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The BBC's Rosie Millard
"In this part of Yorkshire the closure of the pits still resonates deeply"
 real 56k

Sunday, 17 June, 2001, 22:47 GMT 23:47 UK
Actors re-enact key strike battle
Re-enactment of the Battle of Orgreave
The cast included relatives of miners involved in the original battle
One of the fiercest battles of the 1980s miners' strike has been re-enacted for television, watched by some of the original participants.

Actors re-staged the battle of Orgreave, in which hundreds of miners clashed with police in the South Yorkshire village during 1984.

Around 3,000 local people and members of mining communities from across the country made up the crowd, but miners' leader Arthur Scargill did not attend.

Orgreave was the scene of a vital coking plant and during the strike thousands of pickets descended on it in an attempt to stop lorries entering or leaving the complex.

Running battles took place between pickets and police, many of whom had been drafted in from forces all over the country.

The re-enactment was filmed by Mike Figgis, the British director of films such as Leaving Las Vegas, for a Channel 4 documentary to be screened next year and was the idea of conceptual artist Jeremy Deller.
Strike facts
Strike, sparked by plans to close pits, starts March 1984
Strike duration 358 days
14 people died
93 arrested at Orgreave
Strike ends March 1985

The production company, Artangel, tried to make it as historically accurate as possible.

An Artangel spokeswoman said: "Jeremy came to us and said 'I've got this idea' and we said fantastic.

"He has been working on the idea for about seven years and told me 'When I saw it on television in 1984 as a kid this seed was planted'."

Anniversary

The event was staged on the eve of the 17th anniversary of the confrontation.

Actor Simon Kirk (right) as Arthur Scargill
Actor Simon Kirk (right) played Arthur Scargill
Actors played the main roles, but some of the 1,000-strong cast included the sons of ex-miners who had originally taken part.

"A lot of the people there on the day came back with their families. It was a good opportunity for them to meet again after 17 years," said the Artangel spokeswoman.

The re-enactment was staged on land near the original battlefield, which is now an open-cast mine.

The Orgreave coking plant closed down following the mass closure of pits in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

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