Birkbeck Cinema, 15 and Friday 16 May 2014

2014 marked the fortieth anniversary of the BBC miniseries, Shoulder to Shoulder, which told the story of the early women’s suffrage movement in Britain (1890s-1919). Its importance as a landmark BBC drama documenting women’s history and experience, the scale of which hasn’t been repeated, is unquestioned. This event focuses on women’s television history and the history of feminism on television, as it celebrates this key text for (and made by) women. It will be interdisciplinary in its scope, not only in terms of attracting a wide audience, but how it will feature academics from various disciplines (television, gender and cultural studies, history and politics) in dialogue with archivists, media producers, television actors and a director.

Birkbeck Institute of the Humanities, in association with Birkbeck Institute of the Moving Image and the CATH Research Centre, De Montfort University.

Thursday 15 May 2014. Screening and Q@A with cast and crew
Screening: Shoulder to Shoulder (BBC, 1974), episode 2, ‘Annie Kenney’ (written by Alan Plater, directed by Waris Hussein), starring Georgia Brown as Annie Kenney. First transmitted, 10 April 1974, BBC2.
‘One of 11 children, Annie Kenney works in a cotton mill and has spent most of her life in and around Oldham in Lancashire. She is invited to a suffrage meeting which is addressed by Christabel and is immediately fired with enthusiasm for the cause’.
Radio Times Special, 1974

Shoulder to Shoulder cast and crew reunion, chaired by Dame Joan Bakewell. Participants include:

  • Moira Armstrong (director of ‘Outrage’ and ‘Christabel Pankhurst’)
  • Graham Benson (Production Manager)
  • Angela Down (Sylvia Pankhurst)
  • Waris Hussein (director of ‘The Pankhursts’, ‘Annie Kenney’, ‘Lady Constance Lytton’, ‘Sylvia Pankhurst’)
  • Siân Phillips (Emmeline Pankhurst)
  • Patricia Quinn (Christabel Pankhurst)

Exhibition:   Sally Heathcote, SuffragettePeltz Gallery, 43 Gordon Square, Birkbeck, University of London. Monday12–Friday 23 May 2014

Friday 16 May 2014. Symposium.

Second-Wave Feminism and Feminist TV Drama in the 1970s Representing the Women’s Movement on TV, 1968-1974, Dr. Vicky Ball, De Montfort University
Television from the Archive, presented by Lisa Kerrigan, Curator (Television), BFI National Archive

Remembering Female Contributions in the 1970s
Reading Suffrage in Shoulder to Shoulder, Prof. June Purvis, University of Portsmouth
‘Remembering’ Female Suffrage, Reading 1970s TV Drama, Dr. Janet McCabe, Birkbeck, University of London, in conversation with Moira Armstrong
Chair and Respondent: Prof. Christine Geraghty, University of Glasgow.

Projects of Remembering
Oral Histories and Remembering, Dr. Margaretta Jolly, University of Sussex, followed by the film, A Democracy for Women, which includes an introduction by its director Lizzie Thynne, documentary filmmaker and University of Sussex.
Women and the Forgotten TV Drama Project, Dr. Lez Cooke, Royal Holloway
Women’s Work in the Film and TV Industries. Dr. Melanie Bell, Newcastle University
Chair and Respondent: Dr. Ros Jennings, Director of the Centre for Women, Ageing and Media at the University of Gloucestershire.

Sally Heathcote, Suffragette, Dr. Mary Talbot, feminist graphic novelist


Further References

LSE Blog, Nearly Forgotten 40 year-old BBC miniseries, Shoulder to Shoulder,’ by Janet McCabe and Vicky Ball
WFTHN, report on Shoulder to Shoulder event by Janet McCabe
CSTOnline, report on symposium Shoulder to Shoulder by Janet McCabe
Birkbeck Comments, ‘Why Remember Shoulder to Shoulder,’ by Janet McCabe and Vicky Ball
June Purvis, ‘The March of the Women,’ History Today, November 2014, 5.