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Ken Loach At The BBC (6 Discs)

Released on 05 September 2011

Format: DVD | Rating: 15 years & over

5.0 out of 5 (1 customer review) | Write a review

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1965 saw Ken Loach working as one of the "in house" directors of the groundbreaking The Wednesday Play series at The BBC which included Three Clear Sundays, Up the Junction and The End of Arthur's Marriage. Of these plays, Up The Junction had the most impact, telling the story of three young women factory workers in their work and home lives, focusing on Rube as she meets her first boyfriend, and chronicles the significant life changing events that follow including an illegal abortion. Not only controversial at the time, Loach's inter-cutting of real life interviews mixed in with drama became a signpost for his future directing style striving for naturalism and realism.

1966 saw Ken Loach's breakthrough piece, Cathy Come Home. The play follows the lives of young sweethearts Cathy (Carol White fresh from Up The Junction) and Reg (Ray Brooks) starting out as a newly married couple, moving into a new place and having children. Reg then suffers an accident which means he is unable to work and they end up being evicted and separated. With Cathy homeless but still looking after the children, she faces having her children taken away from her by Social Services. This is perhaps the play that has had more impact than any other on television, highlighting the very real problem of homelessness. Even some forty years later the power of Cathy Come Home remains undiminished.

In Two Minds charts the turbulent life of a young woman who endures a difficult family life and, after throwing a kitchen knife at her mother, is diagnosed as a schizophrenic. Much like Cathy Come Home, the realistic documentary style helps provide veracity to the story.

Written by Jim Allen, The Big Flame is a story of striking Liverpool dock workers, who decide that to safeguard their futures they must control the port themselves. This was the first of several Ken Loach / Jim Allen collaborations - many of which would be starkly political.

The BAFTA nominated Days of Hope was Jim Allen's tale of a working-class family in the period from 1916 to 1926, taking in the First World War, events in Ireland and the General Strike of 1926. Running to well over six hours, the series tells an epic story particularly in the light of the parlous state of the economy and labour relations in Britain at the time. A radical series in every sense, Jim Allen was able create real parallels in Days of Hope that resonated with the working class of the mid 1970's and the political climate at that time.

Loach returned to the BBC with The Price of Coal (written by Kes author Barry Hines) a film which depicted the lives of those living in a coalfield community. The first part subtitled, Meet The People, is a comic tale surrounding the story of a colliery community in preparation for a visit by Prince Charles, and the efforts being put on by the management to make the pit fit for a future king, involving grassing over an unsightly coal slag heap and whitewashing everything in site. The second part, Back To Reality, is completely different in tone when the colliery suffers a sudden underground explosion, trapping, killing and injuring the miners, and as the rescue team work frantically to rescue those trapped, those above ground argue about who is to blame.

The Rank and File, which completes the collection, again written by Jim Allen, is a story based around the strike by the Pilkington Glass workers.

This beautifully packaged collection displays some of Loach's very best work and gives a real insight into working class life in the 60's and 70's. The collection also features an interview with Ken Loach, a documentary entitled Housing Problems and a commentary track for Cathy Come Home.
  • Cathy Come Home commentary
  • Housing Problems
  • Documentary and exclusive interview with Ken Loach

customer Reviews

 Average rating (1 review)

 Unmissable!

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Can't wait to get this new boxset of some of Ken Loach's films dating back to his BBC years. A must I'm sure. And I'm glad they have some English subtitles ... often helpful with Loach's movies.

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DirectorKen Loach
Certificate15 years and over
LanguagesEnglish
SubtitlesEnglish for the hearing impaired
Duration17 hours and 32 minutes (approx)
RegionRegion 2 - Will only play on European Region 2 or multi-region DVD players.