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Martha Kearney reviews secret government files from 1986, the year of US air strikes against Libya, the Chernobyl disaster and Prince Andrew's wedding to Sarah Ferguson.

Martha Kearney reviews secret government files from 1986 - the year of US air strikes against Libya, the Chernobyl disaster and a Royal wedding between Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson. She discusses the annual release of official papers with three distinguished politicians from the time - former Health Secretary Lord Fowler, former Labour leader Lord Kinnock and former Liberal leader Lord Steel - as they look for new insights into some of the top political stories of that year.

Early 1986 saw the Westland helicopter crisis and the resignation of two Senior Ministers, Michael Heseltine and Leon Brittan. On the opposition benches, Labour was engaged in a struggle with the Militant left wing of the party, but the popularity of the new SDP / Liberal Alliance failed to materialise into votes in the 1987 election.

Meanwhile Britain was gripped by a fear of AIDS, and arms talks between the USSR and the United States faltered at Reykjavik, but led ultimately to a treaty between the superpowers just a year later, marking a significant thaw in Cold War relations.

Producer: Deborah Dudgeon
A Whistledown production in association with Takeaway Media for BBC Radio 4.

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30 minutes

Last on

Wed 30 Dec 2015 11:30