Cathy Come Home


Classic play about homelessness

SKU: 93
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Producer: BBC TV
Year Produced: 1966
Running time: 70 minutes


The famous BBC play about the tribulations of Cathy and her family as they try to find somewhere to live and end by being broken up as a family unit. 70 mins. The Truth of Cathy Come Home (article)—There is a human detritus swirling around in the backwaters of the Welfare State which nobody seems able to do anything about. Society and its public servants want passionately to do something but somehow can’t. That, roughly, was the theme of the Wednesday Play, “Cathy Come Home,” directed by Kenneth Loach, produced by Tony Garnett. I know by my own observations | from the outskirts of social work in a slummy part of London that everything in the early part of the story is a hundred per cent true.

It can be argued that not many unfortunate wives are as Julie Christie-like as Carol White, or many of the husbands as Dylan Thomas-like as Ray Brooks. The most common background of families which get into real trouble nowadays has to do with crime; alcohol or disease; none of these is the problem of Cathy and Reg. The story is of two young people in love who want to express their love by having a family. They have it – three children; The father, a driver, loses his job because of an accident and the bright future in a pretty flat is suddenly sinking deeper into slumland, fleeing to a caravan site and finishing up in a hostel, where the husband is not allowed to stay with his family.

The wife says: “give me a place to live in with them and their father and they need no other care.” But the whole structure gradually crumbles and ends up with the children being “taken” into care by force, in a railway station. The mother is left weeping on a bench and we the audience wondering if she is not perhaps going to throw herself in front of a train. I have no doubt at all about its authenticity and about its containing some outstanding performances.

As this film was made in 1966 the quality is not up to modern standards. This should not diminish its impact.