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The Big Flame

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Published on Sep 23, 2010

In response to plans to mechanise the docks which directly threaten jobs, the dock workers take industrial action. As the striking workers' families struggle with poverty, they realise the odds are against them. But is there another way? Former strike leader Jack Regan suggests the dockers occupy the docks and run the operation themselves: a resolution the state cannot afford to succeed...

This was writer Jim Allen's second Wednesday Play (after The Lump), and his first with Ken Loach, who would deem it to be Allen's "definitive script". The BBC postponed showing it twice, but eventually it was broadcast with a predictable reaction -- the Daily Mail calling it a "Marxist play presented as sermon", while a new revolutionary socialist organisation took the name 'Big Flame'. The reaction however would put pressure on a new regime at the BBC, who would become increasingly less inclined to produce drama-documentaries.

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