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Threads (BBC-2 1984, Karen Meagher, Reece Dinsdale)

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Broadcast on the BBC in September 1984 (the year of Orwell and all things dystopia) Threads, written by Barry “Kes” Hines is absolutely devastating in its portrayal of a city coping with the aftermath of a nuclear attack.

Still incredibly pertinent, probably more so now than then in fact but back in the early 80’s we were living in the very real shadow of the games between Reagan and Gorbochov, very dark times and Threads and all the other nuclear material that emerged from that period (Raymond Briggs When the Wind Blows and the very scary government films on what to do in the event of nuclear attack) are a natural reaction to that.

Deliberately made to shock Threads has a documentary type feel and the early scenes deal with the prospect that a nuclear strike is imminent and then once the strike happens we see in often horrific detail the breakdown of society and devastation that follows, the drama focuses on the residents of the northern town of Sheffield but it is clear that the fallout is widespread and what is brilliant about the production is the way that it offers no answers, there is no happy ending in sight and the final scenes leave you in no doubt as to the terrible cost for generations to come of such an attack.

Based very heavily on the true facts of what would happen should such a strike happen Threads is an absolutely must see piece of Television.

production details
UK / BBC / 1×115 minute episode / Broadcast 23 September 1984

Writer: Barry Hines / Executive Producers: Graham Massey, John Purdie / Producer and Director: Mick Jackson

cast
Karen Meagher as Ruth Beckett
Reece Dinsdale as Jimmy Kemp
Harry Beety as Clive Sutton
June Broughton as Mrs Beckett
Henry Moxon as Mr Beckett
David Brierley as Mr Kemp
Sylvia Stoker as Granny Beckett
Rita May as Mrs Kemp
Nicholas Lane as Michael Kemp
Jane Hazlegrove as Alison Kemp
Ashley Barker as Bob
Victoria O’Keefe as Jane
Ruth Holden as Marjorie Sutton
Michael O’Hagan as Chief Superintendent Hirst
Phil Rose as Medical Officer
Steve Halliwell as Information Officer
Peter Faulkner as Transport Officer
Anthony Collin as Food Officer
Brian Grellis as Accommodation Officer
Michael Ely as Scientific Adviser
Sharon Baylis as Manpower Officer
David Stutt as Works Officer
Phil Askham as Mr Stothard
Anna Seymour as Mrs Stothard
Fiona Rook as Carol Stothard
Maggie Holmes as Peace Speaker
Mike Kay as Trade Unionist
John Livesey as Street Trader
Joe Holmes as Mr Langley
Joe Belcher as Mr Haslam
Christine Buckley as Woman in Supermarket
David Major as Boy in Supermarket
Nat Jackley as Old Man in Graveyard
Greta Dunn as Woman in Hospital
Ted Beyer as Policeman
Dean Williamson as Policeman
Graham Hill as Soldier
Nigel Collins as Soldier
Richard Albrecht as Officer
Andy Fenn-Rodgers as Officer
Jerry Ready as Looter
Dennis Conlon as Looter
Lesley Judd as Newscaster
Colin Ward-Lewis as Newscaster
Paul Vaughan as Narrator

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TV

Combat Sheep (BBC-1 2001, Steve Coogan, Ronni Ancona)

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Combat Sheep

One-off comedy film Combat Sheep detailed the comic adventures of four ex-army mascot sheep. Made using a mixture of live action and puppetry.

cast
STEVE COOGAN as Harris
RONNI ANCONA as Peaches
MARK WILLIAMS as Moose
KEVIN ELDON as Cooper
CHRIS ELLISON as Detective Inspector Hindle

crew details
Writer: Tim Firth
Additional material: Peter Baynham and Graham Duff
Executive Producers: Steve Coogan, Henry Normal
Producer: Robert Howes;
Director: Dominic Brigstocke.

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: BBC One – A Baby Cow Productions – Childrens Company
Duration: 1×30 minute episode
Aired From: 30 December 2001 at 5:35pm

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TV

Clochemerle (BBC-2 1972, Cyril Cusack, Roy Dotrice)

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Clochmerle BBC 1972

Period sitcom, based on a novel by Gabriel Chevallier that was adapted by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, that saw the French villagers of Clochemerle kick up a fuss over plans to install a new toilet.

cast
CYRIL CUSACK as Major Piechut
ROY DOTRICE as Ponosse
KENNETH GRIFFITH as Ernest Tafardel
WENDY HILLER as Justine Putet
HUGH GRIFFITH as Alexandre Bourdillat
BERNARD BRESSLAW as Nicholas the Beadle
MADELINE SMITH as Hortase Girodet
GEORGINA MOON as Rose Biraque
PETER USTINOV as Narrator

crew details
Writers: Ray Galton, Alan Simpson
Novel: Gabriel Chevallier
Producer: Michael Mills

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: BBC Two – Bavaria
Duration: 9×30 minute episodes
Aired From: 18 February – 14 April 1972 Fridays at 10.05pm

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TV

Clairvoyant, The (BBC-2 1986, Roy Kinnear, Sandra Dickinson)

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In Roy Clarke penned sitcom The Clairvoyant used car salesman Arnold Bristow is knocked down in a car accident and suddenly finds himself with psychic powers – or so he believes. There was a pilot broadcast 27 Nov 1984.

cast
ROY KINNEAR as Arnold Bristow
SANDRA DICKINSON as Lily
HUGH LLOYD as Burma
SHAUN CURRY as Newton
GLYNIS BROOKS as Dawn
CARMEL CRYAN as Carmen

crew details
Writer: Roy Clarke
Producer and Director: Alan J.W. Bell

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: BBC-2
Duration: 6×30 minute episodes
Aired From: Pilot – 27 November 1984 and Series – 15 May – 19 June 1986

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