Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Made In Dagenham

Saw Made in Dagenham at the Romford Vue the other week. It’s been quite a year for Essex films. We’ve had Sex and Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll about Ian Dury and then Oil City Confidential, an excellent homage to Canvey Island and Dr Feelgood. Hollywood Romford indeed.

It’s a bit Carry On Striking at times and the young actresses are obviously more glamorous and sixties than their real-life counterparts. But Nigel Cole’s film tells a great story about the Ford strike for equal pay for women in 1967 and it’s astonishing that it was so recently that this basic right had to be fought for.

Sally Hawkins gives a fine performance as Rita O’Grady, a cipher for all the women who fought against the Labour government, Ford bosses and some of their male colleagues.

It’s also the only film to ever mention Warley, where the strikers’ had meetings with the Ford management. When I was growing up I thought it was simply called “Warleyfords”, as that’s what the bus stop was called.

On the way to Ford the corrupt union officials stop at a Berni Inn, then the height of sophistication. Indeed, Sugar Hut in Brentwood was once the White Hart, which was a Berni Inn with steak, chips, peas, mushrooms, Blue Nun, and not a vajazzle in height.

Made In Dagenham
certainly makes you want to go and check out the Ford plant. Billy Bragg wrote the lyrics to the theme song too. You wonder if there’s a modern-day Bruce Springsteen or Eminem around ready to immortalize the land of motors, A roads and blue-collar life?

Dagenham — it’s the Detroit of Essex.

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