Mary Quaile Club event on 21 June 2014, Screening of The Spongers by Jim allen

the Spongers 009On 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.

the Spongers 008We 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:




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Posted in Drama, Jim Allen, Mary Quaile club meeting, Television, working class history

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