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90s Revival: Ten Comebacks Of The 90s.

30th November 2011
Posted by Gateway 97.8

Not  a week has gone by this year without something nineties being mentioned. Bands reforming, TV shows recommissioned and films remade. The revival of the 90s has been steadily building. So here, in no particular order, is a rundown of ten things from the decade which made a return in 2011.

Meanwhile, for all your nineties music,  join me (Mark Hardie) for the Nineties Revival every Tuesday from 7 on Gateway 97.8 FM. You can also ‘like’ the show here too – go on, tell your friends. Note: link opens a new browser window.


Three girls and two boys were chosen from many who answered an advert in The Stage. Signed for just one record in 1997, Steps have gone on to enjoy two number one singles, two number one albums and 14 consecutive top five chart hits. Steps were the first band since The Beatles to do this. The Steptacular group have sold more than twelve million records.

The return of Steps began in May 2011 when they filmed a documentary for a digital TV channel. It involved all five band members attempting to put their differences aside following their split in 2001. The success of the documentary was followed up with a revamped greatest hits album which went straight to number one and a sellout arena tour for 2012. In terms of pop comebacks, this one could be right up there with Take That.

The Fast Show

One of the defining comedy sketch shows of the nineties. Famous for catchphrases such as ‘Brilliant’ ‘Nice’ and ‘Suit You Sir’ amoungst many others, the Fast Show featured characters played by the likes of Paul Whitehouse, Simon Day and Charlie Higson. Who could forget those sketches from Ted and Ralph, Bob Fleming and Jesse to name just a few. The Fast Show even went on tour!

Seventeen years later and they’re back with a special online series. One of several nineties comedy shows to be revived by a well known brand of alchol. The other has been Alan Partridge. The Fast Show…Faster is currently on episode three, with a new one every Thursday. Each episode runs for less than ten minutes. This format could pave the way for other nineties shows to be revived.

Absolutley Fabulous

Patsy, Edina, Saffy, Bubble and ‘Mother’ arrived on our screens in 1992. An award-winning comedy, Ab Fab was about the two fashion addicted lives of PR guru Edina and her best friend, the glamorous magazine editor Patsy.

The original series ended with a finale in 1996 and a first ‘comeback’ between 2001 and 2004. The show also had a top ten single in 1994 called ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ featuring The Pet Shop Boys. Fast forward to 2011 and near the end of August it was announced that ‘hit comedy Absolutely Fabulous is to return to BBC One later this year with three specials to celebrate the show’s 20th anniversary’. Many original characters will star in these episodes, which are due to air this Christmas.

Red Dwarf

A long time ago (1988) in a galaxy quite close to us actually, a science fiction comedy began which would gain a cult following. Red Dwarf follows the adventures of Dave Lister onboard a futuristic mining spaceship. An on-board radiation leak kills all the crew, apart from Dave, whose in suspended animation, and his Cat, whose in the cargo hold. Once the radiation vanishes (3 million years later) Dave is released by the ships computer, Holly, and becomes the last Human being in the universe.  In short, anyway.

Following a ten year gap between episodes, there was a three part mini return during Easter 2009 on a digital television channel. Due to it’s ratings success, it was announced that Red Dwarf had been recomissioned for six new episodes. It’s first full series since 1999. Filming begins this December and will air sometime in 2012.

Birds Of A Feather

The loveable trio of Dorien, Sharon and Tracey starred in this BBC  sitcom which ran from the late 80s through to 1998. Rumours floated around the media in 2009 about a possible comeback. Nothing happened. Then in 2010, Linda Robson revealed that a script had been written for a stage show of the comedy. It wasn’t until May 2011 that actress Pauline Quirke announced that a touring version of Birds of a Feather would begin in early 2012. Could this open doors for a new series?

Doc Martens

I can’t be certain these are making a comeback, but whilst shopping at the weekend, I noticed stores were stocking plenty of them, in a vareity of bright colours. The history of this footwear dates back much further than the ninetes. However, it was in that decade that Doc Martens were a must-have fashion item. They had links with indie and grunge music genres. By 1995 the combat look was very much in. Nineties fashion is coming back.

Backstreet Boys

Just when you were thinking of selling their albums and singles from your collection! One of many nineties bands to stage a return in the last few years, along with the likes of Take That and Boyzone. Making their chart debut in 1996, they’ve enjoyed 15 top ten singles (13 were consecutive) and more than 70 million record sales. They’ve recently joined forces with New Kids on the Block and have been touring. 2012 will see them arrive in the UK on a European tour with some classic and new material no doubt.


The Indie and Brit Pop movement of the nineties are unforgettable. So many great bands and songs. We’ve played most on the 90s Revival. There’s still a cult following for groups of that era and movement, but it’s unlikely to be repeated. One of the key players were Suede. Known for hits such as ‘Beautiful Ones’, ‘Animal Nitrate’ and ‘Trash’, they have scored 19 top 40 hits too!  Their comeback began in 2010. More recently, Suede have begun reissuing their albums. Brett Anderson has recently taken time out from the bands return to record his fourth solo album too.

Point Break

The nineties brought us some incredible movies. Jurassic Park, Pretty Woman and Titanic for starters. Not many are being remade yet. It’s probably too soon. Would you want them to is the bigger question. The focus has certainly been more on films from the eighties such as Fame, Footloose and Dirty Dancing. Anyway, one of the more recent movies to get a reboot is action-thriller Point Break (1991) starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. I’ll be honest, I’ve not seen it. It is a classic though I’m told. One to watch before the remake appears in our cinemas.

The Brand New Heavies

They’ve never really been away. Known for many hits during the 90s such as ‘Dream Come True’ and ‘You Are The Universe’, The Brand New Heavies, are returning to play two London gigs this December as they celebrate their 20th anniversary. A new album, The Brand New Heavies, The Best of 20 Years, is set to be released soon too. May they rock the acid jazz funk scene for many years to come. A new album is due in 2012 too I believe.

Who or what from the 90s could be make a comeback next?

Men Behaving Badly is just screaming out for a 2012 Christmas Special. Isn’t it? I’ve been watching my boxset recently and the lives of Gary, Tony, Deborah and Dorothy are comedy gold! They produced six series in the nineties plus a couple of specials, and, in my opinion, there’s plenty of scope for future episodes. Although if it did happen next year around the festive period, It would be up against The Royle Family which is due to return for another seasonal special.

A Wallace and Gromit special should become an annual TV event like Doctor Who. Yes, it does take a while to complete all the terrific  animation sequences, but every storyline have been superb.  Who knows, one could be in production right now!

Finally…late nineties pop group S Club 7 have just this week apparently voiced their thoughts on a reunion. They first appeared in their own BBC TV series ‘Miami 7’. In the charts they achieved nine top ten singles and two number one’s. Their comeback plans are reported to include an updated greatest hits album and tour. Their chart success even saw a spin-off group ‘S Club Juniors’ form. There was even S Club TV and a feature film. Make no mistake, the brand was huge.