The Wednesday Play: Season 1, Episode 72

Cathy Come Home (28 Mar. 1969)

TV Episode  |   |  Drama
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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)


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Title: Cathy Come Home (28 Mar 1969)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Carol White ...
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
Barry Jackson ...
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?


The TV play was so realistic that for years after it was broadcast, actress Carol White (who played Cathy) would be stopped in the street by passers-by who would press money into her hand, unable to believe that she wasn't actually homeless. See more »


References Lassie Come Home (1943) See more »

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User Reviews

"Revering, unsentimental and life-affirming..."
1 August 2013 | by (Norway) – See all my reviews

English screenwriter and director Ken Loach's television play which he co-wrote with English screenwriter Jeremy Sandford (1930-2003), is partly inspired by real events. It premiered on BBC in 1966, was shot on locations in England and is an English production which was produced by English film and television producer Tony Garnett. It tells the story about a woman named Cathy Ward and a man named Reg who decides to form a family together after he has gotten himself a good job. Cathy and Reg gets married, moves into a new posh apartment in London, England and Cathy gives birth to their first child named Sean, but then Reg has an accident at his job and is put on sickness benefit. As Cathy starts looking for a place for them to live she learns that being a family has no advantages on the housing market and all though Reg is on the road to recovery, their promising family life turns into an ongoing strive to get themselves a new home in a society where thousands of people are on waiting lists to find a place to live, and a matter of survival.

Distinctly and engagingly directed by European filmmaker Ken Loach, this finely paced and somewhat fictional tale which is narrated by the female protagonist and mostly from hers and the male protagonist's viewpoints, draws a dense and unflinchingly heartrending portrayal of a married couple from the working-class who as they welcome more lives into their family becomes one of the many people of England who has to endure life in unjustifiable living conditions. While notable for its distinct and naturalistic milieu depictions and fine black-and-white cinematography by English cinematographer Tony Imi (1937-2010), this narrative-driven and monologue-driven story about homelessness and social conditions depicts two humane studies of character about a father who goes from one job to another to support his family, a decent and caring mother who raises her children and moves from one place to another with her spouse and how these two kindred spirits are separated by the circumstances they are faced with, contains a timely score.

This political, conversational, at times humorous and sociological documentary drama from the late 1960s which is set in England in the early 1960s and where two English citizens who after having established themselves as a family in Great Britain in the mid-20th century becomes, as one of the narrator's so eloquently puts it, casualties of the welfare state, is impelled and reinforced by its cogent narrative structure, substantial character development, efficient continuity, multiple viewpoints and voice-over narrations, gracious characters and the involving acting performances by English actress Carol White (1943-1991) and English actor Ray Brooks. A revering, unsentimental and life-affirming drama which nearly half a century ago was and still is an important acknowledgment of those many ordinary people from various parts of society who unwillingly are degraded to vagrants and where the fragments of fiction is brought to insignificance by the prominent authenticity which Ken Loach consistently maintains in his films.

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