1990: Health Farm (BBC-2 26 Sep 1977, with Ray Smith)

In Health Farm, penned by the always excellent Edmund Ward, Jim Kyle is surprised to be one of the first journalists to be given a look at one of the government’s new “adult rehabilitation centres” or mind laundry as the Home Secretary calls it.

Head of the PCD Herbert Skardon is surprised too. Delly Lomas has arranged the visit to the showpiece Mayfield centre in the hope that Kyle sees the “good work” they are doing and that there is no story there.

Meanwhile the PCD also has a major problem on it’s hands with trade union secretary Charles Wainwright (the brilliant Ray Smith). He had been chosen to deliver a speech in the US protesting about Britain’s treatment and new sanctions about to be imposed. Instead of protesting he agrees with the sanctions and makes an impassioned speech which gives us some helpful background on what brought Britain to it’s current state. It tracks back to 1983 when a crisis and severe lack of voter turnout brought the current Government to power.

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Kyle wants to interview Wainwright but he learns from his government contact Faceless that the Government intend to make Wainwright a prominent addition to the Mayfield Rehabilitation Centre. (Kyle and Faceless normally meet clandestinely, cars parked next to each other, talking through the wound down windows, we never get to see Faceless only hear him – hence the name.)

Kyle and Brett meet wit Wainwright. They would like him to go public with the story of his speech but he has already agreed with the Home Secretary to keep his mouth shut.

There’s a nice recurring bit of business involving a fellow journalist who is clearly employed simply because he looks like Kyle – whenever Kyle needs to shake off the PCD he sends him out instead.

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Kyle and Dave Brett, who is one of the leaders of the resistance, decide to try and break Wainwright out of Mayfield. They turn out to be too late though as Wainright has already been “rehabilitated”.

classic quote
“No barbed-wire, no straitjackets, no padded cells. After all, this is 1990.”

production details
UK / BBC Two / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast 26 September 1977

Writer: Edmund Ward / Production Design: Robert Berk / Director: Kenneth Ives

Series: 1990 Season 1 Episode 3

Edward Woodward as Jim Kyle
Robert Lang as Herbert Skardon
Barbara Kellermann as Delly Lomas
Tony Doyle as Dave Brett
Paul Hardwick as Faceless
John Savident as Dan Mellor
Donald Douglas as Dr Gelbert
Ray Smith as Charles Wainwright
Howard Bell as Halloran
Michael Napier Brown as Nichols
George Murcell as Greaves
Mathias Kilroy as Pearce
Mitzi Rogers as Agnes Culmore
John Rhys-Davies as Ivor GriffithTV, 1990, BBC, Edmund Ward, Kenneth Ives, John Rhys-Davies, Ray Smith, Donald Douglas,

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.