Sunday 23 July 2023


Wyrd Britain reviews the 1984 BBC Two nuclear war drama 'Threads'.
Since it's first screening on BBC Two on 23 September 1984 Threads has taken on almost mythological status as the show that terrified a nation.  Focusing on young couple Ruth (Karen Meagher) and Jimmy (Reece Dinsdale) as they prepare for marriage in a Sheffield soundtracked by news reports of the escalating conflict between the US and Russia that eventually degenerates into nuclear war.

Sensitively written by Barry Hines (Kestrel for a Knave / Kes) for the most part Threads appears as a kitchen sink drama with the focus very much on the everyday lives of the protagonists as they become increasingly aware of the events spiralling out of control whilst also highlighting the utter ineffectiveness and woeful inadequacies of the British government's preparations.  Director Mick Jackson (Ascent of Man) who displays a subtle sleight of hand during the build up is unflinching in his depiction of the attack and its aftermath starkly showing the lie of a survivable nuclear war and the uselessness of available information such as the 'Protect and Survive' leaflet and film, the latter of which can be heard occasionally playing in the background as people remove the doors from their frames to build utterly ineffective shelters.

Wyrd Britain reviews the 1984 BBC Two nuclear war drama 'Threads'.
Almost 40 years after it's initial screening with tensions between the nuclear superpowers again at boiling point and with the unlikely reappearance of the name Threads in the popular consciousness the lessons of this powerfully unforgettable film, unlearned at the time, seem once again to be depressingly apposite as the film has lost none of it's power to shock.


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