Threads

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Threads is a British television drama produced by the BBC in 1984. Written by Barry Hines and directed by Mick Jackson, it is a documentary-style account of a nuclear war and its effects on the city of Sheffield in northern England.

Filmed in late 1983 and early 1984, the primary plot centres on two families: the Kemps and the Becketts — as an international crisis between the United States and the Soviet Union erupts and escalates. As the UK prepares for war, the members of each family deal with their own personal crises. Meanwhile, a secondary plot centered upon Clive J. Sutton, the Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council serves to illustrate for the viewer the UK Government's then-current continuity of government arrangements. As open warfare between NATO and the USSR-led Warsaw Pact begins, the harrowing details of the characters' struggle to survive the attacks is dramatically depicted. The balance of the film details the fate of each family as the characters face the medical, economic, social, and environmental consequences of a nuclear war. Both the plot and the atmosphere of the film are extremely bleak.

Contents

Plot

The main plot introduces young lovers Ruth Beckett (Karen Meagher) and Jimmy Kemp (Reece Dinsdale) who decide to marry due to an unplanned pregnancy. As they and their families are presented, news reports over the course of several weeks indicate that the Soviet Union has invaded Iran following a coup, and that the United States military, with British support, has intervened. Sheffield City Council is directed by the Home Office to assemble an emergency operations team which establishes itself in a makeshift bomb shelter in the basement of the Town Hall.

The Soviets use a nuclear warhead on a surface-to-air missile to destroy American bombers attacking a Soviet airbase in Mashhad; the Americans respond by detonating a nuclear missile over the airbase. Britain is gripped by fear. As stocks of commodities run low some retailers resort to profiteering, and sporadic looting and rioting breaks out. "Known subversives" (including peace activists and some trade unionists) are arrested and interned.

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