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7 Ingredients For Essential Nineties Sunday Night TV

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sunday night tv header featuring last of the summer wine, heartbeat and londons burning

Did you ever spend the evening in front of a three-bar heater, staving off another school week by watching absolute dross on Sunday night TV? What was it about this timeslot that attracted the most twee of television shows?

Yet this niche period in the program schedule was the ultimate of relaxants. It was almost like mindfulness, but with added antiques, hymns, and a dose of light comedy. Sandwiched between overdue homework and an overcooked lunch, it was a perfect farewell to the week.

Below, we have listed the perfect ingredients for a nineties Sunday evening. From television shows to bath products, reminisce about just how good the last day of the week once was.

A Matey Bath Before Sunday Night TV

Sunday night tv two images of matey bubble bath

Anyone who does not have a child may be surprised to know that Matey is still alive and kicking. Invented in the US in the 50s, it took the premise of a cutesy, carton nautical theme and stuck it on a standard bottle of bubble bath.

As time has gone on, there have been numerous characters and faces on the bottles. From creepy clowns to smiling sailors, they were the essence of childhood bathtime.

Yes, there may have been a time after Christmas when your bubble bath was replaced with a medicinal potion from a plastic Stone Cold Steve Austin model. But it was matey you always returned to.

Songs of Praise

sunday night tv songs of praise presenters Aled Jones

Even the most hardened atheists have to confess to enjoying a dose of Songs of Praise. For many people, it was the only time they would see the inside of a church until Christmas. For some, it was the only time they would see one at all.

Young children were astounded with the vigor and enthusiasm with which songs were sung. For anyone who grew up in a Catholic school, this was very different from how hymns were delivered in assembly. Mumbles and faux Latin were out while booming baritones and falsettos were in.

The icing on the cake was when one came on you actually knew. Cue a stirring rendition of All Creatures Great and Small, with the occasional line, replaced by a knob joke.

Official Chart Show

sunday night tv official chart show

Way back in the nineties, before streaming, the music charts mattered. Waiting patiently by the radio on Sunday to see if your favorite band was number one was as exciting as it got. If you had a tape set to record, you had it made.

Mark Goodier and Bruno Brookes were the classic voices who presented in the decade. From the house movement at the start of the era to the floods of boybands at the end, there was never a dull moment. Battles between heavyweights like Blur and Oasis even made it onto mainstream news.

Unfortunately, as music consumption changed, so did people’s desire to listen to the countdown. It moved from its Sunday slot to Friday to align with global streaming releases. It may not have been television but it made Sunday night, and it was never the same without it.

Heartbeat

Sunday night tv heartbeat and the cast featuring Nick berry

Unless you were lucky and allowed to stay up late, this really was the last bastion of the weekend. A whimsical police drama set during the sixties in a rural North Yorkshire idyll.

The best thing about this Sunday night TV show was the classic soundtrack. Most episodes had a section in which someone was in a chase to the soundtrack of ‘Drive My Car’ by The Beatles. The rest was filled with The Kinks, The Who, The Hollies, and A list sixties talent.

The show was originally created as a showcase for Eastenders Heartthrob Nick Berry. However, it was a dirty old vagabond known as Claude Greengrass who really stole the show. And of course, barmaid Gina, who everyone fancied at least a little bit.

Last Of The Summer Wine

Last of the summer wine featuring compo character

Ask anyone from outside the UK what a quintessentially British comedy looks like. You are sure to be answered with descriptions of Monty Python and Mr. Bean. However, Last of the Summer Wine is the true holder of the crown.

Following the exploits of three senior citizens in a Yorkshire village, it holds the title of the world’s longest-running sitcom. Its light humor started in 1973 and ran all the way up to 2010. Despite numerous changes to the lineup, episodes with Clegg, Compo, and Foggy remained the classic combination.

Despite its naive charm, it is hard to say that it was not funny at times. Old men with ferrets down their trousers seem to be somewhat lacking from today’s Sunday night TV schedules.

Londons Burning

Sunday night tv cast of londons burning

London’s Burning was a late one, starting at 9 on Sunday evening. It was essential viewing. Starting off with a very successful TV movie, it followed a fictional fire brigade named Blue Watch.

London’s Burning ran for 14 series, from 1988 to 2002. Its stories ran the whole range of television drama tropes, from affairs to heroic deaths.

Its greatest success lay in its extremely believable characters. Sicknote was a hypochondriac who always thought his world was at an end. Mess manager ‘Bayleaf’ was another much-loved everyman.

The whole show is available for streaming, should you wish to recreate your ideal childhood Sunday night.

Soldier Soldier

Sunday night tv two picture featuring Robson green and Gerome Flynn

This series unleashed a lot of evils on the world. The first was the smash hit music career of its two main stars, Robson Green and Gerome Flynn.

Green would later take up a television career as an extreme fisher. Gerome would bag himself some great roles in Game of Thrones, Ripper Street and other top shows.


Despite its standard soap tropes of financial woe and friendship ending affairs, it did have a lot of truths. Set after the backdrop of the Cold War, it dealt with the closure of many armed force roles and regiments. It was also probably the only Sunday show that made your mother go weak at the knees.

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