In 1982, the BBC made a contraversial documentary called 'A Guide to Armageddon', which detailed what would happen if a nuclear bomb exploded over London. It was produced and directed by Mick Jackson, who would go on to make Threads.
An earlier BBC program to show the after-effects of a nuclear attack in 1965's 'The War Game' had never even been broadcast. "They were literally afraid that viewers would commit suicide," recalls Jackson.
Jackson's 1982 documentary showed that people could be told more and made the BBC change its mind about what had previously been a no-go area. "It gave them courage to let me do some more on that subject," he recalls.
So he then spent a year "wandering the US and the UK researching this. I talked to most leading scientists, psychologists, doctors, defence specialists, strategic experts. I was totally up to speed on everything about nuclear war."
Director Mick Jackson realised that in order to heighten the impact of his armageddon warning, viewers needed to see it through the eyes of characters that they could relate to. "I wanted something of the social-realism of things like Cathy Come Home," he says.
There was even a plan to use the complete cast of rival network ITV's soap opera Coronation Street. This fell through for contractual reasons. (Ironically, the then unknown Reece Dinsdale, who plays Jimmy in Threads, would later be a regular on that show).