DVD: Threads (1984)
I remember when Threads was originally broadcast here in the UK in 1984. For weeks afterwards it was the main topic of conversation at work: would you prefer to be incinerated in the initial blast or survive? Would making a survival shelter out of your doors actually do anything practical? Would humanity be able to survive or slowly disappear?
Set in the UK city of Sheffield, Threads begins innocently enough following a young couple who are buying an apartment together when finding out that they have a child on the way.
As their story unfolds there are various news clips in the background on both the television and radio as tensions between America, Russia and the rest of the world begin to heighten. This progression of the escalating worldwide political unrest is also given via typed messages onscreen, which are a cold unemotional way to further the narrative and place the viewer in a very unsettling position.
Inevitably nuclear warheads are fired and Sheffield becomes a target. What follows is a harrowing look at what may happen to society should our world leaders ever be stupid enough to press that ‘big red button’.
The blast waves destroy everything in a huge radius, and while this is upsetting enough, it is the story of those who survive where emotions are pushed to breaking point.
Lack of a social structure, limited food and water, hardly any shelter, lawlessness, radiation sickness, a ‘nuclear winter’ where all life forms are put under even more strain. Surviving a nuclear attack seems a far worse option than being killed in its blast.
Post-attack the narrative concentrates on Ruth (a superb performance by Karen Meagher) as she strives to survive while awaiting the birth of her baby. The child is born and we see that the human survival instinct is strong, though that is not always for the best.
Even though the world has changed in many ways since it was first aired, Threads is as gripping and as chilling as it was when I watched it 34 years ago, and it is unfortunate (and terrifying) that world politics still have us under the threat of a devastating nuclear war.
An interesting talking point after watching it all these years later is how society would cope with the aftermath in 2018? In an age where the internet and social media is so prevalent, would the feeling of isolation be even stronger once that was taken away? Would we be as convinced nowadays that making a shelter in your home out of doors would be an adequate way to survive?
Threads continues to be a harrowing viewing experience, yet one which everyone should watch. Accompanied by informative and entertaining special features on this 2 disc release, it is a ‘must buy’ for all of us who watched back in 1984, and especially those who have never seen it at all, as a warning as to what may happen.
- UK 2k Remaster from BBC CRI prints
- DVD Audio Commentary with Karen Meagher (UK Exclusive)
- DVD Audio Commentary with Mick Jackson
- PDF of Radio Times articles and letters (UK Exclusive)
- Documentary: Shooting the Annihilation
- Documentary: Auditioning for the Apocalypse
- Documentary: Destruction Designe
- Documentary: Stephen Thrower on Threads
Threads is released on 9th April 2018 and you can buy it by clicking HERE. ALL money raised by purchasing from Amazon via our website is given back to our listeners and followers in upcoming competition prizes. The more people buy, the bigger our prizes.