Twenty-five years after the biggest riot in British penal history, this film brings together the ringleaders of the trouble with the prison guards they battled with over three weeks of anarchy that brought Strangeways to its knees.
For the first time, these events are told through unparalleled access to the people at the heart of the riot, including the governor Brendan O'Friel who was faced with the task of trying to regain control of his prison.
Former prisoners describe the explosion of violence that erupted on April 1st 1990, when 1,600 angry inmates escaped from their cells and ran amok through the prison. Many were seeking revenge and reform for what they saw as years of suffering under an archaic and sometimes brutal regime in the overcrowded Victorian prison.
In the bloody mayhem that followed, prison officers describe fearing for their lives as they were driven out of the building, leaving prisoners to settle scores and hunt down sex offenders, showing no mercy whilst the prison burned around them.
Candid testimony from ex-inmates, prison officers and the governor himself creates a compelling story of the struggle for power between the authorities and the hardcore prisoners who ultimately took their protest onto the prison roof. The stand-off that followed is documented until the final moments, when the siege was ended in a dramatic take-down in front of rolling news cameras.