This exchange of letters was given to me by David Rose several years ago.
Mary Whitehouse, in capacity of General Secretary of the National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association, which she established, complained about many television programmes from the 1960s onwards. The 1975 ‘Play for Today’, Gangsters, clearly wasn’t to her taste, because of its violence, and ‘coarseness’. David Rose’s response defends the themes and tone of the film, as well as stating its public acclaim. I suspect that it felt like a badge of honour to provoke this kind of complaint from Mary Whitehouse: a way of gauging that the point of the play had been successfully made to the audience!
The following comment was left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:
Jane Partridge: ‘Did you know the lady herself was a visiting speaker for the Royal Television Society Midland Centre’s meeting at Pebble Mill? It would have been somewhere around 1979-1980, possibly early 1981 (but definitely before June that year when I had to change departments). John Grantham was Secretary of the Midland Centre, and as his secretary, I had the job of meeting Mrs Whitehouse in Reception and taking her up to the room we used for the meetings. She was, in fact, a very nice person.’