Title ID 781Collection ID179
TitleIt Happened in 1979
CollectionKen and June Paine
Genre/TypeAmateurIndependent AmateurNon-fictionActuality/Factual
KeywordsCarnivals Commemorative Events Cultural Events Everyday Life Local Government Pageants Parades Passenger Vehicles Performing Arts Political Demonstrations Railway Stations Social Problems
LocalFolkestone Margate
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionA Jaykay Joint Production
CameraKen Paine; June Paine
FormatColour Sound
Duration26min. 18sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


An amateur compilation of national, local and domestic news stories as they unfold during 1979. The film includes a commentary, soundtrack and numerous shots of newspaper headlines and television footage highlighting events which occurred during the year, focussing heavily on the 'Winter of Discontent'.


Opening titles: "$Z$", "A JayKay joint production" & 'It happened in 1979". "January 1st", headline: "Winter's Chaotic Grip", the narrator states that heavy snow resulted in chaos. Shots of cars and lorries navigating icy roads. "January 4th", "Small Pox Scandal", the narrator highlights the scandal and the resulting inquiry. "January 7th", "Britain at bay as strikes spread panic", "Has everyone gone mad?" & "S'no Joke", the narrator states that more snow had fallen at the end of January and that oil tanker drivers had also gone on strike. Sign: "East Kent, owing to industrial dispute all services are suspended". The narrator states that the bus drivers were joined by road gritters and train drivers. Shots of East Kent buses at Folkestone bus station. The narrator adds that schools had closed and there was panic buying in the supermarkets. Nurses are also involved in the strike and as a result James Callaghan has returned from his holiday in Barbados. "January 11th", "Ostrich Prime Minister", the narrator states that grave diggers were now striking which was holding up burials; "The only man in Britain who does not see a crisis!". "January 15th", "Schools transport hit by disputes", shots of busses leaving Folkestone bus station. "January 13th", "shut down Britain - factories close". "January 16th", "Shots fired at pickets". "January 18th", "Jim dithers over calling in the army". "January 18th", "Get off and walk say bus strikers". "January 18th", shots of Folkestone Central station with an empty platform. The narrator states that there was a national rail strike. "January 20th", "Chaos on all sides", "Pickets hit cancer wards"... Shot of a cat coming down some stairs, it sits next to a calendar on the floor. The narrator explains that 'Bimbo' celebrated his 17th birthday on March 15th. A woman gives the cat a bowl of cornflakes, opens birthday cards and unwraps tins of cat food. Returning to the theme of the strikes, the narrator adds that during April the Civil Service were on strike, demanding more pay. Shots of a council office and signs: "Department for Employment" & "Office closed due to national industrial action".

A poster reads: "East Kent Federation Townswomen Guild Historical Pageant, Weds 25th April 1979". The narrator explains that the pageant took place at the Winter Gardens in Margate. Shots of inside the Winter Gardens as women perform in the pageant; the narrator explains the significance of each of the scenes. Poster: "Folkestone Pageant of Motoring, Saturday 7th July", At The Leas in Folkestone the pageant can be seen underway, shots of vintage vehicles, majorettes and large crowds. The narrator explains how a Scots band took part in the pageant. Headline: "Firebug wreak £75,000 damage", shots of the burnt-out Ford garage in Folkestone as the narrator explains how it was destroyed by arson. "Tory chief killed by car bomb", the narrator explains how Mr Neave was murdered by a car bomb outside the House of Commons. Shot of an election flyer: "Thursday 3rd May Vote Conservative". The narrator explains how the election was won by the Conservatives led by Margaret Thatcher, various headlines follow detailing the election result. Shot of the 'Kent Messenger' with a portrait of the Queen Mother, stills from a supplement highlighting how she had been installed as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. The narrator highlights this as the first bit of good news for sometime, followed by footage from the television of the Queen Mother visiting Dover. "August", "Murder of Lord Louis", the narrator explains how Lord Mountbatten was murdered, newspaper headlines and television footage follows of interviews about the murder. "The Pope blasts the IRA", the narrator comments on the Pope's visit to Ireland. "Our Gracie", the narrator explains how it was a sad September for the people of Lancashire as Gracie Fields had died. Shots of bin men collecting rubbish from a residential street; the narrator explains that October marked the start of a new experiment to collect bin bags from in front of houses. "November", "Cancer ward doctors storm pickets". "December", shots of Christmas shop window displays. "Christmas", shots of a family eating Christmas dinner and footage of the Queen's Christmas message on television. "January 1980" the film ends with the headlines: "New Year Freeze-up" and "Here we go again - ".