Skip to main content

Five men, six days: Pentonville voices

Inside

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.

Communication

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.

Pentonville Five poster. Erroneously dated June 1972.

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.

Introduction

Previous: Arrest & Picket

Next: Persuasion & March