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Five men, six days: Pentonville voices


The prison experiences of two of the Five.

Tony Merrick: “they was treating us as if we were . . . something from space” (2:35)

The reaction to the Five of the other prisoners and the warders; their indefinite sentence and their so-called “VIP treatment”.


Derek Watkins: “to me it was degrading in prison” (2:53)

Toilet indignities; “snide remarks” from warders; disabled prisoners; the 24-hour sound of supporters outside; the Five’s refusal to purge their contempt of court.



The dockers used print and radio (but apparently not television) to get their message across.

Micky Fenn (swearing): “they’re inside, why ain’t you out?” (3:14)

A poster designed on the back of a cigarette packet and stuck up far and wide.


Poster reading: 'Five trade unionists are inside.  Why aren't you out?'

Colin Ross: “they’ve had to borrow the Blue Peter studio” (2:37)

Ross conducts abortive telephone negotiations from the Palace of Westminster with journalist Alan Watkins about a television appearance by the dockers’ committee (all 32 of them).


Colin Ross: “we made a call for a general strike on BBC live . . . compared the Prime Minister with Adolph Hitler” (0:55)

Ross and colleague Jim Carpenter get an unsympathetic response on a radio phone-in.



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