Sheela-na-Gig aka Jeanne Rathbone

Up the Junction screening with Nell Dunn presented by the Battersea Society at the Dyson Building Royal College of Art Battersea Bridge Road 25th February 2015 at 7.30

Posted in UP THE JUNCTION film with Nell Dunn Q& Aat Dyson Building 25th Feb 2015 at 7.30 by sheelanagigcomedienne on February 2, 2015

The Battersea Society is presenting a screening of the film UP THE JUNCTION with Nell Dunn for a Q&A at the Dyson Theatre in The Dyson Building of the Royal college of Art  Hester Street/Battersea Bridge Road on Wednesday 25th February 2015 at 7 for 7.30. Admission £5. Great value. Please reserve place by ringing Maureen on 7228 4873 or email

Come along and see this iconic and evocative film of life in Battersea in the 60s in Battersea with a Battersea audience with Nell Dunn.


Royal College of Art | Postgraduate Art and Design University

Up the Junction book cover


The College has a new, purpose-built campus in Battersea, which houses the School of Fine Art – the Painting, Photography, Printmaking and Sculpture programmes – as well as InnovationRCA and the Moving Image Studio. Dyson BuildingDyson Lecture Theatre and River Foyer at Hester Road are accessible via lifts.

It should be an interesting evening with this screening in Battersea of this film made in 1968 usually described as ‘gritty’ with Nell Dunn of the adaption of her book who also wrote the screenplay. Today the film is often fondly remembered by fans of sixties cinema for its south London setting, colorful mod fashions, beehive hairdos, boastful bikers and jazzy psychedelic pop score by Manfred Mann. But UP THE JUNCTION has more to offer viewers besides an abundance of great style and an unforgettable soundtrack.

upjposterup the J manfred mann  UPJ Waterman







Nell Dunn left her middle-class home and moved to Battersea where she began to write about the area and the people she encountered there. Some critics understandably accused her of ‘slumming’ after Up the Junction was published but Dunn’s writing is sharp, perceptive and nonjudgmental. She had a wonderful ear for dialogue that painted an intimate portrait of the working-class women she befriended.

Nell Dunn by Lord Snowdon

Nell Dunn by Lord Snowdon

Nell Dunn


Nell Dunn recently wrote a play HOME DEATH  Award-winning writer Nell Dunn on her new play, Home Death  She wrote  Home Death because after the death of her partner Dan at home, she realised  that she knew so little about how to comfort and take care of the dying. She began to ask other people, and what she learned she put into the play. The main impetus was curiosity – a desperation to know. This has, of course, very much resonated with those of us involved in death and funerals.

Rough, Raw & Randy: UP THE JUNCTION (1968)

Kimberley Lindbergs wrote: UP THE JUNCTION presents a gritty snapshot of postwar Britain. The film adaptation centres around a pretty, well-heeled and naïve 21-year-old woman named Polly (Suzy Kendall) who decides to abandon her swinging lifestyle in Chelsea and move to Battersea. Polly sees poverty stricken Battersea as a kinder and simpler alternative to the posh and pompous world she grew up in but the war torn houses that litter the streets and the ragged faces that occupy them tell us another story.

Up-The-Junction- 3 girls in arms

Director Peter Collinson is probably best known for his classic crime caper THE ITALIAN JOB (1969), which starred Michael Caine.  Collinson, who came from a broken home and grew up in an orphanage, was no stranger to poverty and adversity so it’s not surprising that he was drawn to Nell Dunn’s vivid descriptions of life in South London. Dunn was one of the few women writers who came to prominence during the British New Wave, which is often associated with Angry Young Men such as John Osborne, Kingsley Amis, Alan Sillitoe and David Storey.

UPJ girls singing

Up The Junction – pub scene (1968) – YouTube

After getting a humble job at a candy factory, Polly befriends two fun-loving sisters (Adrienne Post and Maureen Lipman) and falls for a working-class lad named Peter (Dennis Waterman).Up The Junction Intro – YouTube

Polly’s innocence, determination and optimism are refreshing to Peter but her sheltered existence has also made Polly somewhat immune to the hardships faced by her less fortunate neighbors and their budding romance is complicated by Peter’s desire to have the kind of luxurious life that Polly happily left behind starring Dennis Waterman, Suzy Kendall, Adrienne Posta, Maureen Lipman and Liz Fraser.upjunction and power station

The motorbike clip coming on a fracas.Up The Junction Clip – YouTube

The bigoted landlords, abusive husbands, lack of gainful employment and back alley abortions might not make much of an impact on pretty Polly but the film doesn’t shy away from showing us the bleaker aspects of this poor London borough. The film ends on a downbeat note suggesting that any happiness is hard gained and fleeting no matter what side of the tracks you come from but Polly’s naiveté remains intact.

The Power Station clip . Up The Junction Scene 2 – YouTube

up-the-junction-ws-rmst_360 The film looks stunning on Blu-ray thanks to Olive Films’ pristine widescreen disc. Colors pop and the gritty streets of Battersea have never looked more alive.

upj women

This should be a great evening as the oldies reminisce about Battersea then and the younger folk look amazed at how things have changed – how radical, socialist Battersea became gentrified and and is now a Tory Borough vying with its neighbour Westminster Council as it oversees a huge transformation of north Battersea from Nine Elms at Vauxhall back to the Power station site in one of the biggest regeneration sites in Europe.

I worked as a laboratory technician in Gartons Glucose, next to Price’s Candle Factory, in 1966 and have seen those changes too as I arrived from Ireland initially in 1962. Price’s was built on the site of York House, a London home of the Bishop of York and where it has been claimed Henry V111 first met Anne Boleyn.

My friend Joan O’Pray was pregnant in 1967 when Up the Junction was being filmed as she walked through Clapham Junction Station Approach and was asked if she could be filmed walking along as they told her they were making a film about a pregnant woman! However, she didn’t make the final cut but she will be at the screening.


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