UK Study reveals which is the nation’s favourite decade of the last century


Marilyn Monroe is the nation’s favourite celebrity and the Shawshank Redemption its favourite film from the past century, a new study has shown.

While Ms Monroe may have had trouble controlling her skirt she had no such problem in topping the list ahead of other big hitters like Charlie Chaplin, the Fonz, Bob Dylan, Debbie Harry and David Beckham (poor Victoria didn’t get a look-in though!).

The Shawshank Redemption, the 90s prison classic featuring Morgan Freeman, was joined by the Wizard of Oz (1930s) and The Terminator (1980s) as the top three films of the last century.


Mary Poppins was voted the most popular musical ahead of classics including Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, and the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

As well as popular culture, the study, carried out by online fancy dress retailer to discover the UK’s favourite decade, also looked at the most significant historical events of the last century according to the Great British public.

The discovery of the structure of DNA and the creation of the internet topped this list, ahead of women gaining the right to vote and the moon landings. Although it must be noted that over twice as many women as men voted women winning the vote as a significant point in history! can reveal that the 80s is the decade the country yearns for the most, with more 80s costumes than any other period being sold.

The fancy dress retailer has developed an interactive online map and postcode checker which shows users the popular decades for fancy dress costumes in their area– now you can see whether Aunty Sybil really is trapped in the ‘40s!

Users can also see the top five counties’ that have purchased decades fancy dress. Visit the page and share your results with the nation:’s study also found:
•    Marry Poppins was voted as the top musical in 15 cities across the UK
•    Male respondents chose Charlie Chaplin as their favourite celebrity of the last century, as did 1 in 5 Londoners
•    Less than 1% of women thought the release of the first Star Wars film in 1977 was a significant historical event
•    Twice as many men as women voted for Pulp Fiction as their favourite film
•    40% of people in Yorkshire voted the moon landing as the most significant historical event: the only region to do so!
•    David Beckham was the favourite celebrity of voters in the North East
•    7 of 12 regions surveyed voted for the discovery of the structure of DNA as the most significant historical event

Paul Howcroft of Fancy Dress Ball said of the study: “Personally the 80s were my favourite decade, not a day goes by when I don’t wish I could still get away with sporting a mullet a shell suit and being able to see Depeche Mode live, so it’s great to see that I’m in tune with the nation.

“Decade-specific costumes are some of our best-sellers and we wanted to find out what specific events and popular culture it was that people were trying to reconnect with when they turn up to a party in get-up from yester-year.

“These findings are truly fascinating – seeing which decades various regions are stuck in reveals a lot about the UK public (and confirms some of our suspicions – looking at you, Bridlington!). We say have fun with it and embrace it – fashions may fade in and out over time but a flapper dress or a pair of flares are timeless.”