From the BBC's influential 'Wednesday Play' series. This tells the bleak tale of Cathy, who loses her home, husband and eventually her child through the inflexibility of the British welfare... See full summary »


(as Kenneth Loach)


(story), (screenplay)


Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Ray Brooks ...
Reg Ward
Winifred Dennis ...
Mrs. Ward
Wally Patch ...
Adrienne Frame ...
Emmett Hennessy ...
Alec Coleman ...
Wedding Guest
Property Agent
Gabrielle Hamilton ...
Welfare Officer
Phyllis Hickson ...
Mrs. Alley
Frank Veasey ...
Mr. Hodge
Rent Collector
James Benton ...
Man at Eviction
Ruth Kettlewell ...
John Baddeley ...
Housing Officer


From the BBC's influential 'Wednesday Play' series. This tells the bleak tale of Cathy, who loses her home, husband and eventually her child through the inflexibility of the British welfare system. A grim picture is painted of mid-sixties London, and though realistic the viewer cannot but realise that a political point is being made. One of the consequences of this film was the enormous public support for the housing charity 'Shelter', whose public launch came shortly after the programme was first shown. Written by D.Giddings <>

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Release Date:

28 March 1969 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


At an anniversary screening of 'Cathy Come Home', Ken Loach spoke of how the play had become an important part in making the debate on homelessness public. At the same event his producer, Tony Garnett, pointed out that the number of homeless in Britain had more than doubled "but Ken (Loach) and I now live in much more expensive houses." See more »


Cathy Ward: You don't care. You only pretend to care.
See more »


Referenced in Forever Ealing (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

Heart-wrenching stuff
23 August 2005 | by (Cheltenham, England) – See all my reviews

Firstly can I please put the record straight - this is NOT a movie, but a TV drama made by the BBC in 1966.

Carol White plays "Cathy", the mother, Ray Brooks the father. Through circumstances they find themselves destitute with nowhere to live.

Carol White's performance was absolutely without parallel, and I defy anyone who is a parent, to remain dry-eyed when the Social Welfare people find her seated on a bench with her children in a London railway station. The children are wrenched out of their mother's arms, the children screaming for their mother, and "Cathy" hysterical with emotion, trying to prevent their removal. How could we ever have lived with such a barbaric system? This drama served as a landmark in Social Services methods within the UK, and Carol White's superb portrayal will forever be regarded as instrumental in bringing about change.

I would like to be able to report that such things no longer happen in the UK, but I cannot. Perhaps in not such a heart-wrenching way, children are still removed from their families on the pretext of "child welfare" priorities. Priorities that are distorted by the setting of Government adoption targets - so just who is helping who here?

This is not family viewing, but is an important historical account of a time that none of us should be proud.

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