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  1. #1
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    I have memories of a TV Documentary shown on ITV in the mid 70s.



    If Memory serves it was called "Johnny come home"....No doubt a play on "Cathy come Home"



    The Documentary (as I recall) followed the story of a Teenager called Johnny who had run away from home for the bright lights of London.



    As I recall it was made by Granada



    If anyone can help can they get back via the page



    Thanks



    Mike

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: UK Freddy's Avatar
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    Johnny Go Home was a 1975 Bafta award winning factual programme. It was made by John Willis for Yorkshire Television. It was about homeless young people in London.



    I faintly remember it but the above are the only details I know.



    regards



    Freddy

  3. #3
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    Hi All

    I am a Britfilm fan and read this post with alot of interest. I actually knew quite a few of the characters in the documentary "Johnny go/come home" made in the 1970's. I used to frequent a very iniquitous gay/fetish club in around 1974 called "Chaguaramas" in Neal St. WC2. This later became the infamous Roxy of Punk Rock fame (infame?). I actually knew Johnny (real name) who was indeed a rent boy of around 14 maybe 15 and his rent boy pals, Billy, Phil and Steve whose ages ranged from 12 to 16. They were all little Eastend guttersnipes who worked on the "Meat Rack" in Piccadilly, much to my surburban shock and horror and they all also worked in a launderette around Mile End/Bethnal Green - hustling was a way of surviving for them and they didn't mind who they hustled! Alot of their clients picked them up in amusement arcades around Piccadilly. Johnny and his crew all appeared in the documentary and told me to watch them on telly. I was only around 15/16 myself when I knew them, obviously naive and did not realize then that the poor kids were selling their bodies to buy food, cheap clothes and bits of gold that meant so much to them. I heard one of them died, I think from drugs a few years later. All terribly sad and sordid really, they were just children.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain scenesixty's Avatar
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    name='mikeluxy']I have memories of a TV Documentary shown on ITV in the mid 70s.



    If Memory serves it was called "Johnny come home"....No doubt a play on "Cathy come Home"



    The Documentary (as I recall) followed the story of a Teenager called Johnny who had run away from home for the bright lights of London.



    As I recall it was made by Granada



    If anyone can help can they get back via the page



    Thanks



    Mike
    I remember this factual documentary in 1975, watching with my younger brother-it was very depressing.It showed a pathologist examining a young Man who died (beleived mudered) at a roadside somewhere.A lot of those young lads were met at Euston station by a predatory pervert called Roger Gleaves, if my memory serves me right. A very dispiriting documentary (then) on young runaways.

  5. #5
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    name='Cordelia']Hi All

    I am a Britfilm fan and read this post with alot of interest. I actually knew quite a few of the characters in the documentary "Johnny go/come home" made in the 1970's. I used to frequent a very iniquitous gay/fetish club in around 1974 called "Chaguaramas" in Neal St. WC2. This later became the infamous Roxy of Punk Rock fame (infame?). I actually knew Johnny (real name) who was indeed a rent boy of around 14 maybe 15 and his rent boy pals, Billy, Phil and Steve whose ages ranged from 12 to 16. They were all little Eastend guttersnipes who worked on the "Meat Rack" in Piccadilly, much to my surburban shock and horror and they all also worked in a launderette around Mile End/Bethnal Green - hustling was a way of surviving for them and they didn't mind who they hustled! Alot of their clients picked them up in amusement arcades around Piccadilly. Johnny and his crew all appeared in the documentary and told me to watch them on telly. I was only around 15/16 myself when I knew them, obviously naive and did not realize then that the poor kids were selling their bodies to buy food, cheap clothes and bits of gold that meant so much to them. I heard one of them died, I think from drugs a few years later. All terribly sad and sordid really, they were just children.
    Cordelia Can you get in touch about the Roxy club or when it was a gay club before it was a Punk club...I started going up to Soho etc about '77 + i'm in a book about the Roxy BUT i was very young + only caught the end of the punk scene. I still remeber when it was really dangorous round Piccadilly tube + the amusement arcades...I was shocked by the doc as well.But i was only about 12 when that was on tv,would love to see it again...Jeff sw 15

  6. #6
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    Cordelia, I used to go to Chaguaramas too, but only on a Fridays or Saturdays, a bit later - probably 1975-6, but before it was The Roxy. A whole bunch of us used to go (mostly girls) after working in pubs ("The Old Globe" and "The Black Boy") in Stepney Green.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Country: England Maurice's Avatar
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    name='Freddy']Johnny Go Home was a 1975 Bafta award winning factual programme. It was made by John Willis for Yorkshire Television. It was about homeless young people in London.



    I faintly remember it but the above are the only details I know.



    regards



    Freddy


    JOHNNY GO HOME was "a two-part investigation of the dangers facing teenagers who leave home for the bright lights of London." (BFI database)



    The programme was broadcast on 22/07/75:

    Part 1 : The Murder of Billy Two-Tone

    Part 2 : End of the Line



    WHAT HAPPENED TO JOHNNY GO HOME was a documentary update - containing much of the original footage - made about four months later:

    broadcast 18/11/75, repeated 13/01/76



    The repeat broadcast reflected viewers' acute concern about the issues.



    This landmark documentary, which deserves DVD release,

    should not be confused with a Tyne-Tees programme,

    LIFE WITH JOHNNY: JOHNNY COME HOME (1969),

    "a parable of the Prodigal Son in a modern musical setting."

  8. #8
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    Was this the documentary where a character known as The Bishop (I think) was at first portrayed as someone who was helping runaways and was later discovered to be exploiting them ?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Country: England Maurice's Avatar
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    The 1975 documentary followed in the wake of a book about "boys who survive on the Dilly by homosexual prostitution."



    "The Dilly Boys", published in 1973 by Croom Helm Ltd., was based on research by author, Mervyn Harris, from September 1969 to October 1970 while he was at the London School of Economics:



    "The Dilly is a whirlpool of sex, glamour, money, drugs and drop-outs. It's the most exciting place in London but it can be the most lonely....



    "Jimmy, Gerry, Peter, Stan, Jamie and Tommy spend their time on the Meat Rack, in the amusement arcades, pubs and cafes round the Dilly. Time moves slowly during the day when they are hungry and tired but towards evening the pace picks up as the hustle for a 'steamer' begins.



    "They're drawn to the Dilly by the legend of a Hustler who hunts alone for money and sex.



    'It's all a game on the Dilly. You hustle guys for bread and spend it all on chicks.'



    "In their own words, the boys describe the rat race of the Dilly - how they survive, how they view society and how they keep their self-respect. Their age ranges from 15 to 23 and they stay on the Dilly for up to three years -

    'Once you're on the Dilly you're stuck and you don't know how to get off.'



    "Yet most of the boys are able to return to normal life unless like Gerry they become junkies.



    "This is a harrowing social portrait of adolescent boys in the West End of London. It is also a powerful indictment of a society which condemns them as deviant while denying them any real educational and social opportunity."

  10. #10
    Senior Member Country: England Maurice's Avatar
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    "Keep the Faith Baby" was another influential book preceding the 1975 documentary:



    "an account of the author's work with junkies, pillheads, homosexuals and dropouts in Soho for four years from 1967...Starts with the Summer of Love in 1967, includes section on 'Dr. John' and squatters at 144, Piccadilly, New Age religions and spirituality."

  11. #11
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    Maurice, do we know if "The Dilly Boys' inspired "Johnny Go Home" or was it just background/ research material ?

  12. #12
    Senior Member Country: England Maurice's Avatar
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    name='billy bentley']Maurice, do we know if "The Dilly Boys' inspired "Johnny Go Home" or was it just background/ research material ?


    helpful, background research material.



    1975 viewers would appreciate seeing the programme again, with a reminder about Johnny's age - and events after the doc. update.



    Following the well-publicised, concerted attempt to "rescue" Johnny, did he not decide to return to "The Bishop" ?

  13. #13
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    Yes, I remember one of the Sunday tabloids disclosing the pretty extraordinary fact that Johnny and The Bishop were sharing a home.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Country: England Maurice's Avatar
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    STREET KIDS, a comparable documentary, was broadcast on 24th February, 1989:

    "Report on teenagers who live on the streets of London, surviving by begging and prostitution."



    Radio Times:



    Darren, 14-years-old, has slept in Leicester Square for four months.



    Kathy and TJ, two young teenage girls, barefoot and unwashed, survive by begging.



    Ferret has lived on the streets for over ten years, surviving by prostitution.



    The new income support laws mean that young teenagers like these cannot draw any support benefit.



    For six months, the cameras follow them struggling to find work and a place to sleep in the heart of London, where they are in daily contact with drugs, disease, "thieving" and violence.



    Some kids survive against all the odds - some don't.

  15. #15
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    Cordelia et al; “Johnny Go Home” and “What Happened to Johnny Go Home” was initially going to be about homeless kids on the streets of London. The film crew started filming in a series of hostels all called St. Dismas House and in various locations around London. They were run by Roger Gleaves, the self-styled “Bishop of Medway” who wasn’t a real bishop, but no one had ever bothered to check that out before they gave him money to run these homeless shelters in squats in places such as Hackney and Brixton. As the filming progressed the corruption within the organization started to become evident and then Billy McPhee, a resident at the Hackney hostel was found abandoned and dead in a ditch on the A23. Once his body was identified it led back to a man called Michael Woodland, who was a “henchman” for Gleaves, and two other men. The “what Happened” documentary focussed on these events. How do I know all this? Well, I was a resident volunteer at the Hackney hostel in 1973, paid the grand some of three pounds a week and I saw Gleaves parading around in the pseudo military jacket with badges and braid on it. It was well known within the organization that he picked up boys on London’s streets and “rescued” them, making them his boyfriends. The young man, Tommy, in the first documentary was one of his “bumboys” as they were known. There were a lot of others. The hostels catered for homeless men and young runaway boys. The boys tended to end up in Gleaves’ headquarters in Brixton. I had just left the hostel when the-you-know-what hit the fan, but was in touch with the man that was supposedly the reason that McPhee was murdered. He had been blowing the whistle to the film crew and McPhee was taken because it was thought that he knew where the whistleblower was. They were both from Scotland, although not from the same towns and did not know each other prior to McPhee ending up in Hackney. Much to my shame now, I married Mr Whistleblower in 1976, but had the good sense to divorce him a few years later (although that is another story!) Woodland and his cronies were sentenced after a trial at the Old Bailey. Gleaves was shut down, but he was always an entrepreneur and has popped up again several times over the years as a paedophile, most recently in 2006 at this link: Paedophile given £40,000 legal aid to fight for toilet rights | Mail Online



    Sorry if this is too long for this message board. I was looking for something else and stumbled upon a connection that brought back a lot of memories! Maybe this is why I ended up as a social worker after I moved to America.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Country: England Maurice's Avatar
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    Thanks, jaccir, for your post - much appreciated



    Today's TV viewers should be made aware of Billy McPhee's murder - and wider context.



    Keep in touch.



    Maurice

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    Hi posters and thanks for this info (esp. Jaccir). I was fascinated when I saw this documentary in 1975 and have googled it in the past a couple of times before finding this thread. Despite the amount of time that has elapsed I can still clearly remember quite a lot about it and the people such as Gleave himself and the young lad Tommy (who I seem to recall went home once and actually came back )the young girl, my age at the time, spending her life among homeless alcoholics; a couple of workers genuinely trying to help the young homeless etc etc. In particular I remember the reconstruction of the murder which seemed shockingly candid for the time. I too would be very interested to see the film again.

  18. #18
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    In the late 70's I was dragged to a "Free Hugh Cornwell" (The Stranglers) concert in North London. After the show we waited for a mini cab - once in the cab I realised the taxi despatcher was Gleaves. I said to my cabbie, "That's the Bishop isn't it ? " and the driver replied that I wasn't the first one to make that observation. I don't think he knew who The Bishop was.

  19. #19
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    Very interesting thread. I was 15 when the documentaries were shown, and they had a big impact on me and all my mates at the time. endless playground dicussions etc.

  20. #20
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    Johnny Come Home was distributed for a short time by Concord Film Council (now known as Concord Media) A Quaker charity. However the film had to be withdrawn because Gleaves sued for deformation of character or similar!

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