put on hold.
He can't have children.
I want a family but, I mean, what chance do we stand of having a family? Because you can't guarantee that he'll be in work, and it'd be a fine state of affairs if I did have a baby and then went back to work and he'd be left him looking after it.
For all this women's lib and that, it is not the way it's done.
The women in Corby are having to work to support the men.
That's the way it's looking at the moment.
Susan, you seem very angry there.
Were you an angry young woman at that point? I was.
I was really angry.
I've got to where I want to - I've got my husband, I've got my nice home, I've got my two children, but it's not the way I would have wanted it.
If I'd I always thought that when we got married, I would have time off to be with my children, like my mum had been with me.
But whereas my mum had the luxury of being at home all day I worked in between school time.
I always have worked, because I've had to.
I think things have got to change because the majority of women do work full-time, and have got to work full time.
In a lot of marriages, the woman, basically, is the breadwinner.
When am I gonna make a living? Whether by necessity or choice, more and more women were becoming breadwinners.
Over a million joined the work force in the first half of the decade.
And for some women, work proved to be a liberating experience.
Angela Mortimer was always clear which path she wanted to take.
I've always thought boys had more fun than girls.
They had better toys than girls as well.
I mean, what you can do with a train set certainly beats what you can do with a doll.
So, I never had any doubt in my mind about how I wanted to spend my life, I just had no idea at all it would pan out like that.
But I always thought going out and doing stuff was more fun than staying at home, which of course, it is.
By the early '80s, Angela was juggling motherhood and a busy career as the head of a recruitment agency.
The '80s was really the birth, wasn't it, of women having it all.
Did that feel satisfying or harassing to you, having it all? Well, I knew what the alternative was, of staying at home and I watched my mother do nothing but clean-up after three fairly graceless girls and wash and iron and cook and just watch the house get dirtied again.
And I knew I didn't want to do that.
The women who became wage-earners in the early '80s were entering a very different workplace to the one their husbands and fathers had known.
By 1983, Britain, once famous as the workshop of the world had become a net importer of manufactured goods.
Now, instead of making things, we were selling them.
Excuse me, hello, would you like to try Sensual, it's our new fragrance from Christian Dior.
Hold on a moment, we're giving away a lovely bag and soap free when you spend ã12.
Hello, sales division.
New jobs sprung up in recruitment and market research, in banking, retail and telesales.
Thank you for calling, sir.
It's Philippa speaking, can I help you? Charles Handy had worked as an executive in the oil business and as an academic at the London Business School.
But in the early '80s, he was a management consultant, watching work change.
Some people talked of a revolution in the work place in the '80s.
I would call it more and evolution, actually.
Who's next? We moved into the service industries.
That was a world where thinkers and brains counted, more than muscles and brawn.
And actually, men weren't as good with fingers and brains as, well, women were.
And also, of course, in the service industry, people are much closer to the client than they were when they were down the mines or in the steelworks or wherever.
And if you're closer to the client, you really have to have quite good interpersonal skills.
Can you hear me all right at your end? Lovely.
So it's two chemical toilets for sale, flushable ã16, non-flushable, ã8.
The flood of women into work rippled through our families.
And the lengths some men had to go to, to find a job also strained home life.
See you next week.
The collapse of male-dominated manufacturing and heavy industry, forced thousands to take the skills they had and hit the road.
With some emphatic careers advice from Employment Secretary, Norman Tebbit, ringing in their ears.
I grew up in the 30s with an unemployed father.
He didn't riot, he got on his bike and looked for work.
And he kept looking until he found it.
When he was made redundant in 1985, John Smith was forced to heed Mr Tebbit's words and take a job in Kent, hundreds of miles from his home in the north-east.
Mr Tebbit, bless his little heart, advised people to get on his bike and off we went to Dungeness in Kent.
So you did get on your bike? We got an our bike, exactly.
We went down to power station, applied for the job, got the job and we had nowhere to go because the area then was flooded with 100 Geordies and Teessiders coming down for work.
And there was no accommodation.
We met some of our fellow north-east workers who said, hotbed, which was an expression which meant you worked 12 hour days and 12 hour nights and you would jump into their warm bed after they had gone to work and that is what we did for a week.
That's desperate measures, isn't it? I mean, getting into another bloke's bed when he goes on his shift? It was, but we had to start the job.
Herr Grunwald? Ja? Reporting for work, sir.
Patterson, Osborne and Hope.
It is not good, I think, to arrive so late.
Yeah, well, sorry sir, can we just check into the hostel and then we'll get back here smartish? The hostel is full.
You will have to stay on the compound.
Put your things in your hut.
Hut? What is he talking about, hut? 'It was desperate.
' We sat there one night and my friend was strumming a guitar and the ceiling dropped in! THEY LAUGH And he kept on plucking and said, "We'll have to find somewhere else.
" I promise you, that happened.
Hi, Jim.
Yeah, Jason.
John's experience of grubby digs wasn't unusual.
I don't even know why everyone comes down here because there's no good thing about it, really.
Is there? Look at the place we're living in.
I'll show you something here, mate.
Have a look at that.
That is just bad news, that, isn't it? Poor living conditions were only the half of it.
John was also faced with a punishing shift pattern that didn't leave much time for family life.
I was working 14 12-hour shifts away from home so I was 350 miles away from home.
Then I'd get a weekend off which was 36 hours.
A few hours with the wife and children and away at 4 o'clock on the Sunday morning, back down again for another fortnight of 84 hour shifts per week.
Carol, those were very tough times.
What was it like for you knowing you'd have this 1.
5 days a week and you'd be doing the washing and all the other things? We didn't have any leisure time as such when he came home.
And it was very hard because I had the two boys.
Any problems you have with them, I had to deal with it myself.
But it was awful missing him.
The time alone in the night time when the children were in bed.
When you are sat there and, you know, your husband should be with you and he wasn't.
And seven and a half years is a long time to do that.
Families like the Smiths were facing tough times.
But Britain's school leavers were having to learn a hard lesson, too.
I've got up here what's happened to school leavers from this school, this year and last year.
And what is the first thing you notice about it? The number going into jobs has gone down.
It has gone down by quite a lot.
You're all in for quite a rough time, the next few years are not going to be easy at all.
When we refer to the baby boom generation, we tend to think about those people born in the years just after the Second World War, but there was another baby boom in Britain.
It happened at the beginning of the 1960s, slightly before my generation.
In the 1980s, when these kids were coming of age, leaving school and looking for work, they were entering the toughest job market since the 1930s.
Never had so many had so few job prospects.
In 1981, school-leavers accounted for one million of the three million unemployed.
Last time you were here, I contacted some more firms for you and I'm afraid we've had no success.
'Many school leavers, whether they are black or white, 'face the same depressing prospect as David from Kilburn.
' I've been going there for about five months.
Everywhere, not giving up, trying to keep my spirits up that I will eventually find something.
But when you are turned down every time, it just gets depressing.
Here's a nice cheery little editorial from a Daily Mirror of the day.
It says: "The voice of youth, no future.
"Kids who live in the shadow of the dole.
"There will be no jobs for half the youngsters leaving school this summer.
" The baby boom of the early '60s had turned into the youth gloom of the 1980s.
MUSIC: "Ghost Town" by The Specials And where there are great social problems, there are spiky protest songs.
The Specials haunted us with their vision of industrial waste lands in Ghost Town.
This town is coming like a ghost town Then there was UB40, intoning the unemployment statistics with One In Ten.
I am the one in ten.
Even though I don't exist.
Then we have The Jam, of course, talking about the broken dreams of the youth of our country, Town Called Malice.
A town called Malice But the one that really got me hot under the collar was this.
Oh, yes, Wham Rap.
Wham bam I am a man Job or no job.
You can't tell me that I'm not.
Do you enjoy what you do? If not, just stop, don't stay there and rot! Yes, all right, all right, I virtually know all the words and I do know it's embarrassing.
But cheesy as it is, that song really spoke to me and my generation.
It meant that we were different from our parents, it meant that we knew if we had to go to work, we at least wanted to do a job we enjoyed.
In the streets, in the cars, on the underground If you listen real hard, you can hear the sound Of a million people switching off for work Well, listen, Mr Average, you're a jerk.
With all the wisdom of youth, Wham were demanding work that was more satisfying than some 9-5 nightmare.
But with so little work around, what were the people in charge to do for the youth of the '80s? I said DHSS Man, the rhythm that they're giving is the very best.
If the Government was no longer willing to guarantee you a job for life, it wasn't going to let you swan around in your leather jacket on the dole either.
DHSS was replaced with YTS.
Frankly, Mr Shankly, this position I've held Our Youth Training Scheme is the most imaginative in the Western world.
Every 16-year-old who leaves school next year will either have a job or a year of full-time training.
Unemployment will not then be an option.
A rash of schemes followed the YTS, urging the unemployed of Britain to become a nation of go-getting self-starters.
If you need help applying for jobs, there's this Restart course.
Give you a few tips and improve your chances.
But if you want to work for yourself, they can help with money, enterprise allowance.
Janet set up her own landscape business.
Janet? Seen anything you like? Yep, I'll be back.
The ad for the Enterprise Allowance Scheme made Mrs Thatcher's vision perfectly clear.
"Inside every unemployed person, there's a self-employed one.
" Unlikely as it may seem in Scotland in the early 80s, I myself was part of that Thatcherite revolution.
I had left school and was supposed to be going to college, but I worked as a dogsbody for a cameraman one summer and fell in love with the world of TV.
So I signed up to the Enterprise Allowance Scheme, I got ã40 a week, I become a self-employed runner.
No getting away from it, I was one Thatcher's children.
And I wasn't the only one out there starting a job far removed from anything anyone in my family had ever done, a career that said something about my dreams and aspirations.
I remember talking to people about what they were doing and most of them were doing occupations that my parents had never heard of, because they didn't exist.
It was very liberating because they could form a completely new identity, something that their parents would know nothing of.
So that was very exciting, creating not only a new world for themselves but a new world for society.
By the mid 80s, Alexandra Bennigsen had landed herself a job as a senior executive at super-slick American Express.
Working with an American company was really quite energising, you know.
I hate to use the word empowering, but it was very empowering.
Just that realisation that someone like me, born in Glasgow, parents who were loving, caring, wanted to move on but not wealthy, could actually travel around the world, meet different people, get involved, finally going on boards of companies and doing lots of interesting things.
This emerging class of British workers frothing with ambition and energy defied the old categories of blue collar and white collar.
They demanded a new definition.
Look at this helpful little thing.
The Official British Yuppie Handbook.
Let's see what their official British definition of a yuppie is? "A yuppie is a young urban professional "whose main aims in life are to make piles of money, "exhibit style and achieve physical perfection.
" Don't think I was a yuppie.
Let's see what they have to say about the world of work.
The Yupscale: How to Evaluate a Job.
"Interesting work and a hefty income are only two of the prerequisites of a yuppie job.
"It must also sound impressive at dinner parties and be open to exploitation by the media.
"If the job provides feature material for a TV documentary "or a colour supplement article, so much the better.
" Yes, I probably was a yuppie because I had all the characteristics - I was younger, I was definitely upwardly mobile, I wanted that next job, that next pay rise, that next bonus, I wanted a bigger house or a better car.
The 80s, for me, saw that choice really starting to open up.
You really felt that if you did a great job, achieved your sales or marketing goals, you would get the bonus, the promotion and there was a clear path.
For 16-year-old Adele McKeown from north Wales, the '80s also saw new horizons opening up.
We grew up in an a world where it wasn't unusual for us to aspire to be something our parents and grandparents were not.
We were told you can go abroad, go on fantastic holidays, you can drive a nice car, live in a nice home, you can own your own home, which was something that felt new and exciting.
We did work hard, we worked long hours, but we got a lot of rewards for it as well.
In 1984, Adele landed herself her dream job as a travel agent.
'She's only been in the job for a few months but already she's able to deal with customers on her own.
' Do you have any information on self-catering holidays in Denmark? I'll just get you a brochure.
Thank you very much.
Suddenly I was in a world where there were aeroplanes and people going off to exotic destinations.
The travel programmes of the time told us about places we'd barely heard about.
'Tonight we're going skiing in Romania.
' Yes, Romania.
And I was there with the brochures, learning to sell the dream.
Thanks very much for your help.
It was a time when there was so much to learn.
Everything was changing on a day-to-day basis.
Change seemed to be the only certainty in our working lives.
In offices across the nation, we were switching onto a new way of working.
'In the modern office, machines have not yet replaced people.
'The human touch is still necessary but the introduction of new technology has improved efficiency 'and makes office work more interesting.
' Over the decade, hundreds of new computer systems were launched and mass marketed.
First on the market in 1981 was this little beauty, the IBM "compact" 5150 personal computer.
The first system we used was called Prestel.
It was very basic.
We had a huge monitor and the smallest, daintiest keyboard.
It was great, I had the sense of power, there was a new system, not everybody had the confidence to work with it, but I did.
Then this vastly improved, much more compact and even cheaper model came on the market.
It was the Amstrad PCW 8256.
In those days, the software was completely different.
We had things like WordStar.
And then when what they call WYSIWYG came in, what you see is what you get.
You could actually see, without having to print it out, what you were going to get.
That was like a miracle! But if you really wanted to show off your cutting edge computer credibility, then you'd invest in one of these, an Apricot Portable.
And would you believe it, it even had a wireless keyboard.
That'll never catch on.
It doesn't mean you have to forget Keeping up with the new kit was a huge challenge for millions of people at work.
In front of you, you have a screen with a detachable keyboard, two disc drives and a panel of keys on the right-hand side.
How difficult was it to keep pace with the changing technology? It was a big challenge for PAs, they needed a lot of support.
And certainly, if women had taken career breaks in the early '80s and came back, they'd never seen a word processor.
And so these incredibly adequate people with the most beautiful shorthand had to go back for training.
They had to keep up to date.
Before we begin to type, we must put in a working disc.
You take the disc between your thumb and forefinger, the label pointing to the ceiling, and you place it in the disc drive here, and you close the door.
Not all this breathtaking innovation was deskbound.
The era also saw lots of workplaces uprooted and revitalised.
Old industrial sites gave way to sleek, shiny business parks, our new temples to work.
What we began to discover in the '80s was that the sort of place you worked in and the sort of area you worked in was important to getting the right kind of people.
They no longer wanted to trudge into the city, into the centre of industrial towns.
They wanted to have bright, new, gleaming campuses, they began to call them.
We began to create very desirable hotel-like, club-like offices for them to come and check into, to say, "We want to make the workplace so attractive that you love to come there.
" New locations packed with new technologies were blossoming, reshaping creaking, grimy workplaces.
For centuries, making newspapers had been one of those murky businesses, all clanking machinery and hot metal.
But in the mid 80s, it was dramatically overhauled at the east London headquarters of Rupert Murdoch's News International.
David Banks had spent 13 years in the old Fleet Street news business.
His new workplace at Wapping was a revelation.
When I first went to Wapping I was astounded, I was stunned.
I'd never seen anything like it, it was like Star Trek.
There were gleaming white computers everywhere.
But whilst some of the staff were invited to boldly go to Mr Murdoch's new frontier, others weren't so welcome onboard.
For years, Fleet Street had been a union stronghold, but those days were about to come to an abrupt end.
New technologies in Wapping were going to mean fewer jobs and new terms for those who went to work there.
The printers could come to work at the new Wapping plant if they agreed to the following.
"Management had absolute right to manage.
"There would be no closed shop and a no-strike clause.
"Anyone going on strike would face instant dismissal.
" It was a take-it-or-leave-it offer.
Billy Osborne, who'd worked in Fleet Street for 26 years, was one of the 6,000 printers who were summarily dismissed for breaking the no-strike clause.
Can you give me an idea of how that felt to you personally, when you were such a passionate union man? Sick.
I'd seen what had happened to the miners, the brutality that was used to just smash people who only wanted to defend their livelihoods, and I could see the same exactly the self same thing happening to us.
I could see all my forebears' hard work in my industry, apart from other industries, allfor nothing, all going by the ball because somebody wanted to make more money.
Wapping was a watershed.
It signalled a crucial turning point in the fortunes of management.
In the decade before, the unions had ruled the shop-floor.
Now it was the managers' turn.
Without doubt, Wapping wasn't just a printing revolution, it was part of the Thatcher revolution.
Of course, it emboldened other managements to run a much skinnier operation and far more efficient and less troubled in fact, not at all troubled by union considerations.
For years, British management had had a reputation for lethargy and lack of thrust.
No more.
Many were now professionalised by business-schools, becoming dynamic, purposeful and tough.
Managers had to become much more focused.
They became much more businesslike.
It made it more ruthless because people began to say, "Oh yes, we all talk about our people "being an asset, but they really are our costs, aren't they?" And costs are things to be diminished.
Don't mess around with the demolition man.
Alexandra Bennigsen was one of the new breed of managers, forced to make some hard-nosed economic decisions.
If I go back to the '80s now, whilst it was terrific and it was great for me, there was some tough times.
We had to fire people.
It wasn't easy, I remember in one company we had to fire probably about 30% of the staff.
But I have to say, to be honest, it did sharpen everybody up.
It sharpened me up because I'm thinking, I'd better get better at what I'm doing because I might not have a job.
My style was probably, I would like to think, kind of benevolent dictator.
Probably a bit too aggressive.
I don't think I was particularly aggressive, but I was very clear about what I wanted.
And you always got that, "aggressive woman" as opposed to "assertive man".
But fine, as long as you got the job done.
Peering across the landscape of working Britain, it wasn't too hard to find a role model for the assertive female boss.
Would you like to order sir? Yes, I will have a steak.
How do you like it? Raw please.
What about the vegetables? Oh, they'll have the same as me.
It seems significant that the term "power-dressing" was first coined in 1979, the very year Mrs Thatcher first came to power.
The prime minister surely did more than Dynasty and Dallas to broaden the shoulders of working women.
Here was a PM, a woman who came to understand that she had to dress to impress.
And impress she did.
Her 1987 trip to Russia to meet Gorbachev had the media all aflutter.
While Mrs Thatcher's trip to Moscow is being keenly observed by the political pundits, it seems to be attracting the attention of the fashion critics.
Her clothes appear to have undergone a rather dramatic transformation.
Caroline, she does seem to have gone rather chic, doesn't she, this trip? Very chic, very glamourous.
What are you chuckling at, Jeremy Paxman? No, we are being very demure over here.
Where does Mrs Thatcher get her clothes from? It's a secret, I don't know where she gets them from.
The secret agent behind Mrs Thatcher's new look was Margaret King, a director at the classic clothing company, Aquascutum.
In photocalls or meetings with foreign leaders, most often she'd be the only woman in a sea of men.
Were you conscious of using the fact that she was a woman to help her stand out? Oh yes, that's why I introduced various pipings on to suits.
It cuts the figure down and it gives you an outline.
You see, there is the piping on the suit.
And here she is wearing it.
And there it is photographed and it comes up well.
If it hadn't had the piping it would have looked blobby.
But, with the piping it was an outline definition.
Defined her? Yes.
What about this? When was that Polaroid taken? That is terrific.
I used to take odd ones in her bedroom when she put things on.
That's a woman happy in what she's wearing, isn't it? I mean it's she looks She did hold herself so well.
It's not my job to be a fashion leader but it is my job not to be obviously out of fashion.
Or obviously wrongly dressed and I must never be mutton dressed as lamb, never.
Mrs T as fashion icon to a generation, oh yes! Look at that cheeky little number.
Very good, it's got the definition that Margaret King liked.
I actually would in my baby news-reading days have been very proud.
I probably almost did wear something that looked like that.
Hello, I'm Angus Simpson.
And I'm Kirsty Young, this is the lunchtime edition of Scotland Today.
Shoulders are wider and they are higher so they all had to have pads put in.
This is actually something which was specially made in Thailand and it's got the big It's really got them, the 80s offenders.
You had to have the shoulders as a sign of authority.
And there were courses we were told to have shoulders so you looked like a bloke.
So, wear your shoulder pads, and a nice big badge because you haven't got a medal, and that will do the job.
Look at these! Is there an oyster big enough, I wonder, to have produced these little beauties.
Pearls, they have a sort of luminescence about them.
And particularly pearl earrings and they do give your face a little lift.
You dressed to say, "I am the manager.
" It was the trouser suits, silk shirts, big earrings, hair, shoulder pads.
And that was your uniform.
A combination of being quite feminine but that slight sharpness.
Feel the power! Feel the power in that suit! Very '80s.
It wasn't just the women who were wanting to power-dress, take a look at this extraordinary album cover.
It's Heaven 17's Penthouse And Pavement.
Talk and talk No time.
The backdrop, huge glass towers, they're all wearing sharp suits with massive shoulder pads, hair in ponytails.
Here comes the daylight, here comes my job.
The whole thing looks more like an annual report than it does the cover of a record.
The message they're giving here is very clear indeed.
Business is now cool and sexy.
In the previous decade, British business had been anything but.
Raciness of any kind had been unfamiliar to that most august quarter of British working life - The City of London.
BELL RINGS For centuries, the Square Mile had been run by a cabal of privately owned British firms with well-established ways of doing things with the nation's money.
But in 1986, something called Big Bang rocked this cosy world.
Good evening.
For the first time ever on Monday, the buying and selling of stocks and shares will be anyone's game.
As a century of financial tradition in the City of London collapses as the Square Mile throws open its doors to greet the world's financiers.
With financial deregulation, came an influx of big American banks who turned our venerable British working culture upside down.
I think the shit's hitting the fan, guys.
It dramatically changed things.
Before that, the financial world was a bit stolid.
Bankers, were pretty boring people actually, they were very reliable, very trustworthy but not the most exciting people in the world.
They certainly weren't gamblers or anything like that.
Suddenly all that was thrown to the winds and it became exciting to be a banker.
INCOHERENT SHOUTING And the impact of the Big Bang didn't stop there.
For people working in finance, whole new horizons opened up.
The old class barriers were being smashed down.
It suddenly became possible to get a job in areas that up until then, had been confined to those and such as those, the old boys' network.
Steve Reynolds from Kent went straight from school to work in the city.
Opportunities arose for everyone after Big Bang and there was a big influx of people coming in.
Not just from the privileged classes or the university classes, but from comprehensive schools, all over the place.
By the time of Big Bang, Steve had moved from the more staid stock market to the foreign exchange.
It proved to be a welcome change of scene.
The foreign exchange was extremely aggressive, but I have to say it was great fun at the same time.
Oi, Gary! Gary! SHOUTING Markets could move very, very quickly, very suddenly, and that creates exciting times.
Lots of shouting, lots of screaming and because the noise level was so high we had to use hand signals.
So anything away from you was selling, anything towards you was buying.
If you get an order to pay eight for 25.
That would be you're buying that.
If you're selling that it would be 25 at eight.
So anything away selling, buying.
It's just an ABC, you learn again.
It all added to the mystique of the place really.
This American way of doing business energised the City.
And as the pace of work accelerated, so too did the booty.
It's creating more business, competition and we are dealing more.
What you mean is your earning twice as much as you were earning a few months ago.
Three times.
I remember my first bonus was about ã1,500 and that felt huge at the time.
The last few years I was there my bonuses were sort of ã200,000 a time.
And it paid an awful lot of things when you needed it.
I always drink champagne, best drop of lager money can buy, champagne, innit? I used to get the first round and I'd go, "Oi mate, "I want ten pints of champagne and two pints of champagne top, all right?" The culture was champagne bottles and loads of cash.
Rather brash youngsters.
The stock market will be a car-park in five years' time.
I will have made a fortune and that's what I want.
Probably hated by 50% of the people in London and very much out there and throwing money around and looking prats, to be honest with you.
The rewards for ambitious young City workers were rich indeed.
But, there was a price to pay.
When the Americans were here they used to work hard and that started happening to us.
And there was no end to a day, there wasn't, "I'm going to go home at 4.
15pm, and going to go home at 5pm.
" You go home when you finished your job and that's all there is to it.
You began to have this culture that you've got to be seen to be working very hard so nobody would leave the office until the boss left.
It became a macho kind of thing to see how long you could stay at work and how early you could get up.
It was a test of your motivation and determination.
Everyone was required to step up to the plate and put the effort in.
Your ethic was to just work to be there.
And it was expected from you, the companies expected you to be there.
But, if you want to get those bonuses you don't mind, you don't mind putting the hours in.
You don't mind doing what ever to get there.
There is a carrot there that you want.
And those who didn't want it didn't last very long.
With their work hard, play hard ethos and their Bollinger and bonuses, City boys and girls are easy to resent and ridicule.
But they aren't just some '80s anachronism.
They really were at the forefront of a revolution in the workplace that encouraged so many of us to be ceaseless workaholics, who were dedicated to and defined by our work.
So, whenever you do that extra hour in the office, work the weekend or get the spreadsheets out after the kids have gone to bed, you are following at trail laid by the traders, dealers and bankers of the '80s.
The '80s, to get that career, I can't tell you how hard it was to really break through.
I think you were living the job, living the career.
I suppose if you're looking at sacrifices, I never had children, it was too difficult.
Do I regret any of that? Absolutely not.
The '80s was a great time, if you believed in yourself, then you really could go places.
The world was your oyster, it could be what ever you wanted it to be.
Creativity became a dominant factor in your ability to shape your own lives.
Could you actually conceive of something that hadn't been done before? Could you conceive of living in a way your parents hadn't lived? Exciting for some, terribly worrying for others.
As we moved out of the 1980s, what we could do in our working lives was more than ever before, up to us.
Work wasn't some great shared experience any more, we were on our own.
Next week, work gets more frenetic.
We are motivators.
We're going to unlock potential.
But less formal.
You'll never have another boss like me.
Someone who's basically a chilled out entertainer.
As we hit the restless new century.