Sunday, 23 November 2008


Just finished reading a terrific post on Jeremy's Moon In The Gutter blog. Ken Loach's CATHY COME HOME was first broadcast in the UK on 16th December, 1966, and was watched by one quarter of the population. Check out Jeremy's tribute to this film. I'm sure you all follow his excellent work but for anyone who is new to blogs, click on this link
I intend to highlight posts from other blogs on a weekly basis, and this is a nice way to start.


  1. Hi Steve,

    I think I may have referred to this point on another blog but for me it illustrates how when we had fewer channels as a country programmes were asble to make a major impact (okay granted you still have few channels). Not only could entertainment reach the public consciousness (morcambe and wise christmas etc) but social commentary and documentary also could have a profound effect and shape a national debate so TV could make a household name of Joey Deacon, scare us witless with Threads, we could grow with the Up series of documentaries and so on. It is against such a backround I believe that Cathy Come Home was able to make an impact and had it been made today would it have such an effect if it was screened on ITV 3+1 on a wet wednesday morning? I dont know but I doubt it.

    Without being over nostalgic there was a time when prime time viewing meant something - and TV would be the topic of monday morning discussion. I wonder if this was the intent of successive govts with their tv deregulation? yes there is more choice but there is less to watch.

    I was not born when cathy come home was intitially screened and it was many years before I got to see it, probably due to my dad's viewing tastes but I am acutely aware of its influence at the time.

  2. Some excellent points, Nigel, and you're absolutely right. More is definitely less these days. I can well remember discussing the likes of Morecambe & Wise shows, and even stuff like Dallas was a real talking point. Now, programmes are split up and so much is missed because of a wider choice. There are only 1.5% of homes in the Uk that - for logistical reasons - cannot receive Digital TV.End result is that shared experience is heading towards extinction. Thnaks for stopping by, and rasing some great points.

  3. I honestly feel like we have too much choice these days. It's hard for me often to figure out anything to watch. I end up flipping more than watching. There's so much on while at the same time there's not really much worthwhile on. It seemed like I never had trouble finding something to watch back in the days when we had NBC, CBS, ABC & PBS around here.

  4. I am pretty much the same as keith here, apart from Movies4Men (which shows a lot of italian westerns) and the bbc I tend to channel hop, yet still find little to watch.

    The 1.5% that cannot receive digital are probably the 1.5% who would on averare have the best quality viewing as there are 100s of pretty hopeless channels out there.

    In terms of classic tv and tv movies most the stuff I would like to revisit is from the bbc or possibly ITV. True that from the beginning Channel 4 and Film 4 revived british film making and took a few chances but it was their british take on the romcom that really made their name and not their more innovative entries.

    Now ehen we talk pre deregulation we come up with such unforgetable classics- not just loach and as I mentioned Threads but the delightful play for today series, works by potter, mike leigh and others. Okay 4 did offer the first love series (ptang yabng kipperbang and those glory glory days etc) but even these were before the satellite explosion since that has offered only repeats of stuff from before the sky era and the forgetable Tube Tales.

    We cannot return to where media was 30 years ago but for that reason we are going to see increasingly fewer innovative and challenging independent filmmaking beyond that which falls into the most popular genres of the day. Had loach started out today he probably would not have even got the funding to make Cathy Come Home.

  5. Hey Steve,
    Thanks so much for the link...I really appreciate it and am glad you enjoyed the post.

    Unrelated...would you consider setting up a Facebook account? I am over there along with a lot of our blogging buddies and I would love to see you on there. Give it a thought...thanks again for the link.

  6. Keith, my wife has told me a lot re American TV and she agrees with your thoughts. Same problem as us; too much choice, less quality.
    Nigel, you are bang on. Everything is stacked against challenging programming, which is a crying shame. No way back, though hopefully the odd gem will fight its way through.
    Jeremy, no prob re the link. It's something I'll be doing a lot more of and feel it's a worthwhile exercise. Really enjoyed your post, as always. Thanks very much for the kind thought re Facebook. To be absolutely honest, I don't much care for Facebook and feel it's not for me. Thanks again it was really good of you to suggest it and I do appreciate the thought.

  7. That's cool Steve...thanks again for the link and the very nice words. Always appreciated.

  8. hi again,

    just revisiting this to share something maybe you already know Steve, but maybe not. I heard that the BBC are going to open their archives and put the lot online- now I dont know how far along they are with this but to me that is exciting- there was so much great stuff made over the years that I would love to see again. If channel 4 would do the same then that would be WOW! because in its early days C4 was absolutely fantastic- stuff like Scully, The Tube and even the excellent Special AKA At Home.

    Is it just me or has everything turned to shit? TV or filmmaking aint what it was.

  9. Thanks for the shout, Nigel. I hadn't heard about this and it's exciting news. Have to say my PC refuses to play BBC iplayer stuff so time to give BT a call in view of the wedge I have to pay 'em for Broadband. We were over at my mother's the other evening and Steptoe was on which reminded me of how good TV used to be. You're right, it has gone to shit now. I share your hope that Channel 4 gets in on the act. Some awesome stuff in their archives.