The Miners’ Strike – Channel 4 documentary in three parts

Tom Barrow's film - Miners' Strike 1984: the Battle for Britain marks 40 years since the strike

2 Feb 2024| News

2024 is the 40th anniversary of the Miners’ Strike and there will be a whole series of events over the next year, exploring different aspects of the dispute and celebrating the solidarity inherent in mining communities.

Channel 4 have just released a documentary in three parts by Tom Barrow, which chronicles some of the events of the strike, with new footage in some cases. They had this to say about the new release:

“The 1984/85 miners’ strike opened a great wound in the soul of the nation. This landmark three-part series from Swan Films will re-tell the story of the strike from a new perspective, and explore how its effects are still being felt in the lives of people today.

Each episode will each tell a discrete story from the strike, examining the events of the year through the eyes of those involved on all sides. It will reveal how the strike opened divisions in families and communities, and the complex reality of a country in upheaval.

“The Miners’ Strike is one of the seminal events in British history – the stories of those involved still feel raw and powerful in an extraordinary way. The dividing lines drawn in British society across class, politics and culture are still so resonant. I feel honoured to be working with Swan Films and a brilliant team to bring this important recent history to life.” Shaminder Nahal, Head of Specialist Factual.

“The miners’ strike was a turning point in the recent story of this country. To understand where we are today it’s necessary to explore not just what happened to those involved, but what it felt like. We’re delighted to be working with Channel 4, and an incredibly talented team, on this important documentary series.” Joe Evans, Managing Director, Swan Films”

Mark Jefferies and Saffron Otter, in the Mirror trailed the films in an article yesterday, and raised the prospect that the new documentary footage might lead to justice for those who’d suffered police violence, at Orgreave and elsewhere:

“Back in June 1984, a vicious clash broke out between police and protesters outside a British Steel Corporation coking plant in Orgreave, South Yorkshire. It became one of the most brutal episodes during the miners’ strike, with 71 picketers charged with riot and 24 with violent disorder.

At the time, rioting was punishable by life behind bars. However, the trials collapsed as evidence by police was deemed ‘unreliable’. In 2016, Theresa May played with the idea of an inquiry into Orgreave, which was quashed by her successor.

But new film footage shot at the scene by NUM union officials, aired in a Channel 4 three-part documentary, paints a vivid picture that it was indeed the police who were largely responsible for the savagery that unfolded. The Miners’ Strike 1984: The Battle For Britain, which continues tonight, hears from miners speaking for the first time after suffering physical and mental scars, some who left the battle with their heads heavily bleeding.”

We hope to carry a review of the documentary series in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can find out more about the campaign for justice at the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign website.

You can watch all three episodes of The Miners’ Strike 1984: The Battle For Britain here.