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A Very British Deterrent

With Trident renewed for another generation, A Very British Deterrent tells the story of the remarkable events, eye-watering costs, power relationships and secret deals done half a century ago to secure Britain's very first submarine-launched nuclear missiles.

In today's turbulent world, it is a story that is more relevant than ever. At the height of the Cold War, a series of political and technical crises came close to leaving Britain without a nuclear weapon of its own. In a time of unprecedented international tension and with the world locked in a terrifying nuclear arms race, one small loch in Scotland became a crucial bargaining chip to keep Britain in the nuclear game.

Using the personal letters of prime ministers and presidents, eye-witness accounts and once-secret documents, this film explores how the British prime minister Harold Macmillan seized every opportunity to further Britain's nuclear ambitions, was prepared to trade a Scottish base for a new American weapon, and even jeopardised the crucial Anglo-American relationship to keep Britain an independent nuclear power.

Release date:

1 hour

Last on

Sat 15 Oct 2016 02:10


Role Contributor
Executive ProducerJo Roe
ProducerColin Murray
DirectorColin Murray
Harold MacMillanSimon Williams
Dwight D EisenhowerColin Stinton
Dickie MountbattenTimothy Wallers
Arleigh BurkePaul Birchard
John F KennedyMatt Rippy