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The year-long Miners’ Strike of 1984/85 tore apart communities across Britain. 40 years on, the events of those tumultuous months still echo down the decades and generations.

Many of those involved have never spoken openly about what happened, but none emerged unscathed. In a year that has seen hundreds of thousands of UK workers come out on strike, this story couldn’t be more resonant.

From the team behind the BAFTA-nominated and RTS-winning, Our Falklands War: A Frontline Story, this new feature-length documentary will tell the story of the Miners’ Strike through the experiences of ordinary men and women in some of the communities most affected.

In March 1984, the majority of Britain’s coal miners came out on strike against government backed pit closures. Some miners didn’t support the strike and went to work in defiance of it, finding themselves face to face with former work mates as they tried to cross the picket lines.

With a British government determined to break the power of the National Union of Mineworker and get working miners through the colliery gates, police were mobilised from across the country, leading to increasing violence on the picket lines. It became the most bitter industrial dispute Britain has ever seen.

On a sweltering day in June, the conflict came to a head at the so-called Battle of Orgreave where 8000 picketing miners were met by 5000 police officers in riot gear. The result was shocking violence.

Across the year, more than a thousand police officers and thousands of miners would be injured. More than a 11,000 miners would be arrested. Three men would lose their lives. After the strike and as a result of pit closures that followed, tens of thousands would go on to lose their livelihoods.

For the ordinary men and women caught up in events, it was both deeply felt ideological fight and a battle to keep food on the table. For those on strike, the future of their communities hung in the balance. Those that crossed picket lines faced abuse, violence and pariah status. Families were divided, local police officers found themselves toe-to-toe with their neighbours and small villages were flooded by police drafted in from across Britain.

Though the strike bought punishing hardship, division and unrest, it also brought camaraderie, community spirit and a wealth of powerful human stories as relevant and enduring today as they were 40 years ago. Four decades on, this powerful film will hear compelling new testimony from the frontline of the strike.

The Miners’ Strike (1x90) for BBC Two and iPlayer is being It is produced by The Garden, part of ITV Studios, where the Executive Producer is Zac Beattie. The Director is Ben Anthony, and the Producers are Simon Bunney, Scarlett Smithson, Anna Wardell. The BBC Commissioning Editor is Emma Loach.


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