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 three 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 but then again the focus of the series is always more on the Governor and her staff than the prisoners themselves although they do generally provide the catalyst for most storylines.
Within These Walls is a great example of strong 1970’s TV drama with plenty of space for storylines to unfold. Quite a few well known actresses appeared as inmates during the shows run including the likes of Elizabeth Adare, Lois Baxter, Angharad Rees, 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).
One episode from the series, season two’s Nowhere For The Kids is missing from the archives.
UK / ITV – London Weekend Television / 65×60 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 1-3)
KATHERINE BLAKE as Helen Forester (Season 4)
SARAH LAWSON as Susan Marshall (Season 5)
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
SEASON ONE 4 January – 29 March 1974
1. CAUSE FOR CONCERN (4 Jan 74)
2. LESSON NUMBER ONE (11 Jan 74)
3. THE WALLS CAME TUMBLING DOWN (18 Jan 74)
4. IN HER OWN RIGHT (25 Jan 74)
5. PRISONER BY MARRIAGE (1 Feb 74)
6. THE GROUP (8 Feb 74)
7. ONE STEP FORWARD, TWO STEPS BACK (15 Feb 74)
8. FAILING TO REPORT (22 Feb 74)
9. TEA ON ST. PANCRAS STATION (1 Mar 74)
10. GUESSING GAME (8 Mar 74)
11. WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS (15 Mar 74)
12. LABOUR OF LOVE (22 Mar 74)
13. A SENSE OF DUTY (29 Mar 74)
SEASON TWO 10 January – 11 April 1975
1. WHEN THE DOOR OPENS (10 Jan 75)
2. REMAND WING (17 Jan 75)
3. NOWHERE FOR THE KIDS (24 Jan 75)
4. THE SLAP (31 Jan 75)
5. PLAYGROUND (7 Feb 75)
6. THE TRUTH GAME (14 Feb 75)
7. DEBATE (21 Feb 75)
8. PROTEST (28 Feb 75)
9. LET THE PEOPLE SEE (7 Mar 75)
10. SKIVERS (14 Mar 75)
11. COMING HOME (21 Mar 75)
12. THE GOOD LIFE (4 Apr 75)
13. FOR LIFE (11 Apr 75)