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The Warp

Press Comment on ‘Cathy’ (1)

‘A searing indictment of housing conditions.’ The Times.

‘It isn’t surprising that the BBC switchboard was jammed with calls. Jeremy Sandford’s play ... was angry, humane, wholly authentic ... He shows how press and TV can bring about direct social action.’ Observer.

‘Just like a punch between the eyes.’ Liverpool Daily Post.

‘It makes “Up the Junction” look like a Sunday School treat ... I rate it in class one.’ Guardian.

‘They are just puppets strutting across the screen, poisoning the minds of the people watching.’ Alderman Frank Griffin, Birmingham City Council, in an interview in the Birmingham Post.

‘I am protesting to the BBC at this biased piece of propaganda.’ Mrs Mary Whitehouse in an interview, Birmingham Evening Mail.

‘The housing problem has been the subject of White Papers and Blue Books and investigations and enquiries ... but never before apparently has the public been stirred as it was by the dramatisation of the problem with a sympathetic heroine in “Cathy Come Home”.

‘Cathy broke down complacency and shattered the idea most people had of the homeless person as either the gambling, wasting father of an enormous family, or a smelly, meths-drinking tramp.’ The Guardian.

‘Succeeded in making people aware of the miseries of families with children who found themselves homeless, often through no fault of their own.’ The Times.

‘The passion of Jeremy Sandford’s play would be inadmissible in a documentary. In television, we have the curious paradox that its fiction is often truer than its fact.’ Quentin Crewe, The Times.

‘I have no doubt at all about its authenticity and about its containing some outstanding performances.’ Gerald Fay, The Guardian.

‘Study of any quantity of case histories confirms not only that every incident in the play has happened and is happening, but that it is far from a selective selection of misfortunes piled on one family’s head.’ Adam Fergusson, The Times.

‘It rings loud bells of truth and the whole piece works at blood heat to stir the conscience.’ James Thomas, Daily Express.

‘A brilliant piece of social reportage.’ Gerald Fay, the Listener.

‘The Wednesday Play’s most conspicuous success.’ Peter Black, the Daily Mail.

‘More mincemeat of the flip obscurantists who see contemporary drama only in terms of oblique dialogue, anti-plots, op-art trappings, and way-out protagonists.’ Morning Star.

‘Sandford must be one of the few men to have escaped from Eton with a social conscience.’ Henrey Fielding, The Sun.

‘A heart cry about Britain’s housing deficiencies, officialdom, and the penalty society imposes on couples with children looking for a home.’ Kenneth Eastough, The Daily Mirror.

‘The most important piece of dramatised documentary ever screened.’ Frank Norman, The Sunday Times.

‘Possibly the most successful TV play of all time.’ James Thomas, The Daily Express.

‘No one knew at the time what a timebomb “Cathy” would prove to be.’ Nancy Banks-Smith, The Guardian.

‘All congratulations on your brilliant “Cathy” ... I can confirm in detail almost all you put across. Indeed, in my opinion, you let the so-called “local authorities” off rather lightly.’ Henry Kirby, MP.

‘I believe the conscience of the nation has been jolted, by a television play, “Cathy Come Home”.’ Frank Allaun, MP in the House of Commons, 15 Dec 1966.


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