Shoulder to Shoulder: Female Suffrage, Second-Wave Feminism and Feminist TV Drama in the 1970s

Birkbeck Institute of the Humanities, in association with Birkbeck Institute of the Moving Image and the CATH Research Centre, De Montfort University. 2014 marks 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. Date:                Thursday 15 and Friday 16 May 2014 Venue:             Birkbeck Cinema, 43 Gordon Square 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)
This will be followed by a wine reception in Peltz Gallery, from 5-7pm. 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. Awakenings Sally Heathcote, Suffragette, Dr. Mary Talbot, feminist graphic novelist This will be followed by a book signing of Sally Heathcote, Suffragette, in the Peltz Gallery, between 4.30-6pm, by its authors Mary and Bryan Talbot and Kate Charlesworth 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.