Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/427/5013

From The Socialist newspaper, 16 February 2006

40 years after 'Cathy Come Home':

The housing scandal

JEREMY SANDFORD'S drama, Cathy Come Home, about a young family who slide into homelessness and poverty was a defining moment in 1960s television, demonstrating how far drama could influence the political agenda.

Karl Cross, Leicester

BBC1 screened it in 1966, within the regular Wednesday Play slot, as a 'drama-documentary' concerning homelessness and its effect upon families, directed by Ken Loach. It has subsequently been released on DVD.

The success of Cathy Come Home established Loach as a politically committed filmmaker standing apart from the commercial mainstream. Only a few years after Harold Macmillan pompously declared to the British nation: "You've never had it so good", Loach chokes the government by ramming these words down its throat.

While the nation was basking in the glory of England's 1966 World Cup success, 4,000 kids were being separated from their families and bundled into care because their parents were homeless.

The play follows young lovers Cathy and Reg from the optimism of their early married days through a spiral of misfortune that follows Reg's accident at work, leading to eviction and separation.

The film culminates in what remains one of television's most memorable scenes - a hysterical Cathy has her children forcibly taken away by Social Services.

The controversy generated by Cathy Come Home led to public outrage at the state of housing in Britain. Its impact was unprecedented, eliciting widespread censure and enquiries in the Houses of Parliament.

In the same month it was broadcast, the housing charity Shelter was launched.

The programme has become a British TV classic, regularly referred to by critics and researchers as well as by programme-makers themselves. This is partly due to the quality of the script, direction and acting, but also the way the film mixed dramatic with documentary material and showed the power of television in highlighting social problems.

It just goes to show that for tens of thousands, the 1960s were a distant cry from sex, drugs and rock'n'roll.


Related links:

Housing:

triangleWe need socialists in London's City Hall

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: Socialist answers to the housing crisis

triangleClimate change election debate

triangleUnite housing branch supports stand of Enfield councillor

triangleEast London Socialist Party: Election 2019 - fighting for housing for all

Council:

triangleStop gentrification in Newham: "We are here, you have consulted us and we're not going anywhere!"

triangleHackney school bus workers win pay increase following strikes

triangleCouncil concedes to striking winter gritters' demands

triangleAvenue of trees saved!

Homeless:

triangleThem & Us

triangleTory on homeless: "tear down these tents"

triangleDeath in a doorway: struggle can end homelessness

Leicester:

triangleLeicester Socialist Party: Stand firm for socialist policies

triangleSelling the Socialist

US:

triangleThem & Us

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

15/1/20

Young people

Young people who voted for Corbyn's manifesto will now ask... How can we win those ideas?

15/1/20

Scotland

Massive Scottish independence demo marks new stage in struggle

15/1/20

London

London: Protesters return to oppose Middle East war

15/1/20

Government

Cladding scandal: Government steps up defence of landlords

15/1/20

Nottingham

Nottingham: Youth protest against Barclays 64 million fossil-fuel investments

15/1/20

Strike

Westex Carpet strike reaches two month mark

15/1/20

Newham

Stop gentrification in Newham: "We are here, you have consulted us and we're not going anywhere!"

15/1/20

Socialist Party

Socialist Party national committee meeting

15/1/20

Hackney

Hackney school bus workers win pay increase following strikes

15/1/20

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland: Thousands of nurses continue to strike for better pay

15/1/20

Buses

London bus drivers ballot to strike

15/1/20

PCS

PCS: Time to rebuild the left

15/1/20

Union

Union lawyer arrested on security guards' picket line

9/1/20

Unison

Unison national executive members challenge validity of nomination for Keir Starmer for leader of the Labour Party

8/1/20

Unions

Build union resistance to Tory attacks

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999