…This is my 60th film, the majority for ITV and including those made for the cinema. Filmed on five potential frontlines across Asia and the Pacific during almost two years, the story is told in chapters that connect a secret and ‘forgotten’ past to the rapacious actions of great power today and to an inspiring popular resistance, of which little is known in the West.
Chapter one, ‘The secret of the Marshall Islands’, describes a secret programme – Project 4.1 – that turned these Pacific islanders into guinea pigs for the development of nuclear weapons. Once known as the Last Paradise, the Marshalls and their indigenous people were subjected to the equivalent of a Hiroshima bomb exploded every day for twelve years.
Of all the places of upheaval I have reported from, I have not experienced anything quite like Bikini atoll. In the emerald lagoon where the US exploded a hydrogen bomb called Bravo in 1954, there is a vast black hole, a void in which an entire island was vaporised. Bikini’s people have never returned. The food is unsafe to eat and the water unsafe to drink. There are no birds and no natural sounds. Our shoes registered ‘leave now’ on a Geiger counter. The US Department of Energy comes regularly to measure its mutations; there is a radioactive market garden and palms planted in surreal grid formation. The experiment never ends…