What Happened In The UK In 1990?

1990 was an action-packed year in the UK, in which events took place that changed the face of the country. Breaking the year down into the biggest political, sports and entertainment news; here’s what happened…

First off, it was the year that the literal breakthrough was made in the channel tunnel; construction workers drilling through the final slice of rock that separated the UK and French halves of the project. Television pictures showed the workers celebrating as they came face-to-face in the middle of the tunnel before walking on to have their passports stamped in the opposite country (the first time anyone has walked between the two countries since the Ice Age!).

Politically, the ruling Conservative party endured a far from ideal year. Demonstrations against the poll tax they had earlier implemented led to the worst riots seen in London for a century; with over 100 people being injured and nearly 350 arrested. Their long time figure-head Margaret Thatcher took the fall for this, amongst other things, and resigned as Prime Minister, to be replaced by John Major.

Sports wise, 1990 is best remembered for the Italia ’90 football world cup. Going into the tournament surrounded in controversy, and having already announced that he would leave after it, Bobby Robson led England to the semi-finals of the competition, where they lost on penalties to eventual world cup winners West Germany. However, perhaps the biggest winners were the ‘Three Tenors’ (specifically Pavarotti) who became major world stars as a result of their singing performances throughout the tournament.

Other stars to arrive in 1990, this time coming from America, came in the form of the yellow skinned ‘Simpsons’. By the end of the year everyone was familiar with Homer, Bart, Marge, Lisa and Maggie, and the catchphrase ‘Eat My Shorts’. Also coming over from the States was David Hasselhoff’s and Pamela Anderson’s ‘Baywatch’. As lifeguards in Los Angeles, they ran about in not much clothing and saved some lives; everyone was happy and the show was a big hit.

The biggest film of 1990 was ‘Home Alone’ which made a star of the little boy (Macaulay Culkin) who woke up to find that his Christmas wish had come true and that his family had disappeared. Also out that year was ‘Pretty Woman’, starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, which involved a love affair between a streetwise working girl and a rich, high-flying businessman.

Musically, ‘Hanging Tough” by the boy band ‘New Kids on the Block’ was the 1st of 17 singles to top the charts throughout the year; the biggest selling of which was ‘The Righteous Brothers’ recording of ‘Unchained Melody’ (which featured in the film ‘Ghost’). Madonna achieved her 7th number one single with ‘Vogue’ and went on to top the albums chart for 9 weeks (selling 3.6 million copies) with her greatest hits release ‘The Immaculate Collection’. The Christmas number one fell to Cliff Richard and his single ‘Saviour’s Day’; making him the only person to have a number one in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.