By JOAN NEW TON
ADIO and T.V. So much seems to have happened in the last year by way of innovation on both sound and vision that it is difficult to pick out the most striking features of the year. Perhaps one of the most significant was the lifting in February of that ban on televising between the hours of six and seven in the evening when the younger children were supposedly being put to bed.
This hour has been used by both B.B.C. and I.T.V. for programmes of general family interest or of interest specifically for the grownup young. One of the most revolutionary and successful of these presentations was A.T.V. Network's "Alan Taylor Lectures".
For nearly half-an-hour the historian, Alan Taylor, gives a lecture without gimmicks of any kind. The camera just shows his head and shoulders and he does the rest. We may not always agree with Mr. Taylor's historical conclusions, but we must take off our hats to him for his gift of holding his audience spellbound, Then, too, B.B.C. started that entertaining programme "Tonight". It is a kind of very topical magaeine, something after the style of the famous "Panorama", and it is presided over by the very amiable Cliff l'slichelmore. The news items are right up to date, the various snippets of film from all over the world are often amusing, and, for those who like it, there are songs as well.
Two very handsome young men, Cy Grant and Rory MeEwen, start the proceedings with a topical calypso. Later on during the programme there is usually a female singer. This. we often think, is not such a happy idea. Very few of these girls really seem up to the standard of the whole programme.
PERHAPS the most exciting and controversial of these six o'clock programmes is Saturday's "Six-Five Special" on the B.B.C. I have never cared for jazz nor for the latest popular songs, and, until we had a television, would not dream of listening to any programme on the radio that. contained them. When you have young people in the house, however, it is impossible to ignore the popularity of these programmes, and television brings them even closer into the family.
In "Six-Five Special", there is an audience of girls and boys who are all obviously devoted to jazz, rock-and-rolling, and skiffling. From a production point of view, this is a very slick affair, and I admire it as a serous attempt to give this particular age-group the very best of its kind.
As a parent. though, it is difficult not to feel uneasy at this evidence of hysteria on the part of
some of the audience; at the great emphasis on the sensual; and at the large amount of publicity and attention given to really quite mediocre performers. I can only console myself by saying that the children 1A ill grow out of their admiration for this kind of programme in the same way as they grow out of liking comics or climbing trees.
All the same, this particular programme has opened a new world to me. I have been studying other programmes of the kind on Independent Television and on the radio.
Associated Rediffusion has a short programme called "Cool for Cats" at 6.45 p.m. every now and then. I find it pretty grim and not very well presented. Popular gramophone records are played with mimes or dances done to the music.
A far better effort is A.T.V.'s "The Jack Jackson Show". This, also, is made up of gramophone records with mimes or actions done to recorded sound, but it is beautifully timed and often very funny indeed. It is late on Sunday evenings and is well worth a trial. The B.B.C. have something on the same lines called "Off the Record". with Jack Payne as compere, which is often quite entertaining, too.
IN the radio there always have been numberless "pop" programmes, all of which 1 have not yet had the courage to explore. On Saturday mornings on the Light there has lately been a very worthwhile programme called "Saturday Skiffle Club". You must not be put off by this title, nor by the rather strange names of the 'different groups who play this music.
The music itself is the thing and, if you like folk-music or negro spirituals, you will like the kind of stuff which is played on this programme. As train-noises seem to be a feature of skiffling, the little boys are particularly fond of this type of entertainment.
1 have\ left it rather late to say that the other great change this year has been the increase in the number of News Bulletins. The idea, that anyone can find out the latest news at any hour, seems a good one. All the same, I don't believe the public are all that keen to know the latest news,