Nuclear war on TV

Press release from the BBC, about new television programmes: ‘Threads’ and ‘On The 8th Day’ about nuclear warfare, 1984, (Catalogue ref: HO 322/1134)


BBC2 Threads/On the 8th Day


BBC Television is to transmit three important programmes dealing with the likely effects of a nuclear attack on the United Kingdom. They will broadcast on Sunday 23rd September and Monday 24th September 1984 on BBC 2.

The first programme is a two hour drama documentary based on factual information which covers a 13 year period in the projected life, and death, of the city of Sheffield, during which Britain is devastated by nuclear attacks. The programme is called ‘Threads’, a reference to the intertwining strands of relationships and resources which support life in a big city.

Its author is the Sheffield writer Barry Hines, who wrote the script for the fil ‘Kes’. The producer and director is Mick Jackson, who also produced the award winning film ‘A Guide to Armageddon’ in the BBC’s ‘Q.E.D.’ series.

Actors portraying two Sheffield families and the City’s Chief Executive provide the basis for the action. Hundreds of “extras” from the city also take part.

The direct effects of a nuclear blast on the city and its people, and the subsequent long term consequences of nationwide nuclear devastation are depicted in accordance with the research findings of many scientific and professional bodies in Britain, and the United States and the USSR.

The evening after the transmission of ‘Threads’, BB2 will show a documentary programme called ‘On the 8th Day’ produced at Bristol by the BBC Natural History Unit. It takes its title from computer generated maps of the world, which have been used by American and Russian scientists, to predict world temperatures on the eighth day after a nuclear war. Their findings are that, even if only a small proportion of the 55,000 existing nuclear warheads were fired, the whole northern hemisphere would be plunged into a ‘nuclear winter’, a long twilight with freezing temperatures…

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