Watching Ken Loach’s most recent film ‘The Spirit of ‘45’ reminded me of a letter I received from fellow film director Lindsay Anderson written in the last week of his life in August 1994. Anticipating Ken Loach I had tracked down the surviving cast of Humphrey Jennings’s seminal documentary ‘A Diary for Timothy’, described by his biographer as “the best evocation, in film or any other medium, of the reasons why the country ‘went Labour’ at the 1945 elections’ and I had asked Lindsay Anderson if he would like to direct the sequel, in which the cast contrasted Thatcher’s Britain with their hopes and fears of 50 years before? Anderson told me that Jennings’s vision had long gone and he could think of nothing to replace it. He concluded, “Things have turned out so very differently from the way Humphrey Jennings hoped. I feel too discouraged by the way things have gone and are going to be. I’m sorry about this”.
The article goes on to relate what happened to the symbolic characters in Diary for Timothy – the fighter pilot, the farmer and miner as well as to Timothy himself and his mother.