Love and compassion on the air
DURING each week, as I watch and listen, I very often find that the programmes I like most and the programmes I feel it my duty to listen to fall into a pattern.
There is a single theme running through all the programmes I want to write about this week, for instance. Love of God. love of our neighbour and compassion for the sick and handicapped have all been interpreted in different ways.
Last Sunday, Independent Television had three essentially Catholic programmes on the air. First, a Missa Cantata from St. John s Cathedral, Salford, at which Bishop Beck preached. He spoke very simply all about the love of God arid our reasons for loving Him, Fr. Gerard Dolan, later that day, spoke on the same theme to his young audience in "The Sunday Break", and following this programme love of God and love for our neighbour was exemplified in a feature about the work of the Sisters of Charity at St. Joseph's Hospice for the Dying at Hackney.
THIS last programme was alto
gether delightful. Patrick O'Donovan. of the "Observer". full of charm and gallantry, made a very good compere in a tour of the hospital. Naturally the stars of the show were the Sisters, their patients. and the nurses attending to them.
Reverend Mother and the Sisters were obviously slightly in awe of the cameras which had invaded the peace of their convent, but this only made their sincerity and compassion the more touching. As in a similar programme some time ago about St. David's Home at Ealing. this feature ended by everyone having a cup of tea in the wards. A pleasant touch, this.
I know that there are many who do not like watching features about sick or handicapped people and who do riot revel in such programmes as "Emergency Ward 10". But moat 'of us here love them, and it was with genuine interest that we looked forward. last Thursday, to a 45-minute documentary on I.T.V. called "Surgeon" which we were to follow with a B.B.C. feature on blindness a little later.
THE "TV Times" had printed a
very interesting article on Sir James Paterson Ross, le.C.V.O.. President of the Royal College of Surgeons, and the titles of the programme itself looked grand enough. but the excellence of the material ea, ruined in the wadies tion. A very treacly commentary smothered the interest and drama of a serious operation for cancer on a 17-year-old girl.
Our interest was jiggled about all the time and though, fortunately, the entire programme was free from advertisements, there Was a constant shift of scene from place to place, which gave me, at any rate, the feeling that the producers were afraid their audience would get restless if they had to watch a continuous sequence of events. Even so, the care and thought which went into the preparations for this operation were wonderful to watch.
A much quieter and more successful technique was shown in B.B.C.'s TV feature "Living without Light" in which Hywel Davies spoke with a man who had been blind for over 50 years but now, as a result of a corneal graft operation, was able to see again. We saw films of blind children being trained at the Royal Institute for the Blind at Birmingham and the overall feeling this programme gave me was. again, of the greet love of doctors and teachers for their handicapped patients.