Jim Morris’s Blood on the Dole, adapted from his own stage play, tells the story of four Liverpool school-leavers looking for work and facing adulthood.
Insolent, angry but wily under-achiever Joey Jackson (Stephen Walters) is best mates with slow, goodhearted Ricky Jones (Philip Dowd). The boys are out to impress fellow ex-pupils Cathy Thompson (Suzanne Maddock) and Jean Kavanagh (Rachel Caldwell), but in a recession-hit Liverpool, the comforts and freedoms of a living wage are a tough ask.
Joey’s amorous intentions are thwarted when Cathy begins an affair with predatory teacher David Williams (Aneirin Hughes). Meanwhile Jean, tired of waiting for Ricky to make his move, snogs a stranger and moves on.
Drifting between the dole office and low-paid, seasonal, barely legal gigs they each try their best to piece together a potential future. When Ricky joins the Army and goes to serve in Northern Ireland, all their lives are changed forever.
The other films in Channel Four’s Alan Bleasdale Presents collection are: Requiem Apache, Pleasure and Self-Catering.