British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Miners’ Campaign Tapes, The

Synopsis
These six short films, released for the first time, are a crucial document of a cataclysmic episode of British history 25 years ago. A testament to solidarity and activism, the Miners’ Campaign Tapes tackle issues which continue to occupy
us today: the right to demonstrate, police tactics, political double-speak, and the role of the media.

In 1984 a group of independent film and video makers decided to show their support for the miners’ strike using the tools they had available: their cameras. On the picket lines, at the marches and in the soup kitchens, they recorded the testimonies of the striking miners, their wives and supporters, in a fight against anti-strike propaganda dominating the mainstream media. A testament to solidarity and activism, the tapes tackle issues which continue to occupy us today: the right to demonstrate, police tactics, political double-speak, the role of the media. They are a crucial document of a
cataclysmic episode of British history. Individual titles are Not Just Tea and Sandwiches,The Coal Board’s Butchery, Solidarity, Straight Speaking, The Lie Machine, Only Doing Their Job?. The filmmaking groups involved were Platform Films, Platform Films (London), Trade Films (Gateshead / Newcastle), Chapter Community Video Workshop (Cardiff), Amber Films (Newcastle)
Nottingham Video Project, Birmingham Film and Video Workshop, Open Eye Film and Video Workshop (Liverpool, Active Image (Rotherham / Sheffield), Films at Work (London), London Media Research Group, all of which were producing social action films at the time. Among those who appear are Arthur Scargill, Dennis Skinner and the late Paul Foot. Music comes from popular artists of the time; Heaven 17, China Crisis,
Kirsty MacColl, Joe Jackson and Linton Kwesi Johnson.

DVD extras include: Illustrated booklet with essays by Chris Reeves of Platform Films (discussing the making and distribution of the tapes), David Peace (author of GB84 and the ‘Red Riding’ thrillers) and Julian Petley (co-author ofMedia Hits the Pits: the Media and Coal Dispute and Shafted: the Media , the Miners’ Strike and the
Aftermath)
Language
English
Country
Great Britain
Year of release
2009
Year of production
1984
Subjects
Social Studies; History; Media studies; Politics & government
Keywords
campaigning films; media reporting; police; social history; miners’ strike (1984-5)

Distribution Formats

Type
DVD
Format
Region 2 PAL
Price
£9.74
Availability
Sale
Duration/Size
92 minutes
Year
2014

Sections

Title
Not Just Tea and Sandwiches
Synopsis
Examines the role played in the strike by the miners’ wives, whom the tabloids falsely painted as being vocally opposed to their action. Their determination and resolve can’t help but recall the solidarity of the miners’ wives of Harlan County U.S.A. during another hard fought industrial dispute.
Duration
12 mins

Title
Coal Board’s Butchery, The
Synopsis
Examines the running down of the coal industry under Ian McGregor and suggests that Margaret Thatcher’s long-term plan is to break the unions and hand all nationalised industries over to the private sector.
Duration
14 mins

Title
Solidarity
Synopsis
Looks at wider trade union support for the miners and the links with other unions at a time when attempts to crush any secondary action were already under way.
Duration
12 mins

Title
Straight Speaking
Synopsis
Dennis Skinner provides the facts and history behind the strike and responds directly to some of the statements made about the miners and their action by Ian MacGregor.
Duration
10 mins

Title
Lie Machine, The
Synopsis
A detailed assault on press coverage of the strike, presented by Gavin Richards of the Campaign Tape Project. Left-wing journalist Paul Foot contributes some analysis and the editing of BBC footage is questioned.
Duration
16 mins

Title
Only Doing Their Job?
Synopsis
Looks at the police handling of the miners’ strike.
Duration
25 mins

Production Company

Name

Platform Films

Email
Platform.films@virgin.net
Web
http://www.platformfilms.co.uk/html%20Site/index.html External site opens in new window
Phone
07973 278956
Fax
020 7278 8394
Address
Unit 14 Pennybank Chambers
33-35 St John’s Square
LONDON
EC1M 4DS

Distributor

Name

BFI Video

Email
video.films@bfi.org.uk
Web
http://www.bfi.org.uk External site opens in new window
Phone
020 7957 8957
Fax
020 7957 8968
Address
21 Stephen Street
London
W1T 1LN
 

Available from retail outlets

Record Stats

This record has been viewed 1365 times.