Play for Today (1970–1984)
9.0/10
86
7 user 2 critic

Edna, the Inebriate Woman 

Edna is a drunk, and a homeless one. The play follows her through the streets, the police station, the psychiatric ward and a hostel, which for a while looks like it may become somewhere she can stay.

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Patricia Hayes ...
Edna
...
Josie, of 'Jesus Saves'
Geraldine Sherman ...
Trudi, Inmate at 'Jesus Saves'
Cheryl Hall ...
Vangi, Inmate at 'Jesus Saves'
Kate Williams ...
Teresa, Inmate at 'Jesus Saves'
Peggy Aitchison ...
Lil, Inmate at 'Jesus Saves'
Freda Dowie ...
Mother Superior, Helper at 'Jesus Saves'
...
Victor, Helper at 'Jesus Saves'
John Trigger ...
Walter Sparrow ...
Common Lodging House Proprietor
June Watson ...
Attendant, at The Spike
Denis Carey ...
Doctor, at The Spike
Jerry Verno ...
Old Man, at The Spike
Rex Rashley ...
Old Man, at The Spike
Amelia Bayntun ...
Jessie, a Tramp
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Edna is a drunk, and a homeless one. The play follows her through the streets, the police station, the psychiatric ward and a hostel, which for a while looks like it may become somewhere she can stay.

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Comedy | Drama

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21 October 1971 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
A crime to be without a home
19 January 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Ted Kotcheff's (1971) TV film of Jeremy Sandford's screenplay was first aired on BBC Television in their 'Play for Today' series. Set during the 60's in a variety of doss-houses and other temporary lodgings it highlights the plight of the homeless at a time in British history when it was simply illegal (i.e. an arrestable, criminal office) to be without a home.

Like Jeremy Sandford's other tour de force 'Cathy Come Home' aired by the BBC during 1966 in their series 'The Wednesday Play', this film charts the progressive deterioration of homeless alcoholic Edna (Patricia Hayes).

A sullen and haunting portrayal of a rootless existence relieved only by the temporary oblivion brought about by the slow and self-destructive effect of alcohol, 'Edna' shows us a quite unimaginable level of despair and confusion.

As a teenager, working with homeless people in Oxford, I was fortunate in obtaining a print of this film to show to school groups whose teachers had shown an interest in the work that was being done to reach out to people like Edna who found themselves criminalised for little more than their obvious personal misfortune.

Without a screenplay like this and the telling characterisation by Patricia Hayes, I cannot think how you could possibly begin to explain to schoolchildren the reality that lies behind the beguiling and romantic notion of the tramp.

This television film stands alongside Orwell's 'Down and Out in Paris and London' and 'The Road to Wigan Pier' in its ability to involve us in the everyday human tragedy it portrays.


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