Set against the backdrop of a rundown terraced street in London’s East End that’s been earmarked for redevelopment, actor/director David Hemmings’ gritty urban drama follows 17-year-old Reg (Jack Wild), the eldest of 14 orphaned children, as he struggles to keep his family together following the sudden death of their mother (June Brown).
When social workers take the youngest children into custody, Reg and his siblings go on the run, with one of their lot taking the family’s story to the newspapers.
After a stint at a Catholic reform school, Reg reunites with his girlfriend, single mother Reena (Cheryl Hall), before rounding up the children and returning to their mother’s boarded up home to spend what could be their last Christmas together as a family.
Most of the children, excluding Jack Wild – famous for H.R. Pufnstuf (1969 – 1971) and as the Artful Dodger in Oliver! (1968) – were non-actors, which gave the film a docu-drama feel.
Released in some markets as Existence and The Wild Little Bunch, the movie is based on the real story of a family of Birmingham orphans who were eventually relocated as a family to a Cornish farm.
Mrs Booth (“Aunty Rose”)
Mark Lee Hughes
Nun in Shower
Child Welfare Officer