This week viewers • commanding Channels I and 9 had the opportunity of seeing two records broken. The first was at the Cirand Prix motor racing al Silverstone, where British cars made history in completely defeating the legendary Italians in their Maseratis and Ferraris.
Actually track motor racing (which always seems strangely neglected as a sport in the Press) does not make very exciting television. The impression of high speed is not conveyed, and the touring car race, despite the closeness of the competition, was a trifle too much like the passing of cars in front of one's bedroom window.
FIIHE second record, alas, is the other way round. I refer to the much-heralded transfer of Macdonald Mobley from B.B.C. to I.T.V. as compere of a thing called " Yakity-Yak."
Here. I felt. was the all-time low in entertainment. People. otherwise intelligent, were expected to watch four glamorous women making idiots of themselves in trying to answer questions fit for a schools general knowledge competition. In fact. it was all like giggling convent girls.
When they all failed with " Burnham Scale " I began to think it was a put-up show. But I am afraid I was wrong. They really hadn't a clue to anything. Nor were they wise or witty enough to make the best of their dumbness.
Much as I dislike TV dancing shows, I felt for once that the show would have been much improved if they had sung and pirouetted in front of us and Macdonald Hobley had gone off for a drink. I hope this unfunny idiocy will soon stop.
("IN Sunday the B.B.C.'s play offering was "The Perfect Woman " and I was inclined to attribute the complete failure to get the farce over to the fact that it was presented in a theatre. After a well-wined good dinner one might have enjoyed it; but not at home.
But next day Commercial showed " Seagulls over Sorrento," also from a theatre---and apart from the awful gaffe of breaking the play to show the audience laughing. it was first-class entertainment. TV is a terribly efficient sorter-out of good from bad.
If only the best of TV-football, cricket, tennis, golf-could be shown at night! Their excellence makes altogether too much of an intrusion into one's day.
RADIO. When I was young and wanted to read a book considered too adult for me, my father would say : " Wait till you have read Gibbon's ' Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.' " For a long time, therefore, I had come to look upon Gibbon as the epi
tome of a very dull author. But after hearing Hugh Sykes Davies in "Talking of Books " (Home) last Sunday, telling us what kind of man Edward Gibbon was, I see I was very much mistaken.
Mr. Sykes Davies was discussing the new edition of Gibbon's Letters, edited by J. E. Norton, which has not long been published.
Far from being a dull person. Gibbon was apparently quite frivolous at times-and not very good at answering letters. I learned a great deal in this pleasant half-hour devoted to book reviews on Sunday afternoon. If the talk had been in print I doubt. if I would have had time to read it and I am sure that applies to many serious listeners, Are radio talks of this nature replacing the printed essay, I wonder?
Another. but more exciting. classic to be heard on Sundays also is Alexandre Duniste'e " The Count of Monte Cristo.This is being given as the always popular Sunday serial at 8.30 rem, I have not read the book so the style came rather as a surprise. It may be the fault of the translation but it all seems rather stilted. Perhaps after seeing the more lively versions on television-this-the original story seems a bit archaic.