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The Warp

Voice Overs

As we moved into the editing phase, I began to assemble the recordings I’d made with ‘real people’ to be used as voice overs, and it was these, a unique facet of ‘Cathy’, which were later to give the film a veracity and quality which I think made it different to any other.

One sort of voice overs are those in which Cathy herself tells us her story. Then, for when she and Reg move into the slum dwellings at Popham Buildings, I recorded the voices of people who lived there. For when Cathy moves onto the caravan site, we used recordings which had already been transmitted in a Home Service documentary I’d created called ‘Living on Wheels’, topped up with some that I did on the site where we actually filmed.

For the slum house sequence in Birmingham, I travelled there, after we had finished shooting, and recorded people talking about their homes and housing.

And, once Cathy arrived at the home for the homeless, Newington Lodge, we used voice overs from the Home Service programme ‘Homeless Families’ that I had made with Heather Sutton.

All these voices chipping in gave a very dense texture to ‘Cathy’ and to these we added the voices of various professionals involved in the tragedy of homelessness; my friend Audrey Harvey who worked in a Citizens Advice Bureau and whose Fabian pamphlet ‘Casualties of the Welfare State’ was one of the sources for the story of Cathy; a businessman explaining from his point of view the rationale behind one of the evictions; and an angry official voice reeling off the number of people waiting on housing lists in various big cities.


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