Uk Confidential

With exclusive access to papers released by The National Archives under the thirty year rule, this special programme provides new insight on many of the political decisions and controversies of the time.

Episodes

TitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
197420050101

A year of political confusion and domestic strife.

197520051231

A year marked by the fall of Saigon, the death of Franco, and at home, economic stagnation and a European referendum.

19762006122920061231

A year marked by the resignation of Harold Wilson, the sterling crisis, and a serious drought.

Presented by Martha Kearney

19772007122820071230

Martha Kearney presents a documentary offering new insights into many of the political decisions and controversies of 1977, following the release of papers by the National Archives under the 30-year rule.

Contributors include David Owen, Shirley Williams, Michael Foot and Tony Howard.

197820081230

Documentary offering new insights into many of the political controversies of 1978.

Martha Kearney presents a documentary offering new insights into many of the political decisions and controversies of 1978, following the release of papers by the National Archives under the 30-year rule.

19792009123020091231

Martha Kearney reveals the truth behind the headlines from 1979.

As tens of thousands of previously secret government files are released to the public, Martha Kearney, in conversation with former government ministers, reveals the truth behind the headlines from 1979.

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4

Part of the BBC Christmas 2009 season.

198020101230

Martha Kearney and guests revisit 1980 through previously classified government documents.

On the day that previously secret government files from 1980 are released to the public, Martha Kearney and guests discuss what they reveal about government thinking at the time.

It was a year of government cutbacks, high unemployment and economic gloom.

The newly-released papers highlight the astonishing resonance with today.

Martha and guests will examine the Prime Minister's personal papers, complete with handwritten notes in the margins, and memos from trusted aides; transcripts of conversations between Margaret Thatcher and other world leaders; and vivid accounts of arguments in cabinet that show what individual Ministers were really thinking.

As well as shedding light on what we know happened, the papers also reveal what didn't happen, as we hear accounts of policies or actions that were considered but later abandoned.

It was the year that Polish workers won trade union rights, while in the UK steel workers went on strike.

The government failed to secure a boycott of the Olympic games in Moscow, and Zimbabwe elected a new leader: Robert Mugabe.

War broke out between Iran and Iraq and a group of American hostages in Tehran remained in captivity.

President Jimmy Carter lost out to Ronald Reagan in the American elections and Michael Foot became leader of the Labour Party.

These are just some of the stories that dominated 1980.

This programme will reveal the issues that dominated the minds of Ministers at the time.

Producer: Deborah Dudgeon

A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 4.

19812011123020120101

It was the year of the Royal Wedding, urban riots and soaring unemployment. Leading economists despaired of the government's handling of the economy, while spending cuts were considered too deep, and relations with European allies fragile. This was 1981.

Martha Kearney reviews newly-released government papers from 1981 with guests including former Ministers, government advisers and leading opponents. There are fascinating insights to be gleaned from Margaret Thatcher's personal files, containing secret memos, letters from Ministers and foreign leaders, often furiously annotated with her immediate response. Minutes of Cabinet meetings reveal divisions between departments over the government's handling of key policies.

This was the year in which Mrs Thatcher visited the newly instated Ronald Reagan, ten IRA prisoners died on hunger strike in Northern Ireland, and trouble flared in British cities, with looting and rioting in Brixton, Moss Side and Toxteth. Martha and guests will look beyond the headlines to see how key government decisions were made, and where tensions between Ministers lay.

Producer: Deborah Dudgeon

A Wingspan and Whistledown co-production for BBC Radio 4.

Martha Kearney's guests review secret government papers from 1981.

198220121228

With unique access to secret government papers, Martha Kearney presents a look at the political events of 1982 as told through the Cabinet minutes, Prime Ministerial papers and Foreign and Commonwealth Office documents and briefings that are being released to the public at the end of the year.

Close to 30,000 Government papers containing top secret memos, notes and briefings are included in the release, and the Radio 4 team have been given special access over the last few weeks.

In a dramatic year, 1982 saw Britain at war with Argentina over the Falklands, which is expected to dominate much of the papers released under the thirty year rule.

We anticipate discovering details of the talks to avert conflict, of events such as the loss of HMS Sheffield and the Battle of Goose Green, and of the controversial sinking of the Argentine Navy cruiser General Belgrano.

In addition we may well find out details of how the Franks Inquiry into the Falklands War put politicians and civil servants under the spotlight and how those around Margaret Thatcher sought to capitalise on her renewed popularity in the wake of the victory in the South Atlantic.

Producer: Deborah Dudgeon

A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 4, in association with Takeaway Media.