The world of British television off and on the screen, as it was sixty years ago.

Monthly Archive: September 1955

Happy Anniversary

ITV, two days to goThe Times and The Guardian both report that Messrs Denton, Hall and Burgin, solicitors of Gray’s Inn Place, have issued a writ on behalf of Associated British Cinemas asking for an injunction against the Associated Broadcasting Company to restrain them from “producing television programmes under a title which incorporates the initials or abbreviation ABC”. (more…)

They Seek Him Here…

ITV, three days to goThe Times’ television reviewer (TR) was not enamoured of last night’s production of The Scarlet Pimpernel on the BBC. TR observes that “Television is on the whole unkind to classics of one’s youth” because it has a way of “magnifying the tiniest flaws and spoiling the fantastically woven memory”. “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” TR says, “suffered last night from a scrutiny it really will not bear.” The Express too noted that “it seemed an odd choice for Battle of Britain Sunday” and felt it was “a waste of a fine actor (Tony Britton)’s Sunday evening.” (more…)

So. Farewell Then…

ITV, four days to goThe Observer’s Comment column is guarded on the eventual effects of commercial television. On the one hand, “Already the good effects of competition are to be seen in the more lively and alert programmes of the BBC.” On the other hand, “… it would be unwise to judge the result of the experiment too early. At first the new service has everything to gain by giving no offence to those critics who fear that commercialisation in this medium will lead to vulgarisation. The real test… will come as the pressure grows to subordinate other considerations to the necessity of providing large audiences for the advertiser who will be paying this piper.” (more…)

From the Red Sea to Pontop Pike

ITV, five days to goThe BBC is expanding its VHF sound broadcasting but this will not be at the expense of wider VHS television broadcasts. Pontop Pike is scheduled to be both a television and VHS sound transmitter, and a new television station at Le Platons, Jersey, is to be opened on an experimental basis on 3 October, with tests beginning this coming Monday. All this from The Times.

One thing their expanded network will be able to show will be some new films from the underwater explorers Hans and Lotte Hass. The Guardian reports that they have signed a contract with the BBC “for a series of films to be shown soon.” The couple are leaving immediately “for the Red Sea on a new expedition.” (more…)

Disgusted of Tonbridge

ITV, six days to do

Under the heading “Effect of Television on Family Life”, there’s a short report in The Times on the Institute of Housing conference which opened yesterday in Hastings. Mrs Joan Burke of Tonbridge did not welcome the spread of the small screen and, “said that she did not think television was a blessing” and was “a dreadful thing for the child.” She admitted, “My own son is fast becoming a moron. He does not read a book or do anything but sits like a codfish in front of the television set.” She adds, “I am sending my son to a boarding school where there is not one.” Do codfish sit? Keep reading… (more…)

As Difficult as ABC

ITV, seven days to goOh dearie me, I can’t say I’m so far very impressed by the Johnnie-come-latelies of commercial television, the Associated British Picture Corporation and their TV subsidiary Associated British Cinemas (Television) Ltd. If The Times is to be believed, “the chairman and deputy-chairman of the Associated British Picture Corporation… indicated yesterday that they both agreed with the ‘fortnight rule’” which just about every other broadcaster and newspaper thinks is abominable. Their deputy chairman, a Mr Eric Fletcher, manages to find enough time to also be a Labour MP, so he would say that, wouldn’t he?


Completing the Set

ITV, eight days to goExciting news today carried in all the papers – the Independent Television Authority have accepted, subject to contract, the application by the Associated British Picture Corporation Ltd to provide weekend programmes from its stations at Lichfield, Rivington Moor (Lancashire) and Yorkshire. The contract is formally awarded to Associated British Cinemas (Television) Ltd, a subsidiary of the Asssociated British Picture Corporation. Minority shareholders in the venture include the Birmingham Post and Mail, the Birmingham Gazette and Despatch, the Bradford and District Newspaper Co Ltd (publishers of the Yorkshire Observer) and the Bradford Telegraph and Argus. (more…)

Money for Nothing

ITV, nine days to go
Adastral House in Kingsway, “is well on the way to being transformed into Television House – the headquarters of the London commercial television programme contractors and the Independent Television News company,” says The Times under the headline “Nine Days to Go”. Studios 7 and 8 of Associated-Rediffusion were apparently completed and brought into operation for closed-circuit tests yesterday. This gives A-R access to eight out of its nine projected studios, the others being made up of four at Wembley and one each at the Granville Theatre, Waltham Green and the Viking Film Studios. The ninth studio should be completed by November, it says here. (more…)

The Wheeler Dealers

ITV, ten days to goYes, there are only ten days to go until commercial television starts broadcasting and changes the make-up of British television broadcasting for good. Or ill, I suppose. With so little time left it’s good news, I suppose, that The Guardian reports on a statement made by Gordon Sandison of the actors’ union Equity. Mr Sandison was still optimistic that there might be an agreement by 22 September with Sir Robert Fraser of the ITA imposing a limitation on the number of hours available for foreign films. (more…)