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The Year London Blew Up - 1974 (Channel 4 2005)

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Published on Feb 19, 2017

Told through documentary, drama and first-hand accounts, this revealing film is a unique account of the most ruthless IRA bombing campaign ever to hit mainland Britain.
Producer Mark Hayhurst
Writer Mark Hayhurst
Starring Michael Colgan, Chris O'Dowd
Production Company Blast! Films
Broadcaster Channel4

Fifty explosions rocked the capital at a rate of one per week, leaving 35 people dead and scores more maimed for life. They assassinated the TV personality Ross McWhirter after he announced a £50,000 bounty for their capture. They bombed the flat of former Prime Minister Ted Heath. They bombed Selfridge's and Harrods. They killed innocent bystanders like Professor Gordon Hamilton-Fairley, the country's leading cancer specialist. They even set off bombs in pillar boxes, patenting the 'come-on' booby trap to target bomb disposal officers. They were also responsible for the pub bombings for which the Guildford Four were wrongly and notoriously convicted.

England had never seen anything like it. The Prevention of Terrorism Act was rushed through Parliament and properties were sand-bagged as if it was wartime. The gang was operating on the principle that one bomb in London was worth ten in Belfast , and they brought 'The Troubles' home with extraordinary ferocity. Throughout they lived quietly in safe houses in London , undetected by a massive police operation and the intelligence services, until they lost their discipline and started driving through Mayfair crazily firing their sub-machine guns like Chicago gangsters.

Finally, the police were waiting. In Operation Combo they had flooded the West End with 3,000 men. After a breakneck car chase and gun fight, the gang were cornered in Balcombe Street . The ensuing siege saw an elderly couple - the Matthews - held hostage at gunpoint for five terrifying days in their Marylebone flat while TV cameras zoomed in on the scene around the clock.

  • Category

  • Song

  • Artist

    • Carpenters
  • Album

    • Please Mr. Postman
  • Licensed to YouTube by

    • UMG (on behalf of Nova Entretenimento); UBEM, EMI Music Publishing, CMRRA, SOLAR Music Rights Management, and 10 Music Rights Societies

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