This week marks the 50th anniversary of Cathy Come Home. Cathy Come Home let everybody off the hook. It didn’t put the boot in where it should have done. Earlier this year I wrote a piece for the PCS Union explaining why I believe this.
The Wednesday Play
Winner: Italia Prize for Television 1968
Cathy and Reg fall on hard times when Reg is injured at work. They begin a slide into poverty, debt and homelessness, until the authorities forcibly take Cathy’s children away…
“A programme to remember” – OBSERVER
“Few can have watched … without being deeply moved” – TIMES
“Dynamite … a magnificent piece of observant, sparse writing, direction, and production” – DAILY MIRROR
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.
Sunday Telegraph 08/01/67
STOP MIXING TV FACT AND FICTION
by Grace Wyndham Goldie
ON Wednesday the B.B.C. Is going to repeat Jeremy Sand-ford’s tear-jerker “ Cathy Come Home,” about the plight of those who cannot find anywhere to live. This is a disturbing decision. As a once-for-all experiment in television dramatic presentation it was all right. Most of those who had reservations about its validity, and I was one of them, considered it an effective piece of television. But the decision to repeat it indicates that it may be an early example of n new and dangerous trend in television drama. read more…
The Observer: Sunday September 26, 1999
The release of the video of the Sixties TV drama about homelessness has been halted after accusations by the writer that the deal betrays those involved, Vanessa Thorpe reports
The much-heralded video release of Cathy Come Home , the BBC’s ground-breaking 1966 TV drama about homelessness, has been cancelled. The decision to pull the film at the last minute follows a row that has split the writer, Jeremy Sandford, and the director, Ken Loach, and has upset the family of the late Carol White, the actress who played the single mother at the centre of the story.
Article by Derek Paget (Circa February 2000)
When, back in 1971, the original Theatre Quarterly devoted one of its earliest issues (TQ6, 1972) to television drama, the strongest reactions were to remarks by Tony Garnett concerning the recently developed form already being dubbed documentary drama. Subsequent issues featured both an attack on the form from Paul Ableman, and a vigorous defence from its leading practitioner, Jeremy Sandford, author of the seminal Cathy Come Home (1966). As this article bears witness, the debate still rages, and here its leading historian, Derek Paget — author of True Stories: Documentary Drama on Radio, Stage, and Television (Manchester University Press, 1990) — explores some of the ways in which myth has contributed as much as analysis to the argument. He goes back to contemporary documentation to explore the nature of the BBC’s own sometimes timorous attitude to the creature it had spawned, its context within the developing aesthetics and technology of television drama, the reactions of politicians and local government agencies — and the way in which repeat transmissions were (and were not) hedged about with paranoia. read more…