On 21st June 2014 we held our fourth event in the Annexe of the Working Class Movement Library which was a special screening of The Spongers written by Jim Allen. First broadcast in 1978 as part of the Play for Today series, the drama depicts in unhurried but relentless detail how Pauline, a single mother with four children, one of whom has learning difficulties, falls deeper and deeper in debt and how the social security sytem and social services department – supposedly there to support and help her – not only utterly fail her, but contribute to her taking a dreadful decision at the end of the play.
We were delighted to welcome the writer Jimmy McGovern to our event who expressed his admiration for Jim Allen’s work in general, and this play in particular, which he described as “a work of genius”. Jimmy was followed by a thoughtful and often passionate discussion about Jim’s work and the issues raised in the play with many of the audience taking part. This was recorded by Lizzie Foster who is making a BBC radio documentary about Jim Allen with the actor Christopher Eccleston. Christopher was unable to join us but he sent a message to the event: “Jim Allen cared about others and was a technically brilliant writer. A precious combination. The Spongers is a masterpiece.The greatest British drama.Has anybody currently running BBC, ITV and Channel 4 seen it? I don’t think he’d have wanted to just preach to the converted”.
We would like Jimmy McGovern, Andy Willis, Alice Nutter, Christopher Eccleston, the Working Class Movement Library and everybody attending for an outstanding event.
The Jim Allen archive is housed at the Working Class Movement Library and is available for researchers. For more information, please contact the library: firstname.lastname@example.org