A new television series by Dennis Potter begins tonight on Channel 4. It is set in England in the Fifties, a decade which saw Potter move from a mining village in the Forest of Dean to an Oxford college. There he wrote the first of his many attacks on the condition of his country, a book called The Glittering Coffin, published when he was 25. This is an edited extract. Britain, some may feel, has changed exactly as he predicted. And our predicament remains the same.

The text of the extract has been omitted for copyright reasons.