Channel 5 has commissioned Tern Television to make Thatcher vs. The Miners, the company’s first feature documentary.
The film plans to use new evidence, including the miners’ own footage, along with first-person testimony, archive footage and journalism to explore the conflict between British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s government and the National Union of Mineworkers, that occurred nearly 40 years ago.
Cabinet papers obtained for the documentary reveal the enormity of the conflict between Thatcher and union leader Arthur Scargill. The film also features interviews with miners’ leaders and union officials from the time, striking and working miners, and three members of Thatcher’s staff: Lord Robin Butler, Lord Andrew Turnbull and Lord Stephen Sherborne.
“This story is very much the beginning of the great divide across the UK — of Broken Britain, North v South, working class v middle class, city v country, old industry v new finance. The unrest of 1981 sowed the seeds for today’s world – a very disunited Kingdom 40 years on,” said Harry Bell, Tern Television’s managing director, in a news release Friday (May 28).
Tern has worked on popular modern archive films before this, such as The Father, the Son and the Housekeeper, The Good Terrorist, and The Troubles: The War Next Door. Tern is part of the Zinc Media Group, and specializes in documentary, history, science, arts, adventure and lifestyle formats.