The 80's

 

1980

It came in just before Christmas but was an immediate sensation - it also wins Toy of the Year - Rubik's Cube. Toy of the Decade: Action Man. Major UK toy manufacturers face threats of closure, but Bluebird Toys is born.
 

1981

Rubik's Cube continues to dominate - wins second Toy of the Year award. Lego launch Lego railway system and open their new UK headquarters.
 

1982

Star Wars carries off Toy of the Year award and top sales. The video games market spreads to toy shops, but some retailers warn it won't be a big money spinner. New toys: My Pretty Pony - It will return scaled down and re-named by Hasbro as My Little Pony the following year.
 

1983

Star Wars wins again...My Little Pony - despite some doubts - it will become one of the most successful girl's toys ever...Lego launch Duplo, Mattel launch Masters of the Universe, but IBA has the TV series suspended for too close links to the advertising. Little Tikes make their first appearance at the Toy Fair. Robo Machines launched.
 

1984

Masters of the Universe pushes Star Wars aside to win Toy of the Year...My Little Pony voted Best Girls Toy and Trivial Pursuit Game of the Year. New launches: Care Bears and just weeks before Christmas, some Cabbage Patch Dolls arrive in UK. Hornby surprises with Flower Fairies dolls, Lego Technic goes on sale...Boy George and Michael Jackson dolls.
 

1985

Transformers are Toy of the Year - with Optimus Prime the main attraction. Trivial Pursuit wins Game of the Year. The first Regional Toy Shop of the Year awards. Pound Puppies from Hornby sell well.
 

1986

Transformers again Toy of the Year...shortages of Optimus Prime...Waddington's new game is Blockbusters and is Game of the Year. Boots announce they are to start Children's World chain. Hasbro purchase Action Man from Palitoy and Sindy from Pedigree. Hamleys is bought by Harris Queensway.
 

1987

Sylvanian Families from Tomy begins its long reign of popularity and wins Toy of the Year. Nintendo gets off to a false start and has to wait until 1989 to relaunch. Rubik's Magic tries to follow the Cube's success...Hasbro revamp Sindy...Woolworth's pens first Kidstore. Kenner Parker merges with Tonka and Peter Pan is bought by Bluebird. The BTHA unveils their proposed Lion Mark.
 

1988

Toy of the Year: Sylvanian Families. Pictionary is Game of the Year. Successful new range: Ghostbusters.
 

1989

Sylvanian Families scores a hat-trick as Toy of the Year. Barbie is 30 years old. Batmania hits Britain. Nintendo is relaunched. Major new initiative to encourage highest safety standards - the Lion Mark is finally launched. The industry prepares to launch the CE mark - the harmonisation of European toy safety standards from January 1st 1990. The NATR changes its name to BATR to reflect changes in Europe and to take a leading role in the European toy scene.

 

The Content of the decade pages was first published by our predecessor the British Association of Toy Retailers as a Millennium Special of the Toy Chronicle. The publication acknowledged the help of various sources including The History Channel, The BBC, The Pan Book of Dates, The Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green and our earlier 100 years of Toys researched by Gerald Masters. The Toy Retailers Association can offer no guarantee of accuracy except as far as the Toy of the Year since 1965 where our own records are complete.