A man with learning difficulties suffers neglect and ill-treatment, and this is only exasperated when his parents die and nobody seems to know what to do with him.

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(dramatisation), (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Sarah - Walter's mother
Arthur Whybrow ...
Walter's father
Tony Melody ...
Mr. Hingley
...
Mr. Richards
Linda Polan ...
Miss Rushden
...
Mike - Stockroom
Lesley Clare O'Neill ...
Jean - Stockroom
Paula Tilbrook ...
Mrs. Ashby
Marjorie Yates ...
Social Worker
...
Joseph - Orderly
Kenny Ireland ...
Angus - Orderly
Don McKillop ...
Mr. Lipman (as Donald McKillop)
Nabil Shaban ...
Ben Gunn
...
Harold
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Storyline

A man with learning difficulties suffers neglect and ill-treatment, and this is only exasperated when his parents die and nobody seems to know what to do with him.

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Drama

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Release Date:

July 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Loving Walter  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shown on the opening night of Channel 4 in the United Kingdom in 1982. It brought a storm or protest however from many of the large first night audience who had expected lighter fare. See more »

Connections

Followed by Walter & June (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

 
It's Grim Up North At Channel 4
11 November 2012 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

It's difficult to believe for a younger generation but once upon a time in Britain we only had three television channels: BBC One , BBC Two and ITV . BBC Two was a station people rarely watched since it confined itself to documentaries and current affairs and one year - 1979 - ITV went on strike for several months . Having a fourth television station was a major event in Britain . Well it was for those who could receive it because some of the country couldn't which as fate decreeded included the Island of Bute . It was a frustrating thing for me and my local peers having to read a television listing page in the newspaper wondering what television shows we'd be missing on this mythical channel and one thing I did notice was that C4 would broadcast a film almost every night . When we finally did get receive channel 4 in May 1985 the realisation was that we weren't missing too much and perhaps this was summed up by the " films " they showed which weren't actually films per se but overproduced teleplays shot on film

WALTER was the very first " film " shown on Channel 4 in 1982 and it personifies what I'm talking about . It's very similar to what the BBC'S PLAY FOR TODAY was producing at the same time which a feature length kitchen sink drama with much social relevance with not much in the way of a feel good factor . Interestingly enough when PFT disappeared a couple of years later Channel 4 started investing in the British film industry and within a short period of time channel 4 films such as MY BEAUTIFUL LANDRETTE started getting the odd Oscar nomination then with the likes of THE CRYING GAME there'd be a sackful of nominations and awards and even then who'd have thought a Film4 production like SLUMDOG MILLIONIRE would dominate both the box office and the Oscars ? It says a lot when you make a film with a feel good factor

This is the problem with WALTER , it's devoid of any sort of feelgood factor and centres around a young retarded man the eponymous Walter who destiny has decided must suffer a rotten life . Not only born with learning difficulties he's born in to that type of nihilistic Northern England that only seems to exists in this type of story . His father has just died , he works in a factory populated by bullies , his mother hates him and his only friends are the pigeons he keeps . Yes that's right , a gritty true life tale featuring Northerners is never complete without an indigneous protagonist keeping either birds or whippets. One can't help understanding that when it was broadcast it received a large number of complaints and one empathizes with the stereotypical portrayal of the Northern English

Along with it being the first film shown on Channel 4 WALTER should be remembered as something of a breakthrough role for Ian Mckellan who had been an actor for many years before this and one who Joe Public would have a serious problem putting a name to the face . It's a power house performance and one wonders if WALTER had been a truly cinematic film how rewarded his performance would have been ? As it stood his next substantial role would be in Michael Mann's THE KEEP which flopped at the cinema and you're left scratching your head wondering what an actor has to do to get noticed by the public


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