The always-excellent Talking Pictures TV is doing us all proud this weekend with a rare screening of the classic Up The Junction movie.
Rare because it doesn’t often show on TV. It used to float around the satellite channels some years back. There was also a DVD release around 2008 which you can still pick up, although it is officially out of print. A Blu-ray too, but that goes for silly money. So all in all, a screening from Talking Pictures TV is very welcome.
As you probably know, Up The Junction is based on a 1963 book by Nell Dunn, which was later made into a TV play courtesy of Ken Loach. A controversial one too back in the day. The big-screen version smoothed over some of the rough edges of the TV play and although still controversial and ‘gritty’ in parts, this is an altogether more glossy affair.
Directed by Peter Collinson (who not long after directed The Italian Job), Up The Junction stars the wonderful Suzy Kendall, with lover interest Dennis Waterman in all his Mod glory plus support from the likes of Adrienne Posta, Maureen Lipman, Liz Fraser and Hylda Baker. A fantastic cast. A soundtrack by Manfred Mann too. I’m not a huge fan, but I like what they did with this.
The storyline is pretty straightforward, albeit with a few detours. An affluent heiress known as Polly Dean (and played by Suzy Kendall) decides she is tired of her privileged life and wants to live with common people (I know), moving to Battersea top spend time with the working-class community there, picking up a job in a confectionery factory to pay the bills.
She soon makes friends with sisters, Sylvie (Maureen Lipman) and Rube (Adrienne Posta) and all seems to be going well. But it wouldn’t be much of a film if that was the case. Rube has the double whammy of an unwanted pregnancy (leading to a backstreet abortion) and the death of boyfriend Terry (Michael Gothard).
Polly meanwhile gets a love interest in the form of Mod Pete (played by British TV icon Dennis Waterman) but both have different ideas about the future. One wants to be rich, the other likes the idea of being poor. In the end, Pete’s chase for wealth brings it all to a sudden halt.
Some amazing period footage, Waterman looks pretty sharp on his scooter and in his submariner jumper and Suzy Kendall is as wonderful as she always is. All with a decent little soundtrack to keep things ticking along.
With it being harder to buy all the time (although you can ‘rent’ or download the film on Amazon Prime) a showing on Talking Pictures TV is welcome, especially with so many of us being stuck in and looking for a bit of a distraction. Don’t miss it.
Up The Junction is screening on Talking Pictures TV on 25th April 2020 at 9:30pm. It’s likely to be repeated in the coming weeks too.
Also, if you want to go back to the source, the original 1963 book of Up The Junction by Nell Dunn is still in print and currently with a rather cool Adrienne Posta cover. You can get the paperback for around £8, with the Kindle version at half that price.