Synth Britannia: The Story of SynthPop Air Date: Friday the 16th of October 2009 BBC 4
Documentary following a generation of post-punk musicians who took the synthesiser from the experimental fringes to the centre of the pop stage.
In the late 1970s, small pockets of electronic artists including the Human League, Daniel Miller and Cabaret Volatire were inspired by Kraftwerk and JG Ballard and dreamt of the sound of the future against the backdrop of bleak, high-rise Britain.
The crossover moment came in 1979 when Gary Numan’s appearance on Top of the Pops with Tubeway Army’s Are Friends Electric heralded the arrival of synthpop. Four lads from Basildon known as Depeche Mode would come to own the new sound whilst post-punk bands like Ultravox, Soft Cell, OMD and Yazoo took the synth out of the pages of the NME (New Music Express) and onto the front page of Smash Hits.
By 1983, acts like Pet Shop Boys and New Order were showing that the future of electronic music would lie in dance music.
Interview contributions Include: Philip Oakey, Susan Ann Sulley, Joanne Catherall, John Foxx, Midge Ure, Andy McClusky, Vince Clarke, Alison Moyet, Martin Gore, Andrew Fletcher, Daniel Miller, Bernard Sumner, Gary Numan, Cabaret Volatire, Dave Ball and Neil Tennant.
Music From and/or footage containing: Throbbing Gristle, The Normal, The Clash, The Future, Donna Summer, Silicon Teens, Kraftwerk, Yazoo, Human League, Visage, Depeche Mode, OMD, Ultravox, Heaven 17, New Order, Gary Numan, Eurythmics, Cabaret Volatire, Soft Cell, Joy Division, John Foxx, Fad Gadget and Pet Shop Boys
With Moogs turned up to 11, Synth Britannia at the BBC is a 1970s/80s journey through the BBC’s synthpop archives, from Roxy Music to New Order.
1. Roxy Music ~ Do the Strand
2. Tubeway Army ~ Are ‘Friends’ Electric?
3. Sparks ~ Beat the Clock
4. The Human League ~ The Path of Least Resistance
5. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark ~ Messages
6. Ultravox ~ Vienna
7. Depeche Mode ~ New Life
8. New Order ~ Temptation
9. Soft Cell ~ Say Hello, Wave Goodbye
10. Japan ~ Ghosts
11. Yazoo ~ Don’t Go
12. Tears for Fears ~ Mad World
13. Eurythmics ~ Love is a Stranger
14. Heaven 17 ~ Temptation
15. Howard Jones ~ What Is Love?
16. Pet Shop Boys ~ Opportunities
TOTAL RUNNING TIME: 1 HOUR 37 MINUTES
Chris Satoshige (verified owner) –
This is exactly what the description says it is. A good history lesson on the birth of Synthpop. Goes into good detail about the chain of events and the who’s who of synthpop back then. I only wish it was longer and that this documentary would have gone even more in to detail. Maybe a full performance or two or how about tying it into today’s music. Wish I had seen a bit more about Heaven 17 and where was Blancmange? Having said all that I highly recommended this DVD.