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Within These Walls: The Catalyst (ITV 4 Sep 1976, with Katharine Blake)



Within These Walls Title Generic

In season four opener The Catalyst there is a new governor at Stone Park. Faye has gone (having been given a promotion to assistant director of prisons) replaced by Helen Forrester and she is out to show she means business. Having carried out an overview of the whole prison she lay down the law to the staff.

Helen gets a real baptism of fire when two of the prisoners, Shirley Lang and , manage to escape onto the roof to stage a protest about no longer being able to share a cell. Although the protest is brought to a speedy end, Shirley Lang is badly injured, Mrs Forrester makes it plain she hold certain members of staff responsible for the situation developing in the first place.

There’s a somewhat seedy subplot about an elderly now retired former prisoner guard who acts as sort of a nightwatchman on the night shift but spends most of her time spying on the prisoners.

Janet Harker has finally made her mind up to quit the prison service, a decision helped by the arrival of the hard line Forrester, and join fiancee Doctor David in Bristol.

There is a certain feel of the old guard battening down the hatches as Helen sweeps through the prison and doesn’t necessarily like what she sees.

UK / ITV – London Weekend Television / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Saturday 4 September 1976

Writer: David Butler / Production Design: Bryan Bagge / Director: Christopher Hodson

Series: Within The Walls Season 4 Episode 1

Katharine Blake as Helen Forrester
Lesley Daine as Babs Ryan
Sheila Beckett as Effie Parker
Margaret Anderson as Louise Talbot
Elaine Wells as P.O. Spencer
Jerome Willis as Charles Radley
Sonia Graham as Martha Parrish
Jumoke Debayo as Officer Carto
Denys Hawthorne as Dr Mayes
Natalie Kent as Beanie Dixon
Janet Lees Price as Janet Harker
Mona Bruce as Mrs Armitage
Beth Harris as Miss Clarke
Charmain May as Sarah Lang
Alison Groves as Officer Poole
Sharman MacDonald as Shirley Phillips