In 1984 a BBC film named ‘Threads’ about a nuclear bomb fallout in Sheffield was broadcast on British television.
The low budget fictional drama, written by Barry Hines and produced by Mick Jackson, depicted the social, economic and environmental consequences in the event of such a disaster.
Described as ‘Unsettlingly powerful’, ”The most terrifying film of all time’ and ‘Unrelentingly graphic’.
The film portrayed how after a sudden population plummet, the survivors succumbed to the immediate loss of water and energy supply and the effects of radiation coupled with a drastic loss of medical supplies. With food becoming the means of currency – the choice between barbecued rats and raw contaminated sheep seeming a better option than starving to death.
Some of Sheffield’s historical landmarks such as Tinsley Viaduct and Sheffield Town Hall featured in the bleak apocalyptic film which was shot in the city centre, and other areas of Sheffield like Hillsborough and the long-gone iconic Kelvin flats.
Members of the public were recruited to be background actors after being asked to turn up for auditions looking miserable and dressed in raggy clothes.
Within hours of posting on social media asking what people remembered about the film, thousands of people responded:
“It was amazing TV” said one person, “It was horrifically good” said another.
Others reported being traumatised, fainting, having panic-attacks and having nightmares for weeks and even years.
One person commented that the day after it was broadcast, the atmosphere on public transport around the city was solemn as people passed areas and buildings that had featured in the film.
Several people said that the shock-waves of despair that they had felt after seeing the film, had stayed with them and still affected their life 35 years later.
Vicki Glover said: “I genuinely didn’t think I would make it into adulthood, I was convinced I was going to die. I felt damaged by it, and I am sad to say I am not the only one.”
However, a few people commented that they had bought the film online within an hour of seeing the post while others said they couldn’t bring themselves to watch it again.
Sean Donovan said: “It still worries me Threads, but safe for another 35 years hopefully.”
A clip from the film for those who have never seen it (or if you have and want a reminder):