BBC Two: Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story

BBC Two has commissioned an original drama about renowned taste and decency campaigner Mary Whitehouse – 40 years after her battle with the BBC Director-General over the Beatles’ use of the word “knickers.”

With Julie Walters starring as Mary Whitehouse and Hugh Bonneville playing her arch-enemy, BBC Director-General, Hugh Carleton Greene, Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story will bring to life the battle for Britain’s morals that raged in the Sixties.

Julie Walters said: “I am very excited to be playing Mary Whitehouse, and to be looking at the time when she attacked the BBC and started to make her name.”

In an era that spawned Carnaby Street, the Profumo scandal, and the Fab Four, Mary Whitehouse was the voice of a majority that had no desire to join the permissive age.

Armed only with her own sense of good Christian values and a sharp tongue, Mary Whitehouse was on a mission to stop “filth” entering family homes via the media.

Backed by her loyal husband Ernest (Alun Armstrong), Mary set out to fight an almighty war with some heroic and surprising victories along the way.

Based on first-hand documented accounts, the film has at its heart two great, and very strong-willed, characters – Mary Whitehouse who leads her Clean-Up TV campaign donned in her best coat and hat, versus BBC Director-General Hugh Carleton Greene, who in his determination to modernise British television, responds to Mary’s campaign by commissioning a painting of a nude, five-breasted Mrs Whitehouse for his office.

Leanne Klein, Executive Producer at Wall to Wall, said: “We are totally delighted to have such a wonderful actress as Julie Walters in the starring role. She will bring so much to the surprising and often very funny story of the rise of Mary Whitehouse, and her David-and-Goliath type struggle with the BBC.”

Lucy Richer, Commissioning Editor, Independent Drama Commissioning, BBC, commented: “This fantastic, revealing film brings to light the controversy that marked the launch of BBC Two, whose groundbreaking programmes so infuriated Mary Whitehouse.

“The clash of values between Mary and Hugh Carleton Greene is a battle of hearts and minds – an entertaining portrait of a time which shaped the TV we watch today.”

Produced by Richard Burrell (Robin Hood) and directed by Andy de Emmony (Bafta-nominated Fantabulosa!, The Canterbury Tales), Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story is a landmark film for BBC Two, and the latest instalment in a number of rich dramas commissioned by the channel, from Shoot The Messenger, Tsunami, and The Line Of Beauty, to forthcoming dramas on Robert Maxwell (Maxwell) and Daphne du Maurier (Daphne).

Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story, a 90-minute film to be broadcast in 2007, is commissioned by Jane Tranter, BBC Controller, Fiction, from independent production company Wall to Wall.

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