AND RADIO. Naturally for all of us the chief interest last week was in the Pope's illness and death. It was during those anxious moments that we really appreciated the hourly news summaries on the Light Programme— those summaries which, I know, irritate some listeners quite a lot. And it was only right. too, that the Pope who in his life gave his blessing and encouragement to radio and television could be mourned in a very special manner at his death through the Eurovision link. We could feel so much closer to the crowds in Rome and unite our prayers with theirs. I thought the B.B.C.'s special programme on the Pope's life last Thursday was most skilfully put together. It conveyed clearly to those of us who had never been to Rome the warmth and charm of his personality.
EARLY last week Network
Three had an intriguingsounding programme in its "Parents and Children" series. As this transmission was also going to be the subject of "The Critics" on radio on Sunday, I thought it would be doubly interesting to hear what other critics had to say about "Religious Upbringing for Children" before I added my quota.
There were five parents on this panel—it could not be called a
discussion group because there was no argument—and the chairman was the Rev. Vernon Sproxton. Our representative was Dominic Bruce, who has nine children, and—either because of his experience as a father or on account of the older traditions of our religion—he was given a little more head than the others.
Even so he only had time to say —as would any other Catholic parent—that religion comes first quite naturally from the mother of the family as does any other thing. The Anglican and Non-conformist parents spoke nicely, if conventionally, about religion.
The agnostic and atheist were the most revealing and human in their obvious bewilderment about what ethics to use in liiringing up their young. The agnostic fell back on her Jewish traditions, and the atheist—who could not really have been an atheist—encouraged his children to say their prayers and follow the religious practices of their school-mates.
FAR TOO SHORT
THE Sunday Critics' reaction to
this programme was, also, most revealing The Radio Critic, H. A L. Craig, had a nice, Irishsounding voice and his remarks were all very sensible. This programme irritates us all vastly, as a rule, but still has that curious fascination that week after week we listen—to marvel at their latest pronouncements. On this subject they all seemed to agree that half-an-hour was far too short a time to give to suth a serious subject and that there had been far too many speakers in that short time.
The Art Critic, David Sylvester. thought that religion was purely a social matter and that, as children are very conventional, they needed it to keep in the swim. Ivor Brown. the Theatre Critic, on the other band, did not appear to find any religious upbringing at all necessary.
A MORAL PLAY
LAST Sunday, on television, the B.B.C. gave us a most moral and satisfying play about the East End. It was by a new writer called Michael Cahill, who is partly Jewish and party Irish. He has, therefore, some religious tradition behind him and this was evident in his admirable play. The theme may have been of contemplated adultery, but everyone knew that adultery was wrong and behaved accordingly. "Gracie" was the simple name of this play, and in it you have the whole key-note of the story. Grade is unhappy and Lets unappreciated by her husband. She is strongly tempted to leave him for a kind and understanding Irishman, but her sense of duty to her family is too strong and she stays.