Drama series Within These Walls offered up quite a rare glimpse at the time into the world of a prison for female inmates. Cinema icon Googie Withers initially played Prison Governor Faye Boswell and dealt with all manner of recalcitrant inmates whose problems ranged from going on a hunger strike to abuses of privilege and even the odd escape attempt.
Faye only stuck around for the first two seasons when the new Governor became Helen Forrester, after a single season she was replaced (she had supposedly left to study women’s prisons in Europe) by Susan Marshall.
Regulars inside the prison on the staff were Charles Radley the deputy governor, prison doctor Peter Mayes and Chief Officer Mrs Armitage. The show ran for five seasons and was considered pretty realistic in its day but now seems pretty tame when compared to something like Bad Girls.
Within These Walls is a great example of strong 1970’s TV drama with plenty of space for storylines to unfold. Quite a few actresses appeared as inmates during the shows run including the likes of Elizabeth Adare, Lois Baxter and Cheryl Hall.
On the ITV Network on Sunday 11 January 1976 @ 6.50pm Googie Withers made a special five minute appeal on behalf of the National Association of the Care and Resettlement of Offenders for funds to help homeless women and their children, to tie in with the series (the producer was Keith Farthing for ATV)
UK / ITV – London Weekend Television / 52×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 4 January 1974 – 15 April 1978
Creator and Series Consultant: David Butler / Theme Music: Denis King / Executive Producer: Rex Firkin / Producer: Jack Williams
GOOGIE WITHERS as Faye Boswell (Seasons 1 and 2)
KATHERINE BLAKE as Helen Forester (Season 3)
SARAH LAWSON as Susan Marshall (Season 4)
JEROME WILLIS as Charles Radley
MONA BRUCE as Chief Officer Mrs Armitage
BETH HARRIS as Miss Liz Clarke
DENYS HAWTHORNE as Dr Mayes
SONIA GRAHAM as Martha Parrish