In the early 1960s, Mrs. Mary Whitehouse, a middle-aged school teacher, begins a campaign against what she sees as filth and smut on BBC television and radio. She and a friend start knocking on doors, circulating petitions and organizing rallies. Her nemesis during this time is Sir Hugh Carleton Greene, Director General of the BBC. He thinks she is just an old busybody who has no artistic taste and doesn't represent the mainstream of British society. Throughout his tenure, which lasted several years, he refused to see her or respond to her correspondence. She continued to campaign at what she viewed as unacceptable programming until her death in 2001. Written by
The footage of Doctor Who (1963), seen on a television screen and used to depict the violence of the series, is edited to suggest that the scene takes place at the end of the episode. In fact the scene in question takes place around halfway through Doctor Who: The Tomb of the Cybermen: Episode 4 (1967). This clip is followed by part of the opening sequence, showing the title and Patrick Troughton's face. See more »
The sign on the door of Lord Hill's office reads "Lord Charles Hill". This is incorrect as such a style implies that he was the son of a Duke or a Marquess. The sign should have read "Charles, Lord Hill", "Lord Hill of Luton" or, more likely, simply "Lord Hill". See more »
[Mary Whitehouse has just sent a supposedly obscene script to the Postmaster General who has ordered an episode of Swizzlewick which lampoons her to be pulled mid-way through its broadcast. Sir Hugh is fuming]
Sir Hugh Carleton Greene:
Who? Who? I want the traitor flushed out. I want strict controls of all scripts issued to anyone and everyone - anywhere and everywhere. Contrive some memo to that effect.
Yes, Sir Hugh.
Sir Hugh Carleton Greene:
And! And! I am issuing a directive with immediate effect. No-one connected to the Corporation is to ...
[...] See more »
Closing credits: "Mary continued to protest until her death in 2001, bringing high-profile cases against Gay News, the Sex Pistols, and The National Theatre, for blasphemy, obscenity and simulated sodomy. She also forced 'Top of the Pops' to transmit Chuck Berry's 'My Ding-A-Ling' with illustrations. These made it clear the ding-a-ling was a toy with bells, not a penis." See more »
Although Julie Walters looks a bit like Caroline Aherne as her Mrs Merton character in quite a few scenes this is quite a true and very fair portrayal of Mrs Whitehouse. Whatever you think of her prudery and her lack of humour you actually feel sympathetic to her when she gets heckled at meetings and gets abusive letters and phonecalls. It's fair to say that the permissive society had an inpermissive nature, if you get my meaning. She was also not a lady to mess with and you said unfavourable things about her at your peril. The film mentions her successful defamation actions. It's fair to say that if you were up against Mrs Whitehouse in court your chances of success were slim. The end credits mention Whitehouse v Lemon (aka The Gay News Case) which was very much on the Pythons' minds when they made The Life of Brian. To her credit she was one of the first people to campaign against child pornography but she turned herself into a figure of fun by finding fault with Dr Who and Pinky & Perky. I wondered how on earth was Pinky & Perky corruptive? Well, I suppose it was. It inspired many 60s and 70s kids to play LPs at 78rpm and I think that might have been bad for the records. Sir Hugh Carleton-Greene is not portrayed favourably. He is shown to be arrogant, smug, coarse, foul-mouthed and lecherous. I have no idea what he was like as a person so I can't judge how fair a portrayal this was. Julie Walters these days is of course best known as Molly Weasley in the Harry Potter films and I imagined a scene where Sir Hugh gets a howler from Mary Whitehouse. The letter gets delivered by owl on his desk and then shouts, in Julie Walters' voice, "Hugh Carleton-Greene, I am absolutely disgusted" and then goes on to complain about the number of bloodys in Till Death Us Do Part, Dr Who having nightmare qualities etc and what kind of example certain programmes are to the young people of the country and then goes on in the gentler "Oh and Ginny dear" voice to say "Oh and last Sunday's Songs of Praise was lovely", then blowing a raspberry and self-shredding. Mrs Whitehouse died the year the first Harry Potter film came out. It's fair to say she'd have some criticisms to make of Harry Potter.
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