Radio 4 Programme Next Saturday on Working-Class Heroes

Also according to next week’s Radio Times, Saturday’s edition of Archive on 4, 22nd August 2020, is ‘Working-Class Heroes’. The blurb for it in the Radio Times runs

Danny Leigh revisits the settings of three 1960s British kitchen-sink dramas: Saturday Night and Sunday Morning; A Taste of Honey; and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. In Nottingham, Salford and Blackpool he finds out from contemporary working-class communities how people relate to the films today.

I can’t say that any of the above flicks really appeal to me. I’ve always preferred fantasy and escapism to social realism. But there is an issue here in that film, TV and literature is dominated by middle class heroes to the exclusion of the working class. It’s something the great British comics writers, Pat Mills, set out to correct in the strips he created. One of these was the long-running anti-war story, ‘Charlie’s War’, in Battle, whose hero was very definitely an ordinary working-class Tommy. I put up a video from YouTube of Mills talking about comics and working- and middle class heroes to the comrades of the Socialist Party, formerly the Socialist Workers’ Party, a little while ago. It’s very interesting and well-worth watching, if you’re interested in this aspect of popular culture. When asked which of his creations he identifies with, Mills replies ‘Rojaws’, the crude, vulgar, subversive sewer droid, who gets on the nerves of his mate Hammerstein, a patriotic war droid, in the strips Robusters and ABC Warriors. Which also shows that you can combine hilarious fantasy and SF with working class protagonists.

The programme ‘Archive on 4: Working Class Heroes’, is on Radio 4 at 8.00 pm.

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3 Responses to “Radio 4 Programme Next Saturday on Working-Class Heroes”

  1. trev Says:

    I quite like the British ‘Kitchen sink’ genre, though probably more now from a nostalgic viewpoint, which is not how they were intended. One that rarely gets mentioned is ‘The Leather Boys’, which includes some great period shots of the Ace Café and the British motorbikes of the time, good storyline too about Working Class homosexuality, a subject not often touched upon in film in the early 60s. I had it on video years ago and showed it to a girlfriend who thought I was trying to tell her something!

    • beastrabban Says:

      I hadn’t heard of that one, Trev, though the name rings a bell. Perhaps the storyline about working class homosexuality was just a bit too far for the time.

      • trev Says:

        Yes perhaps so, I think it was made in 1962 if I remember correctly. The homosexuality was a sub-plot in the story of a young couple’s struggling relationship and marriage, set against a backdrop of the ‘Rockers’ motorbike scene amid general Working Class life at the time. Oh, it was 64, just looked it up:

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Leather_Boys

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