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Tuesday, 13 March, 2001, 13:32 GMT
Director Loach slams TV news
Ken Loach
Loach: 'I have always gone against the current'
British film-maker Ken Loach has spoken out against the "destruction" of some of British TV's flagship news and current affairs programmes.

In a Radio Times interview, the director of hard-hitting classics such as Cathy Come Home said producers had become scared of showing the hard facts.

In particular, Loach complained about the "destruction" of ITV's series World in Action.


The destruction of World in Action was one of the television crimes of the century

Ken Loach

He also hit out at the BBC, calling the corporation "cowardly" over its change to the format of its own leading news programme Panorama.

"We had major investigations into Cambodia, Vietnam and so on and they were a real contribution to the democratic process," Loach told journalist Andrew Duncan.

"The destruction of World in Action was one of the television crimes of the century.

"It's become absorbed into Tonight - with Trevor McDonald which is just dreadful, a gossip column.

"The BBC is cowardly to follow with the destruction of Panorama."

'Villains'

Loach has made a career from being outspoken and brazen in his tackling of difficult social issues.

Most of his movies have been set in the impoverished areas of the North of England. Cathy Come Home, for example, dealt with teenage pregnancy in the 1960s.

Ken Loach movies
Cathy Come Home - 1965
Kes - 1969
Family life - 1972
Black Jack - 1979
Raining Stones - 1993
Carla's Song - 1996
My Name is Joe - 1998
Bread and Roses - 2001

Kes, on the other hand, dealt with the touching story of a poor boy who finds comfort in training a bird of prey.

But most critics would call Loach anti-establishment and, in his interview with Duncan, the director agreed.

He told Duncan that he rejected the OBE conferred on him in the 70s because he has "always gone against the current".

He added that he had no respect for the ideals represented by the honour.

"It's all the things I think are despicable: patronage, deferring to the monarchy and the name of the British Empire, which is a monument of exploitation and conquest.

"I turned down the OBE because it's not a club you want to join when you look at the villains who've got it."

His latest and 31st film Bread and Roses is characteristically down-to-earth and to the point.

It centres on the exploitation of illegal immigrant Hispanic office cleaners in Los Angeles.

The movie is released in the UK at the end of April but it took Loach more than two years to find a distributor in the US.

Now that he has, Loach is realistic about his film's potential box office success.

"I don't know if they will like it or not. It polarised audiences. Some respond warmly. Others are hostile," he said.

"It's about a side of LA that's hidden, or depicted in stereotypes of clichéd Mexicans - drug dealers and prostitutes."

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See also:

11 May 00 | Entertainment
Loach's Cannes call for immigrants
11 May 00 | Entertainment
Loach leads way in Cannes
09 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Director brings Romance to 'uptight' Brits
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