Mary Quaile Club event: screening of “The House That Jack Built” by Shelagh Delaney, 26th November 2016

Saturday 26th November, 12.30pm to 4.30pm

A complete screening of The House That Jack Built  by Shelagh Delaney

Venue : Three Minute Theatre, Afflecks Arcade, 35-39 Oldham Street, Manchester, M1 1JG.

We were delighted to screen The House That Jack Built  by Shelagh Delaney as our contribution to Shelagh Delaney Day 2016.

shelagh-delaneyShelagh  Delaney grew up in Pendleton,  Salford  and came to fame in the late 1950s with her play A Taste of Honey, staged by Joan Littlewood, and later filmed by Tony Richardson.  She wrote the scripts for a number of films,  including  Charlie Bubbles (1967),  Dance with a Stranger (1985) and The Railway Station Man (1992)

Her work for television has often been overlooked.  The House That Jack Built  was broadcast by the BBC in the summer of 1977,   although it was filmed in Manchester the previous summer.  The six 30 minute episodes  tell the story of the marriage of  Jack (played by Duggie Brown) and Lou (played by Sharon Duce) over ten years. It has never been repeated on television, and is not available on DVD.









In an interview Shelagh said of the drama,  “Well,  I suppose they lose their innocence. That’s what the play is really about. They learn they’ve got to put up with things they don’t really want to put up with…certain aspects of each other. Jack’s head is full of ideas. He’s a poet. They are building something physical and emotional and sometime something collapses and they build it up again. They are concerned with timeless things like money food and sex. Jack and Lu are both very sexy. They enjoy sex. But there isn’t a bedroom scene in the plays. The audience expects explicit sex,  but it’s more potent when it isn’t explicit.



Sanne Bury introduced the screening, and chaired  the discussion afterwards. Our thanks to Gill and Trevor Griffiths, Maxine Peake and Sheila Hancock  for sponsoring this screening.We were delighted that Sheila and her grand-daughter were  able  to join us for the first half.

We would also like to thank Matthew Harle at the British Film Institute for arranging  the hire of the videos, and David Petty at Home for the loan of the player. Finally our thanks to John and Gina at 3MT for their help and support for this  screening.


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Posted in Drama, Shelagh Delaney, Television, women's history, working class history

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