Miners’ Strike 1984 viewers draw parallels with Mr Bates Vs the Post Office

Viewers of the Channel 4 documentary were outraged to learn the events of the Battle of Orgreave and called for a public enquiry.

Miners Strike 1984. Battle of Orgreave 18th June 1984 Thousands of striking miners picket outside the Orgreave coke works near Rotherham. Where they were met by huge lines of police who were brought in from all around the country. The miners wanted to stop lorry's loaded with coke from leaving the plant for the steelworks. They thought that would help them win their strike, and help protect their pits, their jobs and their communities. The police were determined to hold them back. The Battle of Orgrave was the turning point in the year long miners strike of 1984. It was the moment the police and governments strategy switched from the defensive, protecting collieries, coking plants and working miners, to the offensive, actively breaking up crowds of pickets and making large numbers of arrests of strikers. Our Picture Shows: Police charging pickets outside the Orgreave Coking Plant. 18th June 1984. (Photo by John VarCharlie Ley/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
Viewers were shocked and outraged by Channel 4 documentary Miners Strike 1984: Battle of Britain (Getty Images)

What did you miss?

Viewers of Miners’ Strike 1984: The Battle for Britain drew parallels between the documentary and recent docu-drama Mr Bates Vs the Post Office.

The Channel 4 series marking the 40th anniversary of the miners strikes left many viewers outraged to learn the events of the Battle of Orgreave and called for a public enquiry. Several saw similarities between the perjury of police officers who exaggerated the violence of the miners and the injustice experienced by the 700 sub-postmasters falsely prosecuted in the Horizon scandal.

What, how, and why?

MR BATES Vs POST OFFICE Pictured: AMIT SHAH as Jas,KRUPA PATTANI as Sam,LESLEY NICOL as Pam,IFAN HUW DAFYDD as Noel,JULIE HESMONDHALGH as Suzanne,TOBY JONES as Alan Bates,MONICA DOLAN as Jo,ASIF KHAN as Mohammad,WILL MELLOR as Lee and SHAUN DOOLEY as Rudkin.This photograph is (C) ITV Plc and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above, or ITV plc. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk.  This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on the website www.itv.com/presscentre/itvpictures/termsFor further information please contact:patrick.smith@itv.com
Viewers drew parallels with the injustices in Mr Bates Vs The Post Office. (ITV)

The second episode of the three-part documentary looked back at events that took place during the Battle of Orgreave in South Yorkshire in June 1984 when there were violent clashes between the police and the picketers. In June 1991, the South Yorkshire Police paid £425,000 in compensation to 39 miners for assault, wrongful arrest, unlawful detention and malicious prosecution. It has since been called a brutal example of legalised state violence.

Several viewers compared the injustice to the 700 sub-postmasters falsely prosecuted between 2000 and 2014 of of theft, fraud and false accounting based on incorrect information from the Post Office's Horizon computer system. Their story was recently highlighted in ITV drama Mr Bates Vs the Post Office starring Toby Jones as trailblazer Alan Bates.

Ranks of police face the picketing line outside Orgreave Coking Plant near Rotherham.   (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
Ranks of police face the picketing line outside Orgreave Coking Plant near Rotherham. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)

One viewer wrote on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter: "It's like the post office saga, it makes you so angry, all these people lying. Like Hillsborough. #minersstrike"

Another declared: "The government finally did something about the Post Office Scandal after a TV drama. Can guarantee they won’t do anything about Orgreave after this C4 doc. #MinersStrike"

And another commented: "It’s about time there was a public enquiry into the miners strike. The biggest cover up in British history. Anyone would think they are hoping all the miners have passed before the truth comes out !!"

Someone else said: "Absolutely obvious we need a full inquiry into what happened at #Orgreave - disgusting lies from the police and cover up by the establishment #MinersStrike @orgreavejustice."

Many were shocked to learn about the brutality of the events for the first time. One tweeted: "#MinersStrikeHard watch on Orgreave on Ch 4. Shameful chapter in Britain's history. A disgrace."

Another posted: "Terrifying and shocking watching 'The Battle of Orgreave' on #MinersStrike doc. Police brutality. Corruption. Another stain on British history." And a third shared: "The miners’ strike is perhaps the most profoundly shameful period of this country’s 20th century history #MinersStrike #channel4"

And many praised the documentary. One wrote: "This miners’ strike documentary on C4 is a spectacular piece of work." Someone else agreed: "#MinersStrike compulsive viewing - wish this was longer than a 3 part documentary @Channel4"

Miners’ Strike 1984: The Battle for Britain, airs continues at 9pm on Thursday, 8 February.

Read more: Mr Bates Vs the Post Office