Janet Bloomfield, Tim Knock, Pamela Meidell, 'And the Fence Came Tumbling Down'

IssueMarch - June 2002
Review by Ippy D

This well-produced 10-minute film attempts to offer a vastly contracted version of the historic events at Greenham Common; from the occupation of the land by the military in the middle of the century, through to the return of the common to the people of Newbury at the end of it in April 2000.

As someone closely bound up with Greenham, I found the emphasis on the land issue (as opposed to nuclear weapons, militarism, women's empowerment, etc) a little disappointing.

However, this is a film which is aimed at a specific audience and for a specific purpose. It has been produced as an educational tool that can be used in schools for children and young adults (not old Greenham hags like me!). It comes with a resource pack which includes information sheets with background material about the camps, nuclear weapons issues, and current anti-nuclear protest camps in Britain. I can imagine that both the video and resource pack would be useful in stimulating discussion and debate.

This short film offers factually accurate narration, some classic footage of blockades and evictions, and to-camera comments and footage of the day the common was formally re-opened. Narrator Sophie King rightly points out that on that historic day in April 2000, not one of the official speeches made reference to the protests and actions that had taken place at Greenham. Still, as an aside, I guess Greenham women had the last laugh (off-camera).

While the mayor used a large pair of boltcutters to symbolically open the common, some of us had already cut our way in and climbed to the top of a long-empty nuclear silo, from where we looked out over our common, and watched the people of Newbury doing something so few of them had had the courage to do during the years of Cruise nuclear weapons being sited on their doorsteps.

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