Donald Woods (John Fowler) epitomises the uselessness of the borstal system. His number is 3310.

An illiterate teenager, he has limited maturity but an upbeat spirit and idealism prompted by the regular positive letters he receives from home, which he asks Archer to read to him. During the film, he excitedly tells the Matron and then his Housemaster about his beloved dog's litter of puppies, giving him a reason to look forward to being rehabilitated and returning to normal life, but the reaction of Housemaster Goodyear (whom he was offering one of the puppies), who tells him to grow up and stop thinking about such infantile matters, brings him crashing down to earth, showcasing the lack of encouragement over their future which the less dangerous criminals in the system - of which Woods was one - were afforded. Woods was bluntly told by the Housemaster that he was not making the correct progress, even though the system clearly didn't have any intention to help the inmates make such progress, leaving Woods confused and upset.

It is mentioned that Woods' first name is Donald, which could be a reference to South African journalist Donald Woods.


(To Archer) "Read it again...I'll give yer some sweets on pay day...Ben - you forgot the address!"

1977 VersionEdit

In the BBC screenplay, Woods is portrayed by Tony London.

London's Woods tends to irritate some of the other inmates with his tenacious enthusing, while Fowler gives him a more vulnerable quality. London would later appear again with Ray Winstone in 1979's That Summer.

See AlsoEdit