Twenty years ago, Britain's miners embarked on a strike over pit closures. Whereas previous coal strikes had been over in a matter of weeks, this time both Union and Government dug in for a lengthy battle. In the end, the biggest losers were the ordinary miners.
During the strike, the South Bank Show commissioned Loach to make a film about the music and poetry arising from it. However, when Loach included footage of police brutality, ITV refused to show it and the programme was pulled for being too political. The film went on to be broadcast on Channel 4 in 1985, followed by a ‘balancing’ programme showing an alternative view of the miners’ strike.
As Loach remarked at the time: ‘I’ve spent as much time defending my films as I have making them.’ The film remains an engrossing immersion into the plight of the miners, with the rawness of the poetry reflecting the miners’ year-long ordeal, as they struggled to provide food for their families.