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The Warp

After Cathy

‘Cathy’ became famous instantly. Life was all television and newspaper interviews. And various things happened as a result of the film. The city of Birmingham announced that they were going to discontinue their policy of separating between three and four hundred husbands a year from their families. This was one of the most important of all the results of ‘Cathy’.

A second was that, a month or so after ‘Cathy’, a government circular instructed local authorities that children must no longer be separated from their parents because of homelessness. At the time of ‘Cathy’, this was happening to thousands of children each year.

‘Shelter’, a campaign which aimed to draw public attention to the position of homeless people in Britain and provide accommodation for them, was launched. I remember Des Wilson, Shelter’s director, saying, ‘Cathy was worth half a million to us.’

Later I was told by Tony Garnett that quite strong pressure had been put on the BBC to betray the film by ‘admitting’ that it was a fabrication and that this sort of thing was not going on in Britain. It’s to the credit of three men in particular that they stood by the film: Sydney Newman, head of drama, Kenneth Adam, director of television, and Hugh Greene, director general.


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