Entitled Roofracks and Hatchbacks, the hour-long programme charts the journey of the British family car from the launch of the Morris Minor in 1948 right up to today’s crossover SUVs such as the Jaguar F-Pace and Ford Kuga.
The documentary, part of the BBC's excellent ‘Timeshift’ series, puts the social and cultural changes behind the eight selected cars over the past decades into context: the shift in family values, the huge improvement in child safety features and the evolving way we entertain ourselves in this shared space over longer journeys.
Baby Boomer children in the 1950s were quite happy bouncing around unrestrained in in back of a Morris Minor Traveller or Hillman Minx estate, singing and playing family games in a fug of dad’s cigarette smoke. 1960s kids were brought up on caravanning and camping holidays in their Ford Cortinas, while in the 1970s Japanese cars had made huge inroads into the car market, epitomised by the baroque Datsun 120Y with its standard radio cassette, tinted glass and fantastic build quality compared to domestic products.
Today, our i-Generation children sit in splendid isolation from their parents, cocooned in their own multimedia, air-conditioned world being driven to school in mum’s Qashqai. They may be secure but have we lost something? Prepare for a nostalgic hour of Volvo 245 estates, Ford Sierras and Renault Megane Scenics.