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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 February, 2005, 23:56 GMT
Miners' strike drama criticised
Still from Faith
The Tories believe the drama promotes left-wing views
The Conservative party has attacked the BBC over a drama set during the 1984 miners' strike which it considers "wholly partial and one-sided".

Shadow culture secretary John Whittingdale questioned why the "left-wing" drama Faith was being shown so close to a general election.

The BBC defended the programme, saying an election has not yet been called.

It said the drama, which is being shown on Monday on BBC One, marked 20 years since the end of the miners' strike.

Mr Whittingdale, who had requested an advance screening of the drama, said it was an example of "institutional bias" by the BBC.

'Negative images'

The programme traces the relationship between two women, one of whom is married to a striking miner, and the other to a local policeman.

"Faith presents a wholly partial and one-sided picture of the miners' strike," he said.

"It contains consistently negative images of the police, security services and Margaret Thatcher's government while ignoring the violence and intimidation suffered by those who wanted to work."

He also criticised the depiction of the political motivation of the strike's leaders.

"It is the latest in a long line of left-wing dramas screened by the BBC without any attempt to provide balance or the alternative view," he said.

No date for the general election has yet been announced and Faith is a fictional drama inspired by the real events of the 1984-85 miners' strike
BBC statement

He said its broadcast "looks like a ploy by the BBC to use drama to circumvent the rules on political impartiality before a general election and is another example of the institutional bias of the BBC of which Conservatives have long complained".

A BBC spokesperson said: "The reason for transmitting the programme at this time is that it coincides with the 20th anniversary of the end of the miners' strike.

"No date for the general election has yet been announced and Faith is a fictional drama inspired by the real events of the 1984-85 miners' strike.

"In it we chose not to tell the broader political story of the strike but rather to approach the drama from the point of view of a number of characters within a single mining community," she said.

Faith will be shown on BBC One on Monday at 2100 GMT.






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