It was late at night one evening in 1968. Shaun Sutton, Head of Drama at BBCTV, had asked me to give a televised report on how the predicament of homeless people had altered since the first transmission of ‘Cathy’ two years before and about any changes there might have been in the current housing ‘famine’.
That first transmission had been two years before. The BBC had ordered a repeat three months after the first showing and now again, two years later, because of the public controversy and uproar following the first transmission.
I had only a minute. Nonetheless it was a poignant experience. I was speaking directly to camera or, in other words, directly to millions of viewers. One minute was long enough to announce that ‘Cathy’ had effected improvement in the way homeless families were treated in local authority hostels. Husbands were no longer to be forcibly separated from their wives. Indeed, in Birmingham at least, hundreds had already been returned to be with their families in time for Christmas - an inspiring and poignant event.
The government pledged more new homes. ‘Shelter’ was founded. From a wider perspective, there was as yet no improvement whatever in the housing ‘famine’.
There was one result of ‘Cathy’ that I didn’t name ...
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