Londons Burning started out as a one off film written by Jack Rosenthal. After the success of this television film, it returned as a drama series.
Jack Rosenthal mentioned that the film was inspired by the Broadwater Farm riots in London in 1985 when the rioters turned on the fire fighters.
The other thing to note was that the film was from a perspective of a female fire fighter, Josie Ingham who joins Blue Watch at the Blackwall fire station. At that time a female fire fighter was novel and there was plenty of mileage in having a sole female in the team fighting to be accepted and respected.
The film was certainly a black comedy-drama. Just look at the scene when Josie's husband knocks on the house and tells the lady who opens the door that he is here for the orgy. The next scene we have ladies introducing their names but it turns out that its a regular meeting place of the wives of the fire crew, he being the husband of the latest member. This was typical of the quirky humour Rosenthal was known for in his work.
However the film climaxes with a riot which leads to disastrous consequences for one of the crew.
The film had a lot of tomfoolery with the fire crew and Josie's desire to be accepted by them, it was earthy as ITV at the time had big success with Auf Wiedersehen Pet as well as Minder and had the monopoly with these rough comedy-dramas. Its no wonder the London's Burning became a long running series but this film deserves attention to be appraised on its own as the oeuvre of Jack Rosenthal.
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