“We need drama people believe in”

STEWART LANE talks to Tony Garnett, the producer of tonight’s B.B.C.- 1 play. (1966)

TONY GARNETT, producer of “Cathy Come Home”, tonight’s play on BBC 1 began his career as an actor, appearing in several television plays.

In 1964 he joined the B.B.C. as a script editor, assisting in the work on the Wednesday play series.

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Tracking Changes – BFI Interview 2014

‘I’ve never got locked up in the idea of “art cinema”. That’s masturbation.’ Never mincing his words, producer Tony Garnett reflects back over his groundbreaking work in television and film, as a two-month celebration of his career – from Cathy Come Home to This Life – plays at BFI Southbank.

Chris Fennell
Updated: 27 January 2014

Born in a working-class suburb in Birmingham, Tony Garnett was one of the first of a generation of revolutionary TV creatives who sought to address serious social and political issues in their influential BBC dramas of the 1960s and 70s.

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‘A typical reaction was a snigger… I was making a film about the wrong kind of bird’

In the Swinging Sixties, nobody wanted to finance a gritty northern drama about a boy and his kestrel. But the makers of Kes persisted and the result was a British classic. Akin Ojumu discovers the inside story

First published in The Guardian, Sunday August 29, 1999

Tony Garnett: I had read Barry Hines’s first book, The Blinder, about a young footballer and liked it. I was producing the Wednesday play at the BBC and I asked him if he fancied doing one.

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On BBC Radio 3 ‘Free Thinking’ with Matthew Sweet

“We live our lives in a fugue state. Blissfully or painfully unaware of ourselves”

TV & Film Producer @TonyTGarnett

Broadcast 29 June 2016

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On BBC News ‘HARDtalk’ with Stephen Sackur

“When I was young and arrogant, I thought we could make a film and change the world. Well… films don’t do that.”

“My work is… I want to expose the secrets.”

TV & Film Producer @TonyTGarnett

Broadcast 03 July 2016 – WATCH THE PROGRAMME HERE

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Podcast – BBC Radio 5 Live Afternoon Edition – July 11

“Look, I know the BBC’s really short of money but not to have the travel or the weather. I mean that’s….just… your budget must be really tight! Here is the traffic and here is the weather. The traffic is heavy. What a surprise! The weather is cloudy, threatening to drizzle. A typical summer’s day.”

“That explains why you moved to America for so many years, does it?” replies Sarah.

Talking politics,

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Theatre Quarterly, Vol. II, No. 6, April-June 1972

Roger Hudson and interviews with Tony Garnett and John Gould

Television in Britain: Description and Dissent


The trouble with any attempt to criticise British television is that it really does justify the claim to be ‘the best TV service in the world’: but the best is not necessarily the best possible, and it’s time some thinking was done on the changes needed.  The following collage intersperses a brief history of television drama – what has been tried,

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Published in Wanted Now! – March 2001


Exclusive? Legendary? Come off it. You shouldn’t take the words that journalists use at face value, any more than you should take careers advice from prime-time drama. Sex on the boss’s desk. Drugs and death in the toilets.

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KICKING OVER THE TRACES – Interview with Tony Garnett

Dr M K MacMumraugh-Kavanagh, University of Reading


Beginning as a television actor in the late 1950s, capitalising upon the contemporary vogue for working-class, regional’ performers, Tony Garnett became a story editor in Sydney Newman’s revolutionary BBC Drama Group in 1964, and was swiftly promoted to the post of producer working on The Wednesday Play. His work during this period included groundbreaking dramas such as Nell Dunn’s Up the Junction (1965),

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Extracts from an Interview August 2000

The following are extracts from an interview with Tony Garnett, co-founder and Chairman of World Productions, in August 2000.

(Interviewer Unknown)

Fiction is the nearest you can get, through the imagination of a writer, to knowing what it is like to be another…


“I’m curious about what it’s like being someone else. That’s one of the things that keeps me going in this business.

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Alison Briggs meets writer Tony Garnett who, from CATHY COME HOME and KES to COPS, has forged a career out of gritty reality.


At the heart of London’s bustling Strand, a stone’s throw from the Savoy Hotel, lie the offices of World Productions. Inside, Tbny Garnett is bogged down with paperwork and telephone calls. …

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Meet the producer

Media Guardian: 28/10/2002

Cathy Come Home, Between the Lines, This Life… chances are at one time or another you have been captivated by a Tony Garnett drama. Maggie Brown talks exclusively to TVs most prolific producer

Garnett, 66, is Britain’s most influential producer. Responsible for decades of distinctive drama, from the campaigning Cathy Come Home in 1966 to the emotional intimacies of This Life in 1996, Garnett has steadfastly refused to speak to jour­nalists.

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