By Marian Curd IMPORTANT new plans for the development of the National Catholic Centre for Television. Radio and Films, including the immediate erection of a large studio at the Hatch End H.Q., have been announced this week by Fr. Agnellus Andrew, 0.F.M., Director of the Centre,
"The needs that have compelled these decisions are now urgent," Fr. Agnellus told me on Monday, the day on which it was announced that the BBC's Kangaroo Channel is to open next April 20.
To meet the very large increase in religious television programmes indicated by the BBC's move and by the fact that Independent Television also plan to launch a second channel within a year or so, means that the current Catholic output of over 1,000 programmes a year (including sound) must he vastly increased.
The very urgent need, said Fr. Agnellus, is to meet the challenge of these new opportunities. -More and more broadcasters, both lay people and priests. must be trained to meet the demand."
High priority in the new expansion will include the appointment of it professional full-time Lay Director to produce programmes on tape and on film for sound and television.
Professional producers will be engaged to assist in producing—in the Centre's own studio—programmes which can then be submitted to the broadcasting and television companies.
These cornea said,Fr.
Agnellus. "not only produce many programmes of their own. but have shown that they are willing to broadcast programmes from other sources so long as they have sufficient quality and interest".
Another extremely important consideration lies behind these decisions. This is the fact that there is a rapidly growing necessity for the Centre, in conjunction with other and international Catholic television, radio and film organisations. to supply programmes on tape and on film for broadcasting in the less developed countries.
Russia, Peking, and the Moslem States are mushrooming radio stations and pouring propaganda into Africa and in Asia. Millions of pounds are being spent by religious and educational organisations into building radio stations and transmitters to be used as tools in the battle for the minds of men.
Discussing this problem in the current number of "Annunciation", the National Centre's magazine, Fr. Agnellus says that already bishops from all over the world are appealing to St. Gabriel's for help. -Sometimes they want priests from Africa and Asia to be trained as broadcasters or as directors."
During the past year priests from Malta, Tanganyika, Nigeria, and other African countries (including the Swahili speaker for Vatican Radio) have come over here for
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