Tom, a sensitive Liverpool student ,takes a job on a loading dock in a Lancashire factory town. He's smitten with a girl named Lena who works in a machine shop next door, and takes her out ... See full summary »

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(as William T. Kotcheff)

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
...
Lena
...
Tom
...
Glyn
Jeanne Hepple ...
Peggy
...
Ted
Patrick O'Connell ...
Derek
Keith Smith ...
Charlie
Clifford Elkin ...
Jean-Louis
Margery Withers ...
Derek's mother
Betty Romaine ...
Forewoman
Kathleen Heath ...
1st Woman
Edna Doré ...
2nd Woman
Shirley Teague ...
Student
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Carlos Douglas
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Storyline

Tom, a sensitive Liverpool student ,takes a job on a loading dock in a Lancashire factory town. He's smitten with a girl named Lena who works in a machine shop next door, and takes her out despite a bullying driver claiming her for himself. Written by WesternOne

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Drama

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Release Date:

25 September 1960 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Featured in TV Heaven: TV Heaven 1960 (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An early example of working-class realism on TV
19 July 2011 | by (Edinburgh, Scotland, UK) – See all my reviews

Lena, O My Lena is an example of a working-class realist play. It is set primarily in the loading bay between two factories – a grocery warehouse where men work and a bottle-washing factory where women work. Tom, a young English literature student turns up one day looking for summer work. He has decided that he does not want to hang out with his fellow students and wishes instead to work with 'the people' for a change. He quickly forms an attachment to one of the women Lena but her truck driving boyfriend Glyn poses something of a problem.

The play looks at the class divide. Tom is effectively slumming it with the workers and tries to cultivate a back-story where he is one of them. His flirtation with Lena, however, crystallises his failure to understand the differences between the classes. He cluelessly takes her advances at face value and ends up humiliated when she ultimately rejects him; he understands too late that the whole thing has been a bit of fun for Lena. He, on the other hand, developed a romanticised image of her that betrayed his literary leanings. He ultimately returns to 'his kind' of people at the end, tail between his legs. The play clearly fits into the British new wave that was occurring at the time in cinema, theatre and novels as well as TV. Much in keeping with this movement the characterisations here are definitely quite rounded and believable for the time. The emphasis on regional stories and working class people in particular was very much in line with the British new wave.

The production is an important one in the development of TV drama. It's sometimes very raw technically – I don't know how many times I saw the shadow of the cameraman and boom mic – but the importance ultimately is in the writing and it does have a working-class sensibility that was new for the time.

Footnote: Somewhat surprisingly, the director, Ted Kotcheff, went on to direct the Rambo movie First Blood in the 80's.


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