It's exactly 30 years since the start of a bitter dispute which forever altered the political and social landscape of our region; the miners' strike. This week, in 1984, men from pits across the North East refused to return to work, following a government announcement that it would close 20 mines and cut thousands of jobs. It claimed the industry was unprofitable and in need of streamlining.
Yet what many involved believed would be a short, sharp strike dragged into the longest industrial dispute this country has ever seen. Many miners had felt it would last a matter of weeks but the government, under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, held fast.
Wages weren't paid to striking men and, as the dispute dragged on, some decided to return to work. This created huge tension at the picket lines and in the communities. Those divisions still exist today.
In the first of 3 special reports, Jonny Blair hears memories of the strike from those who were at its heart. Some of them have never spoken about it on camera before.