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Episode credited cast:
Ludovic Kennedy ...
Himself - Narrator


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Plot Keywords:

nuclear weapons | See All (1) »






Release Date:

26 July 1982 (UK)  »

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Featured in It Was Alright in the...: Fear in the 80s (2015) See more »

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This Was Expanded Into Something Else
30 August 2004 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

A GUIDE TO ARMAGEDDON was part of the BBC science show QED that seemed to be marketed to an audience that had no interest in science . There was an edition where the production crew showed what happens when you explode gas canisters , or set fire to a cloud of custard powder ( It explodes like napalm ) , or what happens to a lift when the braking system fails . There was also an edition with a young boy with an unfortunate condition that makes him swear without being able to control it so the cameras followed him and his mother out shopping in a crowded supermarket . You can guess what happens next can`t you . QED often seemed to have a voyerism to it .I digress

A GUIDE TO ARMAGEDDON is a speculative documentary of what would happen if Britain suffered a nuclear attack . We`re shown via specially shot scenes and still pictures of the damage and terminal consequences wrought upon the people of Britain with the narration ending that " Would the survivors envy the dead ? "

Has it rung any bells yet ? Let me remind you of a few scenes featured: Meat cooking in a butchers window due to the heat generated from the initial nuclear flash , milk bottles melting on door steps along with childrens toys. That`s right , much of the footage shot and stills used were expanded , edited or re-used by director/producer Mick Jackson in his nuclear holocaust docudrama THREADS a year later . A couple of points

1 ) Some of the footage seen here is absent from THREADS ( Like the meat cooking in the butcher shop ) down to the fact that it interferes with the context of the docudrama . People have been panic buying for days before the bomb drops in THREADS hence meat cooking in shop windows contradicts this scenario

2 ) It`s clearly stated that the smoke and dust from a thermo-nuclear war would lead to a " nuclear winter " . Considering both A GUIDE TO ARMAGEDDON and THE DAY AFTER were produced at exactly the same time it`s clear that THE DAY AFTER has ignored the concept of a nuclear winter on purpose since it would have been known to the scientific community . One can`t help thinking TDA has ignored the nuclear winter on purpose rather than through ignorance. Indeed on its broadcast critics of TDA like Lord Denis Healey pointed out that the American TVM didn`t go far enough pointing out the consequences of global nuclear war and I couldn`t help thinking that was a straight referrance to this documentary

A GUIDE TO ARMAGEDDON is even more obscure than its offspring THREADS which still has a small but very hard core fan base . It would have been perfect as a companion piece on the THREADS DVD but like the cold war seems to have been consigned to forgotten history

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