The Wednesday Play (1964–1970)
15 user 9 critic

Cathy Come Home 

Cathy loses her home, husband and eventually her child through the inflexibility of the British welfare system.


Ken Loach (as Kenneth Loach)


Jeremy Sandford (story)




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Carol White ... Cathy
Ray Brooks ... Reg
Winifred Dennis Winifred Dennis ... Mrs. Ward
Wally Patch Wally Patch ... Grandad
Adrienne Frame Adrienne Frame ... Eileen
Emmett Hennessy Emmett Hennessy ... Johnny
Alec Coleman Alec Coleman ... Wedding Guest
Geoffrey Palmer ... Property Agent
Gabrielle Hamilton Gabrielle Hamilton ... Welfare Officer
Phyllis Hickson Phyllis Hickson ... Mrs. Alley
Frank Veasey Frank Veasey ... Mr. Hodge
Barry Jackson ... Rent Collector
James Benton James Benton ... Man at Eviction
Ruth Kettlewell Ruth Kettlewell ... Judge
John Baddeley John Baddeley ... Housing Officer


Cathy loses her home, husband and eventually her child through the inflexibility of the British welfare system. Written by D.Giddings <>

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Release Date:

28 March 1969 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The TV play was so realistic that for years after it was broadcast, actress Carol White (who played Cathy) would be stopped in the street by passers-by who would press money into her hand, unable to believe that she wasn't actually homeless. See more »


Cathy Ward: You don't care. You only pretend to care.
See more »


References Lassie Come Home (1943) See more »

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User Reviews

The TV film that established Loach as a force to be reckoned with
20 September 2017 | by davideo-2See all my reviews

STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning

Reg (Ray Brooks) and Cathy (Carol White) are young and in love, and eventually get married and have children. Reg has a good job, and all is going swimmingly, until he has an accident at work and his bosses refuse to pay him compensation. Unable to keep up with payments after the death of their landlady, they find themselves forced out of their home, and down into a never-ending spiral of increasingly unsuitable, uninhabitable temporary accommodation and bureaucracy that drives them apart and leaves Cathy in despair.

Last year, after announcing his retirement after making his last film (2014's Jimmy's Hall) Ken Loach surprised everyone and, as if to prove why celebrities should never use the word retirement, at the age of eighty made the incredibly well received I, Daniel Blake. But it also marked fifty years since his arguably most ground breaking, heavily impacting work premiered on TV, in the shape of this low scale production, that shone a light on the dire state of homelessness at the time, and actually brought about the formation of the charity Shelter, as well as significant changes in the law. Truly a testament to the power of film at its strongest...

It's ostensibly a drama, grounded in the cold, gritty reality of life, but depicting the bleak chain of events as it does, in its own way, it ends up playing out like an archetypal horror film, with the lead protagonists trapped in a chain of events forged by external forces that threaten to destroy them and everything they hold dear. The monster chasing them is the unrelenting, stony faced bureaucracy and prejudice of society and institutions, from which survival seems impossible. Loach further achieves this effect with the style he employs in the film, with the black and white frame that was still fairly typical at the time, and the various, opposing voice-overs, including the lead characters, that add to the eerie, isolating feel of it all.

A young pretender at the time it was made, Loach set his standard with this short, unsettling piece. His job is not to make entertaining films, or to make us happy, but to inform and provoke change with gritty, social realism. As he reminds us before the film finishes, everything that we've just seen really happened over the then last six months in Britain, so it's not like he doesn't do his homework. Regardless of your political persuasion, his sincerity to highlight what many more powerful people paper over is always to his credit. *****

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