Reeling In the Years

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Reeling in the Years
RTÉ Reeling In The Years.JPG
Opening theme"Reelin' In the Years"
Country of originIreland
Original language(s)English
No. of series5
No. of episodes48
Producer(s)John O'Regan
Running time25 minutes
Original networkRTÉ One
Picture formatPAL
Original release1999 – present
(No more episodes expected until 2020)
External links

Reeling in the Years is a television series shown on RTÉ.

Each episode, running for about 25 minutes, reviews the events of a particular selected year, from 1962 to 2009. News archive footage features, along with subtitles as the means of narration, to recount important national and international events of the time. Music from the selected year plays across the footage, with occasional scenes of live performances or music videos, often (but by no means exclusively) by an Irish artist. No advertisements are shown during the broadcast (apart from the occasional old advertisement dating from the relevant year). Each decade takes at least eight months to make.[1]

The theme tune for the series comes from Steely Dan's 1972 hit "Reelin' In the Years". All five series are marked by a knowing attitude, where certain stories that seemed inconsequential at the time are remembered because they have taken on significance in the present day. This has gained the programme a reputation for being very funny. An example is seen in the 1987 episode: Taoiseach Charles Haughey discusses what he would do if he were to win money in the newly formed National Lottery. Haughey, whose lavish lifestyle was later revealed to have been funded by "donations" from businessmen, exclaims, "I might keep a bit for myself!".

A 2008 poll (conducted by the RTÉ Guide) of Ireland's Top 100 television programmes resulted in Reeling in the Years being voted "most popular home-produced TV programme ever".[2] In 2008, a DVD—Reeling in the 80s—was released for the Irish market—with follow-up DVDs Reeling in the 90s and Reeling in the 70s released in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

Episode list[edit]

Original series[edit]

The original series focused on the 1980s and first aired on Monday nights from 6 September to 8 November 1999.

Year Music
Abba, Bagatelle, Boomtown Rats, Blondie, The Clash, T.R. Dallas, John Lennon, Johnny Logan, The Nolans, Queen, Brendan Shine, Split Enz, U2, Dennis Waterman
Big Tom, The Blades, The Boomtown Rats, Phil Collins, Joe Dolan, Electric Light Orchestra, Foster and Allen, The Fureys and Davey Arthur, New Order, OMD, The Police, Queen/David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, Talking Heads, The Undertones
Irene Cara, Clannad, The Clash, De Danann, Dexy's Midnight Runners, Dire Straits, Fun Boy Three, The Human League, Phil Lynott, Madness, Tears for Fears, Tight Fit, Yazoo
Bananarama, The Clash, David Bowie, Elton John, Eurythmics, Madness, Michael Jackson, Howard Jones, Phil Lynott, Christy Moore, New Order, Paddy Reilly, Van Morrison, Paul Young
Band Aid, Eurythmics, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Howard Jones, Madonna, Nik Kershaw, Cyndi Lauper, John Lennon, The Smiths, Talk Talk, Tears for Fears, U2, Wham!
Paul Brady, The Concerned, The Cure, Eurythmics, Nik Kershaw, Feargal Sharkey, Simple Minds, The Smiths, Talking Heads, Tears for Fears, U2
Mary Black, Bon Jovi, Chris de Burgh, Dire Straits, The Housemartins, Dermot Morgan, Billy Ocean, Simply Red, The Waterboys, Wham!
Rick Astley, Crowded House, Curiosity Killed The Cat, Daniel O'Donnell/Dana, Johnny Logan, M/A/R/R/S, MicroDisney, New Order, The Pogues, U2, Wet Wet Wet
The Adventures, Aslan, Belinda Carlisle, Celine Dion, Enya, Whitney Houston, Bobby McFerrin, Kylie Minogue, Morrissey, Sinéad O'Connor, The Pogues, The Primitives, ROI Soccer Squad, U2
The 4 of Us, Mary Black, Black Box, Boy Meets Girl, Cher, Guns N' Roses, Billy Joel, The Stone Roses, U2, Van Morrison

Second series[edit]

The second series focused on the 1990s and first aired on Monday nights from 11 September to 27 November 2000 except on 30 October and 13 November.

Year Music
The B-52's, The Charlatans, Jack Charlton/Ireland national football team, EMF, Enigma, The La's, Happy Mondays, Liam Harrison/Goal celebrities, Kylie Minogue, Luciano Pavarotti, The Sawdoctors, Sinéad O'Connor, Something Happens
Bryan Adams, The Big Geraniums, Blur, Color Me Badd, Enya, Extreme, Chesney Hawkes, Michael Jackson, James, Lenny Kravitz, The Mock Turtles, R.E.M., U2, The Wonderstuff
Tamsin Archer, Charles & Eddie, Daniel O'Donnell, Whitney Houston, The Lightning Seeds, Linda Martin, Opus III, Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Secada, The Shamen, Stereo MCs, The Sultans of Ping FC, U2
The Beloved, Björk/David Arnold, Garth Brooks, The Cranberries, The Frank and Walters, Four Non Blondes, Gabrielle, House of Pain, Niamh Kavanagh, Pet Shop Boys, Take That
A House, Boyzone, The Cranberries, Crowded House, Deep Forest, Paul Harrington/Charlie McGettigan, Oasis, Perez 'Prez' Prado, R.E.M., Shampoo, Bill Whelan/Anúna/RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Whigfield
Blur, Boyzone, Bobby Brown, The Corrs, McAlmont and Butler, Massive Attack, Oasis, Secret Garden, Sinéad O'Connor/Shane MacGowan, Take That
Ash, Blur, Dodgy, Gina G, Richie Kavanagh, Manic Street Preachers, Alanis Morrissette, Eimear Quinn, Radiohead, Spice Girls, Suede
All Saints, Boyzone, The Corrs, Hanson, Katrina and the Waves, OTT, Spice Girls, Texas, U2, The Verve
B*Witched, The Cardigans, Catatonia, The Corrs, Jay-Z, Manic Street Preachers, Massive Attack, George Michael, Spice Girls, U2
Basement Jaxx, B*Witched, The Cardigans, Fat Boy Slim, Lauryn Hill, Ronan Keating, Britney Spears, Stereophonics, Westlife

Third series[edit]

The third series focused on the 1970s and first aired on Tuesday nights from 10 September to 12 November 2002.

Year Music
The Beatles, Blue Mink, Canned Heat, Dana, Desmond Dekker and the Aces, The Emeralds, Marmalade, Norman Greenbaum, The Jackson Five, Edison Lighthouse, Elvis Presley, Poppy Family, James Taylor
Lynn Anderson, Angela Farrell, Curtis Mayfield, Middle of the Road, The Moody Blues, Gilbert O'Sullivan, Clodagh Rogers, Severine, Simon and Garfunkel, The Sweet, T. Rex, The Who
Roberta Flack, Michael Jackson, Johnny Nash, Gilbert O'Sullivan, Slade, Timmy Thomas, Jackie Wilson, Neil Young
The Carpenters, Dawn, The Detroit Emeralds, Elton John, Horslips, Gilbert O'Sullivan, Stealers Wheel, The Sweet, Thin Lizzy, T. Rex
Abba, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Ken Boothe, Rory Gallagher, The Hollies, Tony Kenny, New Seekers, Status Quo, The Three Degrees, Barry White,
10cc, Abba, Dana, David Essex, KC And The Sunshine Band, Fran O'Toole, Queen, The Swarbriggs, The Sweet
Abba, The Bellamy Brothers, Brotherhood of Man, The Eagles, Hot Chocolate, Horslips, Billy Ocean, Red Hurley, Sutherland Brothers/Quiver, Thin Lizzy
The Boomtown Rats, Boney M, Gladys Knight/Pips, Fleetwood Mac, Billy Ocean, Elvis Presley, Sex Pistols, Status Quo, Rod Stewart, Thin Lizzy
Blue Öyster Cult, Boney M, The Boomtown Rats, Chic, Electric Light Orchestra, Yvonne Elliman, Genesis, Gloria, The Jacksons, U2 (previously The Hype), The Undertones
M, Police, Boomtown Rats, Michael Jackson, Art Garfunkel, Madness, The Village People, Brendan Shine, Blondie & John Williams

Fourth series[edit]

The fourth series focused on the 1960s (1962 to 1969 only) and first aired on Friday nights from 10 September to 29 October 2004. It features neither 1960 nor 1961 as these pre-date the official launch of Telefís Éireann, the television arm of the national broadcaster. It was felt, presumably, that there would be too little archive material from which to make an engaging programme about these years. Indeed, the episodes covering the first half of the 1960s are characterised by extensive use of photographs and posters, as opposed to film and video footage, to represent various historical events.

Year Music
No Track Listings Available
No Track Listings Available
No Track Listings Available
Brendan Bowyer & The Royal Showband, Butch Moore, Donovan, The Hollies, The Rolling Stones, Sonny & Cher, The Temptations, Val Doonican
Chris Farlowe, Dickie Rock, Fontella Bass, Nancy Sinatra, The Rolling Stones, Simon & Garfunkel, The Supremes, Tom Jones, The Who
No Track Listings Available
No Track Listings Available
Christy Moore, Fleetwood Mac, Herman’s Hermits, Jackie Wilson, Lulu, Muriel Day, The Rolling Stones, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Stevie Wonder, Thunderclap Newman

Fifth series[edit]

The fifth series focused on the 2000s and first aired on Sunday nights from 17 October to 26 December 2010 except on 28 November.

Year Music
Blink 182, Chicane, The Corrs, 5ive, Ronan Keating, Toploader, U2, Westlife, Mark McCabe
Ash, Emma Bunton, David Gray, Ronan Keating, David Kitt, Samantha Mumba, Radiohead, Texas, U2
Coldplay, Elvis vs JXL, Jerry Fish & The Mudbug Club, Avril Lavigne, Kylie Minogue, Pink, Electric Six, Sugababes, Westlife
Paddy Casey, Coldplay, The Darkness, Mickey Joe Harte, Jamelia, Junior Senior, Mis-Teeq, The Thrills, Will Young
Anastacia, The Black Eyed Peas, Counting Crows, Keane, Natural Gas, O-Zone, OutKast, Snow Patrol, U2
Caesars, Katie Melua, Moby, Daniel Powter, Stereophonics, KT Tunstall, U2
Bell X1, Gemma Hayes, Gnarls Barkley, Peter Bjorn and John, Pat Shortt, Snow Patrol, Sugababes, Will Young
Duke Special, Fergie, Girls Aloud, The Killers, Klaxons, Mika, Razorlight, Robyn, Sugababes, Timbaland feat. OneRepublic,
Alphabeat, Coldplay, Dustin the Turkey, Elbow, Glen Hansard/Markéta Irglová, Iglu & Hartley, Mundy/Sharon Shannon, Katy Perry, Republic of Loose feat. Isabella Reyes-Feeney, Sam Sparro, The Script, Jordin Sparks
The Black Eyed Peas, The Coronas, Florence + the Machine, Lisa Hannigan, Kings of Leon, Lady Gaga, La Roux, Temper Trap, Westlife

Sixth series[edit]

The series covering the 2010s is not expected to be broadcast until 2020 (unknown yet if it will be broadcast).

Copyright and DVD release[edit]

Each edition of Reeling in the Years opens with the logo and the featured year on top. The above example shows the 1984 edition.

In the past, RTÉ had said that, because of the number of clips from external companies used in the series, it would be infeasible to release it on VHS or DVD. It claimed that securing "video clearance" for each clip and song would make any release prohibitively expensive. RTÉ did consider releasing an altered version of the programme which would only contain the images and music that they owned the rights to, but that "the programme would only be half as good then, it wouldn't be anything like the shows that went out on air, and we'd end up disappointing people."[43]

However, in October 2008, RTÉ announced that they would be releasing a DVD of a cut-down version of the 1980s material. Reeling in the 80s[2] is an altered version of the programme which contains only the images and music that the producers were able to secure rights to, and it runs to about 150 minutes (versus 240 minutes for the original series).[2][44] It does, however, contain some original material that has been unearthed since 1999, and which has greater significance now, such as footage of former Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

Reeling in the 90s was released on 13 November 2009,[1] while Reeling in the 70s was released in November 2010.

The Reeling in the decades Boxset was released in 2011 which collected the 70s, 80s and 90s DVDs in one boxset.

DVD discography[edit]

  • Reeling in the 80s (2008)
  • Reeling in the 90s (2009)
  • Reeling in the 70s (2010)
  • Reeling in the 60s never issued yet


In recent years, Reeling in the Years has been used regularly by RTÉ One as a filler programme during the spring months all the way through to the Christmas period. It currently is shown at 18:30 on Sunday evenings if there is no talent programme or documentary and most bank holidays, when there is no Eastenders it usually fills the 20:00 slot on Mondays or Fridays or even 19:30 slot on Tuesdays or Thursdays. This has led to some interesting parallels with real-life events. When Cian O'Connor won his bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics, RTÉ showed the 2004 episode of Reeling in the Years, complete with Anne Doyle's announcement that O'Connor was to be stripped of his gold medal won at the 2004 Summer Olympics. The next day RTÉ showed the 2005 episode of Reeling in the Years, complete with the announcement that London had secured the 2012 Summer Olympics with then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair reacting by saying what a momentous day it was for neighbouring Britain, followed by footage of the 7 July 2005 London bombings, which occurred the following day.

A website ranked editions of Reeling in the Years in order of the "most and least depressing" – least were 1994, 2004 and 2007; most were 1981, 1986 and 2008.[45]

Similar programmes[edit]


The Irish language station TG4 broadcast a similar programme called Siar Sna. TV3 aired a programme called series Those Were the Days with a focus on pop music.[46]

Other countries[edit]

In Britain, the BBC produced a similar series in the early 2000s, called "I Love...", in which public figures discuss the pop culture of each year.

The Spanish version of Reeling in the Years (Los Años del No-Do) began airing in 2013 and is produced by the Spanish state-owned television and radio broadcaster RTVE.[47] The word "No-Do" is a shortened name for Noticiarios y Documentales (News and Documentaries). Following the same format of Reeling in the Years, Los Años del No-Do encompasses the years from 1943 to 1981. It has been associated containing propaganda to support the Spanish caudillo Franco who ruled Spain from 1936 to 1975.

In Norway, the public broadcaster NRK produced a similar series, "Back to the xx-ies" ("Tilbake til xx-tallet") covering the 1960s ("Tilbake til 60-tallet"), 1970s ("Tilbake til 70-tallet"), 1980s ("Tilbake til 80-tallet") and 1990s ("Tilbake til 90-tallet"). They were produced as four series each of 10 episodes covering one year of their respective decade - 40 episodes in total. Different from the "Reeling in the Years" series was that persons prominent in the year covered by an episode also narrated on-screen.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "New Reeling in the Years DVD out today". RTÉ. 13 November 2009. Archived from the original on 8 March 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2009.
  2. ^ a b c "Reeling in the Years comes to DVD". RTÉ. 9 October 2008. Archived from the original on 8 March 2015. Retrieved 9 October 2008.
  3. ^ "1980". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  4. ^ "1981". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  5. ^ "1982". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  6. ^ "1983". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  7. ^ "1984". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  8. ^ "1985". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  9. ^ "1986". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  10. ^ "1987". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  11. ^ "1988". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  12. ^ "1989". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  13. ^ "1990". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  14. ^ "1991". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  15. ^ "1992". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  16. ^ "1993". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  17. ^ "1994". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  18. ^ "1995". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  19. ^ "1996". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  20. ^ "1997". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  21. ^ "1998". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  22. ^ "1999". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  23. ^ "1970". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  24. ^ "1971". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  25. ^ "1972". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  26. ^ "1973". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  27. ^ "1974". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  28. ^ "1975". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  29. ^ "1976". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  30. ^ "1977". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  31. ^ "1978". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  32. ^ "1979". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  33. ^ "2000". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  34. ^ "2001". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  35. ^ "2002". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  36. ^ "2003". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  37. ^ "2004". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  38. ^ "2005". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  39. ^ "2006". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  40. ^ "2007". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  41. ^ "2008". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  42. ^ "2009". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  43. ^ "Frequently asked questions (old version)". RTÉ. Archived from the original on 28 January 2008.
  44. ^ "Frequently asked questions". RTÉ. Archived from the original on 25 February 2015.
  45. ^ Neville, Conor (22 August 2014). "Ranking The Reeling In The Years Episodes In Order Of The Most And Least Depressing". Archived from the original on 14 May 2015.
  46. ^ "Ah, those were the days -- or so I heard -". Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  47. ^ "Los años del No-Do". RTVE.
  48. ^ "'It's impossible now to view the decade past without regret'". The Irish Times. 9 October 2010. Archived from the original on 26 February 2015. Retrieved 9 October 2010.

External links[edit]