Dead Cat

Posted on Jun 02nd 2013

I’ve been thinking about Up The Women, Jessica Hynes’ new Suffragette sitcom on BBC4 and wishing the first episode had reflected more of the (occasionally farcical) chaos that constituted much of the real-life movement, alongside the terrible brutality; a kind of gallows humour was often to be found at its core.

One startling story, which appears as a brief sketch in the book, regards the hurling of a dead cat at a Cabinet minister during a public meeting, after which, to quote the press of the time, ‘a general fight ensued.’ I love the understatement of that line, and the mental picture it creates; more The Young Ones than Dad’s Army, while Jessica Hynes’ show is being frequently compared to the latter.

Why does anything to do with the Suffragettes always seem to carry a stultifying air of politenessabout it? A bubble of (mis)perception we seem intent on keeping these people held inside.

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