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A Very British Deterrent

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The most telling quote in this tale of how Britain secured its nuclear deterrent from a reluctant USA comes courtesy of Harold Macmillan. Negotiating with President Kennedy in the Bahamas in 1962, the Prime Minister said frankly of nuclear weapons, “It is partly a question of keeping up with the Joneses. Countries which have played a great role in history must retain their dignity.” The story of how he cajoled first Eisenhower then Kennedy into preserving our dignity is told in detail via once-secret archives. Given MPs’ recent decision to renew Trident, it’s a timely history lesson about the rules of entry to the nuclear club.


Drama-documentary exploring the history of Britain's nuclear deterrent, based on declassified top secret files and expert testimonies. The film focuses on tense events during the Cold War, when a series of political crises left the UK without any nuclear weapons. Prime Minister Harold MacMillan was determined that Britain should remain a nuclear power, and was prepared to jeopardise the UK's relationship with the US for the sake of independence. Includes reconstructions starring Simon Williams as MacMillan and Timothy Wallers as Lord Mountbatten.

Cast & Crew

Narrator Siobhan Redmond
Simon Williams
Colin Stinton
Timothy Wallers
Paul Birchard
Matt Rippy
Director Colin Murray
Executive Producer Jo Roe
Producer Colin Murray
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