Sunday, 21 May 2017
First viewed : 22 September 1984
This was the British version of The Day After, presenting the effects of a nuclear bomb on Sheffield in a style that was half drama , half documentary. It was written by Barry Hines, author of A Kestrel for a Knave.
The drama centres around a young couple Jimmy ( Reece Dinsdale ) and Ruth ( Karen Meagher ) who conceive a child just as trouble between the USA and the USSR erupts in Iran. The other main character is Clive Sutton ( Harry Beety ) the Chief Executive at the City Council who is the designated Controller in the event of an attack. That duly arrives in some impressive BAFTA-winning scenes of panic and destruction. Jimmy's caught out in the open and perishes. Ruth survives to give birth and eke out a living in the rebarbative society that develops after the blast but eventually succumbs to radiation sickness. Sutton and his team do their best while buried alive under their Town Hall but it's pretty useless and they too are doomed. In the end, we just have Ruth's teenage daughter Jane ( Victoria O'Keefe ) , a semi-feral scavenger giving birth to something horrible after a casual rape.
This is interspersed by documentary information delivered through various media, voice-overs, television advice, Patrick Allen's public information films and now-primitive computer graphics.
As you would expect it wasn't a barrel of laughs and still has an impact if you watch it today despite the threat of nuclear Armageddon having receded somewhat.
Sadly, O' Keefe was killed in a road accident in 1990 aged 21.