I thought that the first episode of this was excellent, even though having someone in Nottinghamshire shot dead with a bow and arrow by someone living in a forest was a bit cheesy. Speaking of forests, I gather that the good people of Nottinghamshire are rather narked that a character referred to “Notts Forest”, which is the equivalent of a character from Manchester referring to United as “Man U” – i.e. just plain wrong! But, that aside, this was really very good.
It’s set in a Nottinghamshire mining community (everything’s a “community” these days, rather than a city, town, village or suburb), and the murder victim, Gary, is a former miner who’d never got past the wounds left by the Miners’ Strike of 1984. And we’re talking about the divisions within the community. Just as Civil War books tend to focus on the clash between Cavaliers and Roundheads, and ignore the divisions between different groups on the Roundhead side, the narrative of the Miners’ Strike is generally that of the authorities, led by Margaret Thatcher, versus the miners, led by Arthur Scargill. But it wasn’t that simple.
I live quite near the site of the old Agecroft Colliery, where most miners carried on working during rhe 1984 strike and flying pickets from Yorkshire gathered outside to try to stop them. In the Ashfield area, where this is set, some miners did continue working, others went on strike, and, again, flying pickets from Yorkshire came in. We see that Gary still, in 2022, referred to those who carried on working as “scabs”, shouting abuse at them even as they tried to enjoy a quiet drink, and that there were divisions even within his own family because his brother-in-law was one of the “scabs”.
In early 1985, whilst the strike was still going on, there was a storyline in Coronation Street in which Hilda Ogden’s lodger was discovered to have broken a strike. His life was made a misery even though he explained that he’d felt he had to work due to family circumstances. The view at the time was that no-one liked a scab, blackleg, strikebreaker, whatever term you want to use; but the problem with the miners’ strike was that a national strike was called without there being a national ballot. Also, as Joanne Froggatt’s character, Sarah, pointed out, people had the right to choose what they felt was right. The whole thing was messy. And the memories of what happened die hard.
A lot was going on in this programme. There was the general issue of generation gaps, as Gary’s wife Julie kept saying “There’s somebody at the door” in the Rod Hull/Emu/Grotbags way, and her grandchildren had no idea what she was talking about. There was the fall of the red wall, with Sarah standing for the council elections as a Conservative. At the time of the last general election, we heard a lot about former mining constituencies such as Leigh, Sedgefield and Ashfield itself voting Conservative: it really showed how much things had moved on. But, for Gary, nothing had moved on.
There was the return to the community of a local man now a senior police officer, and the distrust of the police nearly 40 years after Orgreave and everything else that went on in 1984. It was all brilliantly written and brilliantly acted, and I’m looking forward to the five episodes still to come.
2 thoughts on “Sherwood – BBC 1”
So what is problem with this?
There’s somebody at the door”
What do they say today?
Saying “Ooh, there’s somebody at the door” and repeating it was a catchphrase from a children’s TV series with Rod Hull, his talking emu puppet and a green witch called Grotbags. It was really big in the 1980s, but no-one under about 40 would get the joke, so the grandchildren didn’t know what the grandma meant 🙂 .