Threads

Sheffield, as devastated by a nuclear attack

A few weeks ago I finally got round to watching Threads. If, like me, you are too young to remember it from when originally broadcast, it is a 1984 TV play that depicts the effect of a nuclear attack on the country, and in particular Sheffield.

Given the subject matter it is unsurprising that Threads makes for as grim viewing today as I expect it did 25 years ago when cold war paranoia was perhaps at its greatest. The extended synopsis is on Wikipedia.

If you can see past the bleak story, then the fact that it is set in Sheffield also adds a level of interest. There are plenty of landmarks to pick out including the eggbox town hall extension, the city hall, the Moor, Finningly in its days as a RAF base and the Nottingham house pub in Broomhill.

After the explosion hits Sheffield, there are shots of a devastated city centre that don’t look too dissimilar to the Moor in recent times.

However, it would be a mistake to watch the film and expect to come away warmed by the rose-tinted glow of nostalgia. Judging by the reviews on Amazon, it seems that Threads had quite an effect on the people watching it back then.

Memories of Threads and its association with Sheffield seem to live on. In the recent edition of Fighting talk recorded down at Ponds forge, one of presenter Colin Murray’s opening quips was ‘I thought I’d driven through the post-nuclear set of Threads 2 last night until somebody told me it was Manor council estate’.

Someone has uploaded the whole thing to Google video, so you can watch Threads online now. Be warned that parts of it are quite harrowing though and may not be suitable for young children.

Do you remember watching it on TV in the mid-80s, or have you watched it since? How shocked were you?

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