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

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.

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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

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

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.