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THE SOHO CONNECTIONS: Johnny Go Home – 1975


In 1975 Granada TV showed a ground-breaking documentary on young runaways and life on the “meat rack” in London’s West End.

As the programme makers filmed, real life events took over the storyline and a simple, (albeit shocking in itself) documentary turned in to a double-length programme that covered the real life, seedy, gritty, dangerous world of Piccadilly ‘rent boys’ when one of them was found dead.  The man they had been filming as part of the documentary – Roger Gleaves (AKA ‘The Bishop of Medway) – was arrested and charged for sexual offences against young runaways and has since had a number of conviction and jail sentences.  The programme itself was so shocking that it was shown in two halves – one before the 10 o’clock news and the second part (which focused on the murder of Billy Two Tone) after the news.  The programme left an indelible mark on most people that watched it, such was it’s brutal insight and shocking coverage.


Recently someone put a copy of the programmes on Youtube, so I was finally able to watch it.  It was as shocking now as, I imagine, it was when first shown in 1975.  Unfortunately it has been removed from Youtube and I’d like to get hold of a copy to watch it again, so if anyone did download it, please contact me.

The jury of the Gleaves case were actually banned from watching the documentary as it was aired during their deliberations and the judge didn’t want them swayed in to a decision.  They stayed in a hotel for a night.

Inspired by Johnny Go Home, Holly Johnson (of Frankie Goes to Hollywood fame), wrote a song called ‘Penny Arcade‘: Penny Arcade – Holly Johnson – Youtube  Here are the lyrics:

Penny Arcade

Don’t go to the penny arcade
Don’t waste the money that your mother’s made
Don’t waste your life, just use your mind
Play with me, leave the game behind

Game over, you’re my high score
I need you more, I like your smile
Move the joystick quick
You’ve got poise, personality, love what you do for me

In the penny arcade the deals we made
Our innocence the price we paid
From Piccadilly to the Strand
We plied out trade in Playland

Johnny go home, get on the train
Pack you bags and move on again
Don’t sell your love, don’t play around
With the low life in this town (That’s right)

What can we hope for, what can we do
We’re ordinary people too
Trained to drink and watch the game
Weekend over, work again

In the penny arcade the deals we made
Our innocence the price we paid
From Piccadilly to the Strand
We plied out trade in Playland

The streets they said were paved with gold
Are lined with souls that someone sold
Cheap love in alleyways
The pimp and needle never pays, never pays

See a movie with a friend
Watch the credits until the end
As cameras roll across your mind
Watch the stars in space and time

Time to wake up, work the streets
Bright lights and naked heat
Hang around street corners
Watch the world go by

In the penny arcade the deals we made
Our innocence the price we paid
From Piccadilly to the Strand
we plied out trade in Playland

(In the penny arcade)
(From Piccadilly to the Strand)
We plied out trade in Playland

Roger Gleaves


Roger Gleaves was jailed in 1975 for four years for sexual offences against young boys.

Omega Security Services

In 1979, upon release, he changed his name to Raymond Bryant and set up ‘Omega Security Services Ltd’ which was based in an old railway hut in Holloway, North London.

Tooting Bec Mental Hospital (now Springfield)


One of the places Omega Security Services provided security for was Tooting Bec Mental Hospital (now called Springfield University Hospital).

Johnnie Savile


In the late 1970s, Jimmy Savile’s brother, Johnnie, began working at Springfield Hospital where he ran the hospital radio.  He was dismissed in 1980 after assaulting seven women (including staff and patients).  He then went to Richmond  Royal Hospital.  See my blog post Johnnie Savile & Richmond as well as working for The Variety Club of Great Britain.

Dr Morris Fraser


Morris Fraser, the prolific predatory paedophile from the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, was employed by Springfield Hospital in 1974.

Peter Righton

Peter Righton ponography

Morris Fraser was a friend of Peter Righton – a child protection expert and convicted paedophile – who asked him to provide a reference for Charles Napier.

Charles Napier


Napier had been the subject of a teaching ban following abuse when Fraser provided a reference for him.  He was close friends with founder and fellow PIE member, Peter Righton.  He is the brother of Conservative MP, John Whittingdale.


19 thoughts on “THE SOHO CONNECTIONS: Johnny Go Home – 1975

      1. But they must respond to complaints.Who could complain about such a documentary other than the guilty and powerful?


      2. Your guess is as good as mine – and your assumption, also. It is such a groundbreaking and an important documentary – it should be available to all.


  1. Thanks for this – I was trawling around on the web looking for any reference to this programme. You’re right about the indelible mark – I still remember it and how shocking it was and I was only 12 at the time. I would love to see it again.


  2. At the time, age 16, I was living in Welwyn Garden City’s YMCA, and group of us went to watch ELP at Wembley Arena but missed the last train back. We decided to get our heads down on Euston station where we were approached by a couple of blokes in Church Army uniforms (I recognised them from my time in the youth group) who offered us a room for the night. We were about to go with them when a copper came round the corner and these two scuttled off. A couple of weeks later we were in the TV lounge watching the programme, when the ‘Bishop’ appeared we were all convinced that it was the same guy that offered to look after us for that night. A lucky escape.


  3. I was a very young policeman in the West End of London at the time. Things were so different then. We picked up so many youngsters who were runaways, often from Children’s Homes up in the North of England. All we did then was take them back to the Police Station and hand them over to Social Services who would take them back to the Children’s Homes. We always had to ask them why they had runaway but none ever said abuse. They were probably too scared to and looking back I totally understand that. Who would have believed them. Little did we know or think that it was probably the abuse at some of these homes that made them runaway. To this day it haunts me that we may have been sending them back to the very abusers they had run away from.

    Liked by 1 person

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