The BBC Story


Cathy Come Home was first broadcast on BBC One. The gritty drama, written by Jeremy Sandford and directed by Ken Loach, traces the descent into homelessness of young mother Cathy Ward, played by Carol White.


During the drama, Cathy and her partner, Reg, are evicted from their flat “with parquet flooring and tin openers fixed to the walls”. In the memorable final scene, Cathy’s children are forcibly taken from her by Social Services and put into care.

Cathy Come Home was mostly filmed on location using hand-held cameras, and the naturalistic action was contextualised by a voiceover that provided facts on the housing crisis.


It proved a hit with public and critics alike and was voted the best ‘Single Drama’ in the BFI 100 poll of British Television. Yet perhaps its greatest achievement was in putting homelessness on the public agenda, and giving a boost to the charity Shelter.