Lady Chatterley's Lover, the F word and Penguin Books
The programme was a combination of fact (the transcript from the court proceedings) and fiction (the effect of the trial on two of the jurors). As the proceedings went on, these two jurors began and pursued an affair, initiated, in part by the fact that they were required to do a kind of group read of the book. She was a divorced and experienced woman, he was a younger, and much more naive, married man, whose wife was expecting a baby. Eventually passages from the book and their interpretation by experts led these two jurors to question the morality of what they were doing and by the end of the case they had decided that the affair must also end.
Lady Chatterley's Lover, it turned out, was not a corrupting influence at all. In fact it was the opposite - it examined the sanctity of the monogamous sexual relationship, supported loyalty and faithfulness, and explored the themes of beauty and honesty particularly between the working and upper classes in pre-war England.
I thought it was particularly interesting how D H Lawrence's use of the word 'fuck' was defended. Apparently he believed that the word should be used for the sexual act and and was demeaned when used frequently as a swear word. He thought it a pure word which had a proper place in the English language and in literature.
I was also interested to hear that the publisher Allen Lane set out to found Penguin books for the working man (or woman). He wanted books to be accessible and the same price as a packet of 10 cigarettes. I am so glad he won the case. He was, he said, willing to go to jail in order to defend his right to publish the book. My parents always had a great deal of respect for Penguin books - and now I think I know why.