The Wednesday Play (1964–1970)
1 user 1 critic

Up the Junction 

Fragments of the life of three working-class women, and the people around them, in South London in the 1960s. Scenes in homes, streets, pubs, prison and their workplace cover family, friendship, romance, sex, and abortion.


(as Kenneth Loach)




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Geraldine Sherman ...
Vickery Turner ...
Tony Selby ...
Michael Standing ...
Ray Barron ...
Rita Webb ...
Hilda Barry ...
Jessie Robins ...
The Norton York Trio ...
Band at the dance
Pauline Halford ...
Veronica, at the dance
Elizabeth Valentine ...
Linda, at the dance
Ronald Alexander ...
Boy, at the dance
Sheila Grant ...
Sheila, in the factory
Winifred Dennis ...
Old Woman, in the factory


From the BBC's 'Wednesday Play' series, this play was the first to seriously tackle the issue of abortion. It paints a realistic portrait of working class Londoners at work and play, but has a potent political agenda. Written by D.Giddings <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

abortion | See All (1) »







Release Date:

3 November 1965 (UK)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Michael Standing and Lilli Robins would also turn up in the feature film version as well. See more »


Remade as Up the Junction (1968) See more »


Sugar and Spice
Written by Tony Hatch (as Fred Nightingale)
Sung by The Searchers
See more »

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User Reviews

A very bold and experimental TV drama
19 July 2011 | by (Edinburgh, Scotland, UK) – See all my reviews

When Ken Loach made this play he made it as you would a film not a traditional TV drama. The key difference was that television plays had hitherto been three-act, studio-based affairs with very few edits. Up the Junction was completely different from all of this. For a start it really had no beginning or end, just a middle section. It wasn't so much a story as a snap-shot of the lives of various people. Its narrative was made up primarily of montage material of snippets of everyday life. It often seemed documentary in its realness; it sometimes incorporated voice-overs giving various point-of-views of a variety of characters, some of which do not feature in the story. From an artistic standpoint there is no doubt that Up the Junction was pushing the boundaries of what drama could be (TV or otherwise). Loach achieved this by going against the grain in terms of accepted methods for producing TV drama. He filmed loads of material in a guerrilla style, with no focus on traditional shot-making; even sometimes filming people when the shot was over to get a handle on elusive reality. He then achieved the end result by editing all of this – sometimes random – material together to create a whole. The dialogue too is never structured; it's overlapping and inarticulate in a realistic way, while the cast had no known actors which added to the move away from traditional theatrical drama. The result is a very life-like representation of people.

It courted some controversy with its harsh depiction of an abortion and its lack of any moralising about it. It also must've met with some bafflement with viewers at the time in a general sense too. Even now Up the Junction remains an experimental bit of drama. It isn't very easy to keep track with everything that is going on seeing as it is thrown at you fast, loud and in an often jarringly unconnected way. While I have a great deal of respect for the revolutionary technique and think it does achieve a certain mood and feeling, I can't say I exactly enjoyed the film very much. Its montage heavy structure was hard to keep up with. Nevertheless, it is certainly an example of a very bold drama and for that deserves some respect.

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