Watched by 12 million people — a quarter of the British population at the time — on its first broadcast on 16 November 1966, Cathy Come Home was a defining moment in British television history. It provoked major public and political discussion and challenged the accepted conventions of television drama.
The film tells the story of Cathy and Reg, a couple with three young children, who find their life spiralling into poverty when Reg loses his well-paid job. Gripping and emotional, it remains a truly ground-breaking piece of dramatic fiction, engaging viewers with social issues, such as homelessness, unemployment and the rights of mothers to keep their own children.
Utilising documentary-style filming on location, the film consolidated director Ken Loach’s reputation for hard-hitting social realism.