On Jan. 13, [Ted Turner]'s WTBS Atlanta superstation will present the American premiere of "Threads," the United Kingdom's gritty, ugly, deeply unsettling answer to 1983's "The Day After" on ABC. Also during the month, WTBS and Turner's Cable News Network will show a British-made documentary on the ecological impact of nuclear war, with a round-table discussion. In all, Turner will be devoting nearly 13 hours of television time this month to the nuclear war issue.
Like "The Day After," the story of "Threads" is a personal one, centering on the devastation to two Sheffield families-the working-class Kemps and the middle-class Becketts. They are watched from a month before Sheffield is devastated and followed for 13 years. Unlike ABC's overly sentimental portrayal, however, "Threads" is much more docudrama than movie. It is laced with facts about the impact of nuclear war, including some that were not known when ABC was preparing its movie.