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Cathy's Not Come Home

Desirability of Filming in Scotland

It would make sense in many ways to shoot much of, or even all, our film in Scotland. Always with the proviso though that this is a film about homelessness in Britain as a whole. It would be as wrong for viewers to conclude that it only concerns Scotland as it would be for them to conclude it only concerns Wales or the South East of England.

We can certainly use Scottish townscapes and interiors to represent English townscapes and interiors. But some of it - maybe at least half - must appear to be in England.

In the parts of the film where our protagonist is living in squats or a bus, for instance. It's often said by people living in these sort of 'homes' in England that 'Things are better in Scotland' and people set off there full of hope that they may solve their problems there.

To a degree their hopes are justified. The law is kinder to squatters in Scotland. There are remote cottages which have been squatted by people I know with the friendship and connaisance of the local people, and much squatting in the big towns and, just as in England, many fine homes lying empty.

Scottish local authorities do not have a mandatory duty to provide sites for travellers and equally do not have the designation powers to move people on now possessed by many British local authorities.

Scotland leads the rest of the country in some respects in their provision for Travellers. For example, the first ever official site for non-Traditional travellers (the 'Homeless Hippies') is now said to be under construction outside Glasgow.

I am told there is no offence of trespass in Scotland, although nowadays an offence of 'illegal encampment' seems to have been unearthed.

By and large, things are probably as hard for travellers, squatters, and homeless people in general in Scotland as they are in England and Wales. It is a poignant irony that homeless people in Scotland tell each other that things are easier the other side of the border (and many do in fact export themselves and their problems) in the same way that English people do the reverse.

The 'toleration policy' which is urged on local authorities does not have an equivalent in England and Wales and is argued by some to produce a happier relationship with travellers.

However, fewer Scottish local authorities have produced official sites for travellers than have English ones.

Could the new 'Cathy' be a Scottish country girl who finds herself homeless in the heartless cities, especially cities further South?

This would need talking through. The original Cathy was a country girl who came to town, it was never specified from where.

However we might lose audience involvement in England if she appeared too specifically Scottish.

The film must stand for Britain and for the Odessy followed by a typical British person who visits a number of parts of Britain, as a result of being homeless. She may well of course encounter plenty of Scottish families who have ended up homeless in the hotels or boarding houses of England.

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