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‘To me politics is a load of rubbish’: this sharply edited Granada documentary covers the 1967 by-election in Gorton

Documentary 1967 28 mins


“Grim, dull, grimy, working-class Gorton”, as it's described by one local, hosts a heated by-election and the Granada TV team is there in the north Manchester town to capture the action. While the local male electorate is disenchanted by the downsizing of industry and unemployment in the area, some local women are smitten with the dashing Conservative candidate Winston Churchill, Sir Winston Churchill’s grandson.

Taut editing and innovative use of sound speaks of 1960s TV documentary luminary Denis Mitchell’s involvement in the film – he is credited as executive producer. Labour candidate Ken Marks, the headmaster of Clough Top Secondary Modern School in nearby Blackley, narrowly retains Labour’s seat in the north Manchester constituency. Thanks to the importance of the by-election to Prime Minister Harold Wilson, whose popularity was waning, and the presence of ‘glamour candidate’ 27-year-old Winston Churchill, reporters from as far as Holland, Germany to the United States flocked to the cold, wet streets of this northern industrial enclave.