What London Watches: Threads (15)


10 April 2017
Cinema 2
A devastating speculative account of the effects of a nuclear attack on Sheffield at the onset of World War III, BBC drama Threads was nominated for seven BAFTA awards after its 1984 release.

Preparing for their marriage, Jimmy and Ruth (Reece Dinsdale and Karen Meagher) are almost oblivious to the international political tensions caused by the USSR’s invasion of Iran. But when Sheffield – home to vast resources and an RAF base – is bombed by a thermonuclear device, they must learn to survive as their home is turned into a desolate wasteland.

Probably one of the most authentic portrayals of nuclear winter onscreen, Threads is horrifying and fascinating, brutal and powerful – a stark warning to humanity of the real, human effects of nuclear war.

UK/Australia/US 1984 Dir Mick Jackson 112 min

Why this film shook my world

"I was 11 and I'd only recently found out about nuclear weapons before this  came along and gave me nightmares for months. Makes The Road look like Mary Poppins by comparison. This marked the end of childhood for me, suddenly waking up to the horrors of the adult world. Nothing like it had ever been attempted before and nothing was left to the imagination.

I've not had the guts to re-watch it since as the image of a woman giving birth and cutting her own cord with her teeth is still burned into my mind for ever. Brutal but no regrets I saw it. Nuclear weapons are still just as abundant today as in 1984 and with North Korea in 2016, maybe it’s time this got a timely reissue."

Ian, Islington

Programme supported by Film Hub London, managed by Film London. Proud to be a partner of the BFI Film Audience Network, funded by the National Lottery. www.filmlondon.org.uk/filmhub

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