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London's Burning (1986)

The close knit members of Blue Watch, at Blackwell Fire Station, adjust to having a female firefighter join their ranks. The pilot movie for the long-running ITV series.


Les Blair


Jack Rosenthal
3 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary McDonald ... Ethnic
Mark Arden Mark Arden ... Vaseline
James Hazeldine ... Bayleaf
James Marcus James Marcus ... Tate
Sean Blowers ... Hallam
Rupert Baker ... Malcolm
Richard Walsh ... Sicknote
Gerard Horan Gerard Horan ... Charisma
Jerome Flynn ... Rambo
Katharine Rogers Katharine Rogers ... Josie
Eric Deacon Eric Deacon ... Gerry
Yvonne Edgell Yvonne Edgell ... Nancy Tate
Hetty Baynes Hetty Baynes ... Mrs. Grant
Joy Richardson ... Charlene
Corinne Skinner-Carter Corinne Skinner-Carter ... Beatrice


The close knit members of Blue Watch, at Blackwell Fire Station, adjust to having a female firefighter join their ranks. The pilot movie for the long-running ITV series.

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Release Date:

7 December 1986 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

London's Burning: The Movie See more »

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Did You Know?


Jerome Flynn, who stars as Rambo, went on to star in Soldier Soldier (1991) as Paddy Garvey, then had a pop career with Soldier, Soldier co-star Robson Green, topping the UK charts with Unchained Melody which the two first performed on Soldier, Soldier before an official release as a double A side with (There'll be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover. See more »


Tate: [Walks in on Malcolm, Josie and Rambo in the middle of a pulling a phone prank] Malcolm...
Malcolm: Yes Guvnor. We were just checking...
Tate: Commander Petrie arrives 1200 hours. I want everybody looking as near like fireman as possible without resorting to cosmetic surgery.
See more »

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User Reviews

Fire watch
6 December 2014 | by Prismark10See all my reviews

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 a monopoly with these rough comedy-dramas. Its no wonder that 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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