Strange Days: Cold War Britain

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2013

In Strange Days: Cold War Britain, I explored the effect of the Cold War on politics, culture and society in Britain. I knew, of course, that Jeremy Isaacs had made a brilliant series on the Cold War in the 1990s. But we wanted to do something a bit different: to tell the story from an explicitly domestic perspective, showing how the conflict between East and West invaded the British imagination. Instead of dwelling on missile statistics and summit diplomacy, therefore, we devoted a lot more time to spy scandals, Bond films, bestselling protest records and post-apocalyptic nuclear fantasies.

We got to film in some fantastic locations, especially in Moscow, where we were allowed into the inner sanctum of the Kremlin, which tourists never see. My personal highlight, though, was filming at my old school, Birchfield, near Wolverhampton, for a section about Cold War children’s literature in the 1980s.

The executive producer was Steve Condie, who had previously produced The 70s. The series producer was Debbie Lee, the other episode producers were Rebecca Templar and James Giles, and Justin Evans and Sam al-Kadi worked their magic behind the cameras. It was often very cold, but we had a lot of fun.

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