The NATR becomes the BATR…Queues form at toyshops as Teenage Mutant Turtles from Bandai sweep the world… it becomes BATR Toy of the Year.
Nintendo Game Boy, the hand-held electronic game unit dominates the BATR Top 10 Toy Charts – at £70 – in a recession. It wins Toy of the Year. The BATR launches the APPROVED LION MARK RETAILER SCHEME by arrangement with the BTHA (British Toy and Hobby Association) to ensure safe toys are sold by knowledgeable toy retailers and appoints Ian Scott as Safety Consultant.
Thunderbird’s Tracy Island becomes the hottest item when this old TV series is revived. There is an acute shortage of the product – people queue all-night out-side toy shops. Shortages mean it loses Toy of the Year to equally popular WWF Wrestlers from Hasbro.
Barbie is a huge seller, but the 35 year old doll isn’t the only ‘oldie’ doing well. Thunderbirds (20), Captain Scarlet (15), Action Man (27) are all in the Top 10 – Toy of the Year: Thunderbirds.
Barbie wins Doll of the Year and Toy of the Year goes to Power Rangers (Bandai), again suffering from severe shortages through world-wide demand.
Through the year Barbie (Girls Toy of the Year), Power Rangers (Boys Toy of the Year) and Action Man do well, but a new craze – POGS (Waddingtons) involving ‘milk caps’ is a sensational success and wins Toy of the Year at the Awards Dinner.
As children grow older younger, the toy trade fights football strips, fashion trainers, CDs and computers to win customers. Barbie wins her first Toy of the Year award, Action Man is Boys’ Toy of the Year and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story causes a late (media) sensation but great shortages, so wins our first Pimpernel Award for being elusive. Corinthian Football Figures are big sellers through the year.
The year of the two Ts – Teletubbies, one of the most sought after British toys for decades, and the Tamagotchi virtual pets. Queues for both, with tears and tantrums in toy shops – and that’s just the adults. And then there were the Ty Beanie Babies.
It arrived in late October and stole the show – interactive furball Furby. But the humble Yo-Yo made the most sensational come-back selling around £30m in the UK, and Ty Beanie Babies sold strongly all year.
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.