London's Burning Wiki
London's Burning: the Movie
Airdate 7 December 1986
Audience 12.5 million
Writer Jack Rosenthal
Director Les Blair
Producer Paul Knight
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London's Burning: The Movie (also known as the Pilot) was the pilot movie of London's Burning. Written by BAFTA-winning screenwriter Jack Rosenthal, it was first broadcast in the UK on ITV on 7 December 1986. Most of the cast reprised their roles when London's Burning was commissioned as a series two years later.

Movie Summary[]

While Sicknote moans about his toothache, Blue Watch are awaiting the arrival of a new crew member. To their horror, it turns out to be a woman: Josie Ingham, Blackwall's first female firefighter. Most of them are hostile. At her first shout they ignore her completely and leave her to control the crowds. Vaseline gets married for the third time, to a third woman also named Marion. The ceremony is disrupted when his ex wife Marion turns up and causes a scene.

Blue Watch are called to rescue a 'trapped' man, but to their amusement it turns out he has trapped his private parts in a curtain ring. Josie resolves the situation by suggesting he use ice to reduce his 'swelling'. The incident breaks the ice with the male crew members and they start to warm to her. They try to come up with a nickname for her, but none of them seem to stick. The watch are called to a house fire and rescue three children trapped in a burning house, but one of them is already dead. Bayleaf angrily rants at the mother when he realises she had left the children alone in the house to go to a disco.

Ethnic is promoted to Leading Fireman at Archway, so Blue Watch plans a surprise leaving dinner for him. The day before his last shift, he takes a day off. Two policemen are patrolling Ethnic's estate when they are attacked by rioters.

As cars are firebombed, the watch arrives and they quickly find themselves under attack. Despite being told to stay together by Tate, Charisma is separated from the rest of the watch and is attacked by a group of rioters. Although off duty, Ethnic decides that he can't just stand there and watch, so he rushes to Charisma's defence and fights off his attackers. He is labelled a "traitor" by one of the rioters, and a concrete slab is thrown at him from a balcony, striking his head and killing him. Charisma returns to find his dead body.

The next day, the watch silently eat what was to have been Ethnic's surprise leaving dinner. Charisma starts to cry but he holds back his tears as the watch is called to roll call.

There were several "shouts" in this movie, one to garages alight one to a shed fire, and the main one was a street disturbance where the pump was also destroyed.


  • Second policeman - Ralph Brown
  • Video shop proprietor - Steven O'Donnell
  • Man at fire - Norman Warwick
  • Man's wife - Brenda Cowling
  • Mr Grant - Robert East
  • Old lady - Betty Romaine
  • Mrs Lane - Jean Leppard
  • Man with TV - Bill Spencer
  • Pusher - Winston Crooke
  • Policeman - Steve Emerson
  • Registrar - Richard Cordery
  • Doctor - John Joyce
  • First Detective - Clive Shilson
  • Second Detective - Gary Webster
  • Young woman - Marsha Millar
  • Operator - Gavin Brown
  • Neighbour - Reginald Stewart
  • Child at fire - Sammy Blair
  • Child at fire - Joe Blair
  • Mother at fire - Eve Bland
  • Teacher - Leon Davis
  • Dominic - P.J. Nicolas
  • Woman at phone box - Jelena Budimir
  • Man at phone box - Leon Silver
  • Bank teller - Kit Jackson
  • Commander Petrie - A.J. Clark
  • Jean Quigley - Joanne Zorian
  • Snooker referee - Rory O'Connor
  • Club official - George Sweeney


  • Jerome Flynn plays Kenny 'Rambo' Baines. Rambo is the only surviving member of Blue Watch who did not return for the first series, as Flynn was not available.
  • London's Burning: the Movie was nominated for three BAFTAs (Single Drama, Film Sound, Film Editor).
  • In some VHS releases, London's Burning: the Movie was part of a double bill alongside the Stunts and Stars documentary. It has been released as a standalone DVD and was also included on the Series 1 DVD release.
  • Fireman Liver Salts, who is mentioned in the movie, would make one appearance during series 1.
  • Peter McNamara would later have a recurring role in series 10 as Martin Webb.
  • A five year old Jade Goody made an uncredited appearance.
  • Jean Quigley is played by Joanne Zorian. When the series was made, Zorian was replaced by Amanda Dickinson, who retained the role thereafter.
  • Sandra Hallam is played by an uncredited actress in a brief, non-speaking appearance at a gathering of the firemen's wives. Henceforth she would be played by Kim Clifford.
  • A woman named Betty Cross, presumably Malcolm's wife, is seen with the other wives. The character was never seen or mentioned again in subsequent episodes.


First appearances[]

Blue Watch Members
Supporting characters

Last Appearances[]