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The Year London Blew Up: 1974 (2005)

1974-1975 - a year of terrorism across London. Adapted for the screen from the book 'Timebomb.'



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Cast overview:
Michael Colgan ...
Kevin Murphy ...
Jenny Howe ...
Mrs. Matthews
Tim Preece ...
David Sibley ...
Detective Inspector


1974-1975 - a year of terrorism across London. Adapted for the screen from the book 'Timebomb.'

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1 September 2005 (UK)  »

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An impressively succinct and engaging documentary
25 September 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In 2005 terrorist attacks rocked London but this was not something that the city was unused to having been under attack from Sinn Fein/IRA for many years. The first attacks on the city came during 1974 when a small cell of the IRA set themselves up and began a campaign of pub bombings. While the population took on a wartime mentality, the police frantically search for any leads and the terrorists' confidence grows and their attacks become more daring and deadly.

With terrorism now stuck in the minds of people as being associated with Muslims, it seems that many have forgotten that it is not a new problem within the UK. For decades Sinn Fein/IRA had bombed parts of Northern Ireland and the mainland, killing many and maiming many others and, although they now hide their violence behind a spin of peace and politics, it is important that we remember who they are. This documentary stays away from commenting on their modern incarnations or actions (robbing a bank, punishment murders, training terrorists in Columbia, punishment beatings etc) and focuses well on the start of the English campaign back in the 1970's. The manner of delivery is a mix of old footage, talking heads and dramatisation; the latter is the weakest of the three but fortunately is not used as much as the others. When it is used it is generally supported well by the other material and it is better for it.

The end product is a documentary that captures the facts and the atmosphere of the time really well and provides a fascinating look back in enough detail to engage the totally unaware as easily as those who had been alive at the time. The narration is a bit too forceful and gruff; he does sound too much like the sort of person you'd find narrating on "When Dogs Attack" or some such programme but this is only a minor problem. The talking heads are all concise and interesting, while the use of news footage from the time make it that much more involving and real. Overall an impressive documentary that is engaging and detailed in its focus on part of the decades of Northern Irish terrorist violence; it does have minor weaknesses but the good vastly outweighs the not so good.

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