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Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story (2008)

Documents the rise of Mary Whitehouse during the 1960s, and the relationship between her and Sir Hugh Carleton Greene, the Director General of the BBC.

Director:

Andy De Emmony (as Andy de Emmony)

Writers:

Amanda Coe, Patrick Reams (original idea)
Reviews
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Julie Walters ... Mary Whitehouse
Alun Armstrong ... Ernest Whitehouse
Hugh Bonneville ... Sir Hugh Carleton Greene
Georgie Glen ... Norah Buckland
Timothy Davies Timothy Davies ... Rev. Basil Buckland
Paul Westwood Paul Westwood ... Paul Whitehouse
Drew Webb Drew Webb ... Richard Whitehouse
Jeremy Legat Jeremy Legat ... Christopher Whitehouse
Ron Cook ... Lord Charlie Hill
William Beck ... David Turner
Nicholas Woodeson ... Harman Grisewood
Nicholas Le Prevost ... Ken
Emily Hamilton ... Miss Tate
Hilary Maclean Hilary Maclean ... Brenda
Stewart Wright ... Malcolm
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Storyline

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 garykmcd

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 May 2008 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Becstelenség: Mary Whitehouse története See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Wall to Wall Media See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[Mary Whitehouse is appearing on a discussion programme which is about to go on air]
Female Panellist: Mrs Whitehouse, can I just say before the programme starts, that I've followed your campaign right from the beginning.
Mary Whitehouse: Oh yes, dear.
Female Panellist: And I utterly disagree with everything single thing you're doing.
Male Panellist: Hear hear. Freedom of expression is one of the most precious values we have in our society. You seem to have taken it on yourself to speak for people who don't support you in any way whatsoever. You should be ashamed...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening titles: "The story you are about to see really took place... only with less swearing and more nudity". See more »

Connections

Featured in Julie Walters: A Life on Screen (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Engaging, well made TV drama about a misguided but principled woman
3 June 2008 | by davideo-2See all my reviews

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

Early sixties Britain is still a fairly innocent place and Mary Whitehouse (Julie Walters), a suburban local art teacher and church-goer, lives a dainty little English existence in her quiet, dainty little Midlands village. But she becomes outraged by what she sees as declining standards on British TV, with more regular, casual bad language, sex talk and violence. The film portrays her real life crusade to 'clean up TV', bringing her into conflict with Hugh Greene (Hugh Bonneville) the new Programmes Commissioner at the BBC, who's moving with the times more and showing programmes more suited to the changing social attitudes.

It's interesting to note what a puritanical society we used to be not really so long ago, especially when we comment on the Americans and their prudish standards they still have on mainstream TV. Maybe it's the age I've been raised in but I've always been one for freedom of expression and mature adults being allowed to see what they want, so Mary Whitehouse was never a character that was going to agree with me. But even if you think her campaigns were misguided, you have to admire her determination and conviction of her will, which this very well made TV drama has portrayed.

The main thing that drives it is two superb lead performances. In the title role, Walters gives it her all as the quaint English lady with an unwavering moral compass who is forced to come to terms with society's changing ideals, attitudes, morals and beliefs while leading her campaign and similarly Bonneville is also great as the arrogant TV chief who bites off more than he can chew with the little guy.

Both the characters are very well written too, along with the script, which really gets you involved with the story, which is engaging and enthralling but refreshingly humorous, too, although in a manner risqué enough, ironically, to get Mrs Whitehouse up in arms about. ****


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