The Wednesday Play: Season 1, Episode 72

Cathy Come Home (28 Mar. 1969)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama
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Reviews: 11 user | 9 critic

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 »


Followed by Poor Cow (1967) See more »

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User Reviews

Propagandist? Maybe, But It Made A Point.
12 May 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The review entitled "Ken Loach: the Leni Riefenstahl of the left" had me spitting nails when I read it. I have only just watched Cathy Come Home for the first time, although I have seen a number of Ken Loach's other films in the past. I find it shocking that someone could suggest that "If children weren't so inclined to be noisy and messy and unpredictable and demanding and expensive then the issue wouldn't be as serious". So, if children weren't, y'know, CHILDREN, and were robotic, and didn't require things like food, clothes and shelter, that the problem of homelessness would magically disappear? Also, the contraceptive pill was approved by the Family Planning Association in 1962, and considering the ages of Cathy's children and the time-scale of the show, it'd still have been in its very early stages and not as widely available, especially when people could barely afford to keep a roof over their heads. Yes, the film might be a little heavy-handed, but if it weren't for 'archetypal social propaganda', who would take notice? Would we all be sitting around under a Conservative government who don't particularly care for anyone but England's upper middle classes, waiting for a change that would never happen? Yes, homelessness is still an issue, but at its time of release, there was far less being done about it, and the prospect of families being separated was one faced by all those who lived in slum-housing. Which, after the film's release, was abolished. It's small minded attitudes people such as this who think that because they watch a film, and notice that there are still homeless people, that they can complain about people having children and the fact that Shelter did not build a home for absolutely everyone who needs one. I can only imagine that Australia is quite similar to working class 1960s London, otherwise how would you know so much?

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