- Mary Whitehouse
Mary Whitehouse, CBE (born Constance Mary Hutcheson, 13 June 1910 – 23 November 2001) was a British campaigner against the permissive society particularly as the media portrayed and reflected it. The motivation for her activities derived from her traditional Christian beliefs, her personal strong political conservatism and her work as a teacher of sex education.
She became a public figure via the 'Clean-Up TV' pressure group, established in 1964, in which she was the most prominent figure. Whitehouse particularly found a lack of accountability in the BBC, an organisation pursuing radical changes in its broadcasting policies at this time. At the beginning of the 1970s she broadened her activities, and was a leading figure in the Nationwide Festival of Light, a Christian campaign which gained mass support; she initiated private prosecutions against Gay News and the director of the theatre play The Romans in Britain.
She was the founder in 1965 and first president of the National Viewers' and Listeners' Association.
- 1 Early life
- 2 "Clean Up TV" campaign and the NVALA
- 3 Other campaigns and private prosecutions
- 4 Later years and assessments of her influence
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 Bibliography
- 8 External links
Born in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England, Whitehouse won a scholarship to Chester City Grammar School. On leaving, she did two years of unpaid apprentice teaching at St John's School, Chester, and attended the Cheshire County Teacher Training College in Crewe, specialising in secondary school art teaching. Hutcheson was involved with the Student Christian Movement before qualifying in 1932. She became an art teacher at Lichfield Road School, Wednesfield, Staffordshire, where she stayed for eight years.
She joined the Oxford Group, later known as Moral Re-Armament (MRA), in the 1930s. At MRA meetings, she met Ernest Raymond Whitehouse; they married in 1940 and remained married until Ernest's death, in Colchester, aged 87, in 2000. The couple had five sons, two of whom (twins) died in infancy.
After raising her children and returning to teaching in 1953, she taught art at Madeley Modern School in Shropshire from 1960, in due course taking up responsibility for sex education. Shocked at the response of her pupils to moral issues, she became concerned about what she and many others perceived as declining moral standards in the British media, especially in the BBC.
"Clean Up TV" campaign and the NVALA
Mary Whitehouse began her activism in 1963 with a letter to the BBC requesting to see Hugh Greene, the BBC's Director General. Greene was out of the country at the time; she accepted an invitation to meet Harman Grisewood, his deputy, a Roman Catholic who she felt listened to her with understanding, but over the next few months continued to be dissatisfied with what she saw on television. With Norah Buckland, the wife of a vicar, she launched the 'Clean Up TV Campaign' in January 1964 with a manifesto appealing to the "women of Britain". The campaign's first public meeting on 4 May 1964 was held in Birmingham's Town Hall. Richard Whitehouse, one of her sons, recalled in 2008: "Coaches arrived from all over the country. Two thousand people poured in and suddenly there was my mother on a podium inspiring them to rapturous applause. Her hands were shaking. But she didn't stop". The academic Richard Hoggart, though he regularly clashed with Whitehouse, shared some of her opinions and the platform with her at this first public meeting.
Sir Hugh Greene was, for Whitehouse, "more than anybody else [...] responsible for the moral collapse in this country". The CUTV manifesto claimed that the BBC under Greene spread "the propaganda of disbelief, doubt and dirt ... promiscuity, infidelity and drinking". In place of this, the authors argued, the Corporation's activities should "encourage and sustain faith in God and bring Him back to the hearts of our family and national life." The 'Clean Up TV' petition, using the manifesto, gained a total of 500,000 signatures. Whitehouse complained in 1993 that during Hugh Greene's period at the BBC, "hardly a week went by without a sniping reference to me". Whitehouse's critics did respond quickly. The playwright David Turner had heckled her at the Birmingham Town Hall, his work was criticised during the meeting, and within a few months Swizzlewick, a twice-weekly series he had created, featured a parody of her.
In a speech given in 1965 Greene argued that the critics of his liberalisation of broadcasting policy, not naming Mrs Whitehouse directly, would "attack whatever does not underwrite a set of prior assumptions", and saw the potential for "a dangerous form of censorship...which works by causing artists and writers not to take risks." He defended the right of the Corporation "to be ahead of public opinion." Sir Hugh Greene himself ignored Whitehouse, blocked her from participation in BBC broadcasts and purchased a painting of Whitehouse with five breasts by James Lawrence Isherwood.
The National Viewers' and Listeners' Association (now known as mediawatch-uk) was formally launched to succeed the CUTV campaign in November 1965, replacing what they themselves perceived as CUTV's negativity, with an active campaign for legislative change. The NVALA eventually gained about 150,000 members.
Through the letters she frequently sent to Harold Wilson, then Prime Minister, Whitehouse caused particular difficulties for civil servants at 10 Downing Street. These letters expressed her belief that, through the Royal Charter, ultimate responsibility for BBC output lay with the Government, rather than with the BBC's governors whom she felt to be failing in their duties. For some time Downing Street intentionally "lost" her letters to avoid having to respond to them. Geoffrey Robertson, QC, suggests that when Greene left the BBC, in 1969, contrary to the view that it was because of disagreements over the appointment of the Conservative Lord Hill as BBC chairman in 1967, whereby she could be given some credit for his departure, it was more to do with a political struggle between the BBC and Wilson. Hill was prepared to meet Whitehouse at Broadcasting House.
Whitehouse criticised the work of Dennis Potter from Son of Man (1969) onwards, she thought the BBC was at the centre "of a conspiracy to remove the myth of god from the minds of men", and A Clockwork Orange (1971). In the case of the violence in A Clockwork Orange, she rejected any attempt to show a 'copycat' correlation in academic studies, but urged its acceptance as a fact arrived at by common sense.
The satirical comedy Till Death Us Do Part attacked many of the things Whitehouse cherished. She objected to its profane language: "I doubt if many people would use 121 bloodies in half-an-hour", and "Bad language coarsens the whole quality of our life. It normalises harsh, often indecent language, which despoils our communication." Whitehouse and the NVALA won a libel action with a full apology and substantial damages against the series' writer Johnny Speight after he implied in an interview that the organisation's members and its head were fascists. Shortly after the court case was concluded she was mocked in an episode of the series itself entitled "Alf's Dilemma" (27 February 1967) where Alf Garnett is seen reading her book Cleaning Up TV and agreeing with every word. She was also critical of comedians such as Benny Hill and his use of dancers, she described Dave Allen as "offensive, indecent and embarrassing" after a comic account of a conversation following sexual intercourse. Comedy writers during this era other than Speight did see her as possessing humorous potential in return. The Goodies comedy team created an episode of their series entitled "Gender Education" (1971) with the principal objective of irritating her.
War coverage met her ire. During his brief period as editor of Panorama (1965-66), Jeremy Isaacs received a letter from Whitehouse complaining about his decision to repeat Richard Dimbleby's coverage of the liberation of the Belsen concentration camp. She complained about this "filth" being allowed on air as "it was bound to shock and offend". In a 1994 interview, Whitehouse continued to maintain that it was "an awful intrusion" and "very off-putting".
The Vietnam War, "the first 'television war'", gained extensive coverage during the early part of her public career. She felt such war coverage proved the medium was "an ally of pacifism". In a 1970 speech to the Royal College of Nursing she argued: "However good the cause ... the horrific effects on men and terrain of modern warfare as seen on the televion screen could well sap the will of a nation to safeguard its own freedom, let alone resist the forces of evil abroad." Trying to reconcile this "pacifism" with her objection to fictional violence, she saw such news coverage as "desensitisation" in which the media use the "techniques of violence" to raise "impact" in order "to satisfy an apparently insatiable demand for realism."
She claimed that Doctor Who had nightmarish qualities, saying it "contains some of the sickest, most horrible material" and describing it as "teatime brutality for tots". Between 1975 and 1977, while Tom Baker played the Doctor and Philip Hinchcliffe was the series producer, she made complaints about several serials. A dramatic incident in "The Seeds of Doom" led to her arguing that the programme was preoccupied by "strangulation - by hand, by claw, by obscene vegetable matter - is the latest gimmick, sufficiently close up so they get the point. And just for a little variety show the children how to make a Molotov Cocktail." Following "The Deadly Assassin" in 1976, she wrote her strongest letter of complaint yet to the BBC about the content of the serial and received an apology from Director-General Charles Curran. The freeze-frame ending to the third episode, in which Tom Baker appeared to be drowning, was subsequently edited. The BBC ordered the series' next producer, Graham Williams, to lighten the tone and reduce the violence and horror following Whitehouse's complaints. Senior television executives commented that at this time her views were not disregarded lightly.
Her supporters have asserted that the Whitehouse campaigns helped end Channel 4's "red triangle" series of films in 1986; claimed by Channel 4 to be intended to warn viewers of material liable to cause offence, the broadcasting of these films with the triangle had also received criticism from non-supporters of Whitehouse. She also said to have had a role in the 1990 extension of the Broadcasting Act and the establishment of the Broadcasting Standards Council, which later became the Broadcasting Standards Commission (in 2004, this was subsumed into the Office of Communications).
In 1990, Whitehouse claimed when invited on to In the Psychiatrist's Chair (BBC Radio) that Dennis Potter had been influenced by witnessing his mother being engaged in adulterous sexual activity. Potter's mother won substantial damages from the BBC and The Listener, Her own favourite programmes were Dixon of Dock Green, Neighbours, and coverage of snooker.
Whitehouse's early campaign and her disagreements with the BBC under Sir Hugh Greene were the basis of a drama first broadcast in 2008 entitled Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story, written by Amanda Coe. Julie Walters played the part of Mary Whitehouse, Alun Armstrong played her husband Ernest, and Hugh Bonneville played Greene.
Other campaigns and private prosecutions
Whitehouse had taken up other campaigns against the permissive society by the early 1970s. She objected to the UK edition of The Little Red Schoolbook, "'a manual of children's rights'" on sex, drugs and attitudes to adults, which was successfully prosecuted for obscenity in July 1971. Originally published in Denmark where, according to Whitehouse, it had done "incalculable damage" and was "a revolutionary primer", in which "open rebellion against the 'system', be it school, parents or authority generally, was openly advocated, while children were constantly exhorted to collect evidence against teachers of alleged injustices or anything which was likely to enhance revolution." She was "greatly relieved - for the sake of the children" at the £50 fine and £115.50 costs imposed on Richard Handyside and Geoffrey Collins, its publishers, who also had works by Che Guevara and Fidel Castro on his small list of publications. For Whitehouse it was a "fundamental right of a child to be a child" and "the duty of mature people to ensure that childhood is protected against the inroads of those who would exploit its immaturity for political, social or personal gain."
Along with the (Catholic) Labour peer Lord Longford, a campaigner against pornography, Malcolm Muggeridge and Cliff Richard Whitehouse was a leading figure in the Nationwide Festival of Light, which protested against the commercial exploitation of sex and violence in Britain. The Festival's mass "rally against permissiveness" in Trafalgar Square was attended by 50,000 people in September 1971. That same year she had an audience with Pope Paul VI regarding 'moral pollution'.
Following the release on appeal of the defendants in the Oz trial, "an unmitigated disaster for the children of our country", Whitehouse launched the Nationwide Petition for Public Decency in January 1972, which had gained 1.35 million signatures by the time it was presented to Edward Heath in April 1973. She had around 300 speaking engagements during the period of her highest profile. In 1975 a pornographic magazine, Whitehouse was launched by publisher David Sullivan.
Whitehouse used private prosecutions in a number of cases where an official action was not forthcoming. She was the plaintiff in a charge of blasphemous libel against Gay News in 1977 (Whitehouse v. Lemon). It was the first such prosecution since 1922. "I simply had to protect Our Lord," said Mrs Whitehouse at the time, though both the Archbishop of Canterbury Donald Coggan and Cardinal Basil Hume declined Whitehouse's invitation for them to give evidence at the trial.
The private prosecution concerned a poem, "The Love that Dares to Speak its Name" by James Kirkup, a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, about the sexual fantasies of a Roman Centurion about the body of Jesus Christ. Denis Lemon, Gay News editor and owner, had published the poem on the basis that the "message and intention of the poem was to celebrate the absolute universality of God's love." Gay News lost the case; the jury decided the case on a 10-2 majority. Lemon and his paper were fined, with Lemon receiving a nine-month suspended prison sentence. The Court of Appeal and the House of Lords dismissed appeals, although Lemon’s sentence was quashed.
Geoffrey Robertson, QC (the barrister for Gay News in the case) described Whitehouse as homophobic in The Times in 2008, saying: "Her fear of homosexuals was visceral". He describes the beliefs she reveals in her book, Whatever Happened to Sex? as "nonsense", such as her assertion that "homosexuality was caused by abnormal parental sex 'during pregnancy or just after'", saying that for her, "being gay was like having acne: 'Psychiatric literature proves that 60 per cent of homosexuals who go for treatment get completely cured'”. The Scotsman, in 2008, while asking whether society might have benefited from Whitehouse's campaign, also points to this case when it said "Whitehouse’s views on homosexuality were extraordinarily prejudiced".
The Romans in Britain
In 1982 she pursued another private prosecution, this time against Michael Bogdanov, the director of a National Theatre production of Howard Brenton's The Romans in Britain, a play which "drew a direct parallel between the Roman invasion of Celtic Britain in 54BC and the contemporary British presence in Northern Ireland." The First Act contains "a brief scene" of (simulated) anal rape, but the Police had visited the production three times and found no basis for legal action. In the private prosecution Whitehouse's counsel claimed Section 13 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956, which described the offence of "procuring an act of gross indecency", was applicable. Because this was a general Act, there was no possibility of defence on the basis of artistic merit, unlike that permitted under the Obscene Publications Act.
Since Whitehouse had not herself seen the play, the prosecution evidence rested on the testimony of her solicitor, Graham Ross-Cornes, who claimed he saw the actor's penis, but had seen the play from the back row of the stalls 90 feet from the stage. Lord Hutchinson, counsel for Bogdanov, was able to demonstrate the nature of the illusion performed on stage. This was achieved by suggesting that it may have been the actor's thumb protruding from his fist, rather than his erect penis. The defence had argued that the Act did not apply to the theatre; the judge then ruled that it did. The action was withdrawn after the Prosecution counsel told Whitehouse that he was unable to continue with the case; the litigation was ended by the Attorney General putting forward a plea of nolle prosequi. Both sides claimed a victory though, the plaintiff's side that the important legal point had been made with the ruling on the applicability of the Sexual Offences Act, while Bogdanov said it was because she knew that he would not be convicted. Mrs Whitehouse was ordered to pay £14,000 costs.
The case was the subject of a radio play, Mark Lawson's The Third Soldier Holds His Thighs, on BBC Radio 4 in 2005. Whitehouse's account of the trial is recorded in A Most Dangerous Woman (ISBN 0-85648-540-3); she wrote that she was of the opinion that the legal point had been established, and they had no wish to criminalise Bogdanov, the play's director.
Margaret Thatcher's government
By the 1980s, Mary Whitehouse had found a more powerful ally in the Conservative government, particularly in Margaret Thatcher herself, whose government's support base partially consisted of Christians and social conservatives. It has been claimed though, that the market orientation of the Thatcher government actually prejudiced that government against Whitehouse in private.
Whitehouse's supporters on the other hand have claimed that her efforts played a part in the passage of the Protection of Children Act 1978 and the Indecent Displays (Control) Act 1981, which concerned sex shops. In 1984, she mounted a decisive campaign in the United Kingdom about "video nasties", which led to the Video Recordings Act of that year.
Later years and assessments of her influence
Mary Whitehouse was appointed a CBE in 1980. In 1988, she suffered a spinal injury in a fall, which severely curbed her campaigning activities. Whitehouse retired as president of the National Viewers' and Listeners' Association in 1994; the Association was re-named Mediawatch-uk in 2001. She died, aged 91, in a nursing home in Colchester, Essex on 23 November 2001.
The journalist Mary Kenny believes "Mary Whitehouse was a significant figure. Some of her battles were justified, even prophetic. Today her attacks on ‘kiddie porn’ would be widely supported." Despite earlier clashes, Michael Grade said of her: "She was very witty, she was a great debater, she was very courageous and she had a very sincere view, but it was out of touch entirely with the real world." The comedian Bernard Manning also commented, "She'll be sadly missed, I imagine, but not by me." The academic Richard Hoggart observed: "her main focus was on sex, followed by bad language and violence. Odd: if she had reversed the order, she might have been more effective."
Writing in the Dictionary of National Biography, the philosopher Mary Warnock comments, "Even if her campaigning did not succeed in ‘cleaning up TV’, still less in making it more fit to watch in other ways, she was of serious intent, and was an influence for good at a crucial stage in the development both of the BBC and of ITV. She was not, as the BBC seemed officially to proclaim, a mere figure of fun."
- Culture Wars
- Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story
- John Beyer
- Whitehouse v Lemon
- The Pink Floyd song "Pigs (Three Different Ones)"
- ^ a b c d e Obituary, Daily Telegraph, 24 November 2001
- ^ "England and Wales Deaths 1984-2006". Findmypast.com. http://www.findmypast.com/BirthsMarriagesDeaths.jsp. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
- ^ a b Mary Warnock "Whitehouse [née Hutcheson], (Constance) Marywhitehouse, Mary", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
- ^ a b c d e Jonathan Brown "Mary Whitehouse: To some a crank, to others a warrior", The Independent, 24 November 2001
- ^ Tracey and Morrison Whitehouse, London: Macmillan, 1979, p.41
- ^ a b Asa Briggs The History of Broadcasting in the United Kingdom, Volume 5, Oxford: Oxford University Press, p.332, 334
- ^ a b c d David Winter Obituary, The Independent, 24 November 2001
- ^ Elizabeth Udall "Mary Whitehouse: 'Sometimes I denied she was my mother'", Daily Telegraph, 27 May 2008
- ^ a b Richard Hoggart "Valid arguments lost in an obsession over sex", The Guardian, 24 November 2001. Hoggart is mistaken here in thinking he could have referred to Dennis Potter's plays on 4 May 1964, as Potter's earliest work in this form, The Confidence Course, was not transmitted until 24 February 1965.
- ^ a b c d Dennis Barker "Mary Whitehouse: Self-appointed campaigner against the permissive society on television", The Guardian, 24 November 2001
- ^ a b Mary Whitehouse quoted by David Stubbs "The moral minority", The Guardian, 24 May 2008
- ^ Quoted in Dominic Sandbrook White Heat, London: Little, Brown, 2006, p.544
- ^ The full manifesto is quoted in Roy Shaw "Television: Freedom and Responsibility", New Blackfriars, no.553, June 1966, p.453
- ^ Reprinted in Sir Hugh Greene The Third Floor Front: A View of Broadcasting in the Sixties, London: The Bodley Head, 1969, p.100-1
- ^ Michael Tracey and David Morrison Whitehouse, London: Macmillan, 1979, p.47
- ^ a b Alan Travis Bound and Gagged: A Secret History of Censorship in Britain, Profile Books, 2000, p231-2
- ^ a b c Robertson, Geoffrey (24 May 2008). "The Mary Whitehouse Story: Mary, quite contrary". Times (London). http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/tv_and_radio/article3983978.ece.
- ^ Robert Hewison Too Much: Art and Society in the Sixties, 1960-75, New York: Oxford University Press, 1987, p.33 (Published by Methuen, London in 1986)
- ^ Quoted by Boris Ford The Cambridge Cultural History of Britain: Modern Britain, Cambridge University Press, 1992, p.24
- ^ Michael Tracey and David Morrison Whitehouse, London: Macmillan, 1979, p.84
- ^ a b Mark Ward "A Family at War: Till Death Do Us Part", The Main Event (Kaleidoscope brochure) 1996
- ^ Patrick Newley Obituary: Dave Allen, The Stage, 15 March 2005
- ^ Alan Rosenthal The New Documentary in Action: a Casebook in Film Making, Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1972, p.95, 96
- ^ Allison Pearson "Television: Mary, Mary, quite contrary ", The Independent, 29 May 1994. The interviews with Isaacs and Whitehouse were contained within The Late Show: The Mary Whitehouse Story, which was, according to the BFI Film & TV database, transmitted on 23 May 1994. See the BFI site also for a synopsis of this programme.
- ^ A much used description, see for example Daniel Hallin "Vietnam on Television", The Museum of Broadcast Communications website
- ^ a b c d Mary Whitehouse 'Promoting Violence', Royal College of Nursing in the UK Professional Conference, The Violent Society, 5 April 1970, quoted in Tracey and Morrison Whitehouse, London: Macmillan, 1979, p.86-87, 205, n.27
- ^ "David Maloney". The Independent (London). 10 August 2006. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/david-maloney-411226.html. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
- ^ Mary Whitehouse quoted by Dominic Sandbrook State of Emergency, The Way We Were: Britain 1970-74, London: Allen Lane, 2010, p.461-62
- ^ The full quote is in Tracey and Morrison, p.85
- ^ a b ""Whitehouse 'kept TV on its toes'", BBC obituary, 23 November 2001". BBC News. 2001-11-23. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/tv_and_radio/1673258.stm. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
- ^ Mark Lawson "Watching the detective", The Guardian, 31 October 2003.
- ^ John R. Cook Dennis Potter: A Life on Screen, Manchester University Press, 1998, p.350, n.82
- ^ Ben Dowell "Mary Whitehouse drama heads for BBC", The Guardian, 21 July 2008
- ^ Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story BBC2
- ^ Jonathon Green All Dressed Up: The Sixties and the Counterculture, London: Pimlico, 1999, p.349 (Originally published by Jonathan Cape in 1998)
- ^ Daily Telegraph, 29 March 1971, quote as reproduced in Tracey and Morrison, p.134
- ^ Whitehouse (1977) p.181, quoted in Tony McEnery Swearing in English: Bad Language, Purity and Power From 1586 to the Present Day, London: Routlege, 2006, p.143
- ^ Whitehouse (1977) p.180, cited in McEnery, p.143
- ^ John Sutherland Offensive Literature, Junction Books, 1982, p.111, 113
- ^ Letter from Mary Whitehouse, The Spectator, 7 August 1971, quoted in Tracey and Morrison, p.138
- ^ Mark Duguid "Whitehouse, Mary (1910-2001)", BFI screenonline
- ^ Evening Standard, 6 November 1971, quote as reproduced in Tracey and Morrison, p.135, 207 n.6:14
- ^ Dominic Sandbrook State of Emergency, The Way We Were: Britain 1970-74, London: Allen Lane, 2020, p.462
- ^ Roy Greenslade Press Gang: How Newspapers Make Profits From Propaganda, London: Macmillan, 2004 , p.490
- ^ Jamie Doward "Top shelf gathers dust", The Observer, 13 May 2001
- ^ Corinna Adam "Protecting Our Lord", New Statesman, 15 July 1977, in a version republished 3 February 2006
- ^ Obituary: James Kirkup, Daily Telegraph, 12 May 2009
- ^ Peter Burton Obituary: Denis Lemon, The Independent, 23 July 1994
- ^ "James Kirkup: poet and translator". Times (London). 13 May 2009. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article6275318.ece. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
- ^ Emma, Cowling (18 May 2008). "Maybe Mary Whitehouse was right all along". Scotsman. http://living.scotsman.com/tvradio/Maybe-Mary-Whitehouse-was-right.4124703.jp.
- ^ a b Michael Billington State of the Nation: British Theatre Since 1945, London: Faber, 2007, p.305
- ^ Howard Brenton "Look back in anger", The Guardian, 28 January 2006
- ^ a b c d Mark Lawson "Passion play", The Guardian, 28 October 2005
- ^ "BBC "On This Day", 18 March". BBC News. 1967-03-18. http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/march/18/newsid_2524000/2524269.stm. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
- ^ Bruce Anderson "A life spent trying in vain to preserve the suburban idyll", The Independent, 26 November 2001
- ^ Mary Kenny "In defence of Mary Whitehouse", The Spectator (blog), 10 June 2010
- ^ "''Campaigner Mary Whitehouse dies, aged 91'' John Ezard, The Guardian, Saturday 24 November 2001". London: Guardian. 2001-11-24. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2001/nov/24/uknews. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
- ^ NVALA Archive, Albert Sloman Library, University of Essex
- ^ "National Viewers' and Listeners' Association, Archive Hub website
- Ramsey Campbell (1987) "Turn Off: The Whitehouse Way" (an account of a public appearance by Mary Whitehouse) in Ramsey Campbell, Probably, PS Publishing, ISBN 1-902880-40-4
- Max Caulfield (1976) Mary Whitehouse, Mowbray, ISBN 0-264-66190-7
- Geoffrey Robertson (1999) The Justice Game, Random House UK. (A memoir of a prominent barrister who, among other historic trials, defended several of Whitehouse's targets in her private prosecutions).
- Michael Tracey & David Morrison (1979) Whitehouse, Macmillan, ISBN 0-333-23790-0
- Mary Whitehouse (1967) Cleaning-up TV: From Protest to Participation, Blandford, ISBN B0000CNC3I
- Mary Whitehouse (1971) Who Does She Think She is?, New English Library, ISBN 0-450-00993-9
- Mary Whitehouse (1977) Whatever Happened to Sex?, Wayland, ISBN 0-85340-460-7 (pbk: Hodder & Stoughton, ISBN 0-340-22906-3)
- Mary Whitehouse (1982) Most Dangerous Woman?, Lion Hudson, ISBN 0-85648-408-3
- Mary Whitehouse (1985) Mightier Than the Sword, Kingsway Publications, ISBN 0-86065-382-X
- Mary Whitehouse (1993) Quite Contrary: An Autobiography, Sidgwick & Jackson, ISBN 0-283-06202-9
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