The right approach to Commercial
TELEVISION'S autumn plans suggest that the accent will be rather more on the serious and the good (which, of course, can he Light).
The drama programme includes "Peer Gynt" and Orwell's "1984," Tchekov, Barrie, Daphne du Manrier's "Rebecca," a Christmas play by lain MacCormick, as well as lighter comedies. Music will give us "The Girl of the Golden West," the Paris Opera Ballet, recitals by famous instrumentalists. as well as more of "The Conductor Speaks," including the inimitable Sir Thomas Beecham again.
"Viewfinder," "Press Conference," "In the News," "Panorama," "Vegetable, Animal, Mineral," and "In Town Tonight" return to prove that there is a pattern in these factual programmes, with certain conceptions and approaches being true television, as opposed to bogus.
This is equally true of Light Entertainment, whose general standard has been so low. "Ask Pickles" was a triumph. Frank Muir and Denis Nor den are at the top of the tree as script-writers.
We have just had occasion to see what a good comedian Fred Emney is, if only someone would give him a script worthy of his talent.
These arc all in the programme, with Vic Oliver's criticised but usually effective "This is Show Business "
ONEONE could continue with the list, suggests that the B.B.C. will approach Commercial with the correct idea if they can concentrate on intrinsically good entertainment of all kinds without worrying too much about the findings of the fellows who go round assessing public taste. Public taste is something that has to he created. not scientifically categorised, and so long as the B.B.C. honestly tries to do that, it need not fear its rivals.
1 hese thoughts strike me particularly after seeing the latest instalment of "You are There" about the Fall of Parnell. In it we had the classic instance of how an utterly phoney approach (only conceivable by people who fall over backwards in trying to bow to public ignorance) could ruin a tragedy of personalities and history. How could one take seriously the moral anguish of Parnell when a TV unit was supposed to be set up in his room. photographing, eavesdropping and interrupting when Parnell and Kitty O'Shea were having an intimate conversation? I admire the talents of Mr. Edward Willard, but not as Mr. Gladstone, who looked like a villain of Victorian melodrama.
The British Association programmes could be longer, and in all this serious work, programme-makers should remember that many viewers will turn off automatically whatever the length. but that those who do not get interested and would like to hear more.
On Sunday, November 14, a service will he televised from Westminster Cathedral. M. B.