Elland bomb survivor's play to be broadcast on BBC radio

Elland bomb survivor's play to be broadcast on BBC radio. Picture: ChrisTaylorPhotography.com
Elland bomb survivor's play to be broadcast on BBC radio. Picture: ChrisTaylorPhotography.com

An Elland man who survived a bomb explosion 20 years ago will have a play he has written about the events broadcast on Radio 4 Extra next week.

Jonathan Cash was injured in the 1999 bombing of the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho, London after waiting to meet a couple of friends there for a drink.

The bomb was the third in a series intended to stir up ethnic and homophobic tension.

The bomb exploded around five feet away from Jonathan in the pub.

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He said: "Unlike in Hollywood films, there wasn't any screaming or panic. It was silent. I saw shapes whizzing past me and I didn't know where the exit or daylight were. I saw a figure of a man walking past me and I grabbed onto the back of his jeans but fell to the floor.

"I decided to follow him and crawled, on my hands and knees, over rubble, debris and goodness knows what, just hoping I was going the right way.

"The next thing I knew, I was on my hands and knees in front of a shop window. I stared at my reflection, unable to recognise myself. My hair was thick with yellow dirt and my clothes were torn. I noticed I had left a trail of blood behind me but I wasn't aware of any injuries."

After making his way over to another bar, Jonathan was found by his two friends who took him to A&E.

Three people died as a result of the blast and many were seriously hurt. Jonathan received injuries to his back and shoulder, and burns to his face and legs.

Jonathan continued: "My friends took me home in a taxi and when I arrived, there were over a dozen messages on my answerphone. I phoned everyone who had called, my friends looked after me and throughout the night til daylight, more friends arrived with food and drink, offering their support.

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"I thought I would run a bath to get rid of the smell of burning but I couldn't do it. Every time I put my head under water I just smelled burning and death. My friend ended up washing my hair over the sink and made sure that I got rid of all the sulphurous dust from my hair and body.

"My shoes and jeans were in tatters and I spent the next few hours until morning, crying and talking about it with my amazing friends.

"One friend produced a bottle of Champagne, which, he said, he was keeping for a special occasion. I asked what the special occasion was. He said, 'You're alive.'"

He said: “Several years later, I did a Master's degree in Dramatic Writing at Sussex Uni and I developed a play called The First Domino about right-wing beliefs and terrorism. It was performed at Brighton Fringe Festival in 2009 and won the Best Theatrical Performance Award that year.

"A while later, I rewrote it for broadcast on Radio 4 and the production, starring Hollywood actor Toby Jones, was nominated for the BBC Best Audio Drama Award 2012."

As part of the 20th anniversary commemorations of the bombing, the BBC will broadcast The First Domino on Radio 4 Extra on Thursday, May 2 at 9pm.

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