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

A Pinch and a Punch

It’s Friday, 1 July 1955 and the highlight of today’s broadcast from the Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon is the Men’s Singles Final. Readers of Radio Times are warned that “Because of the great interest in the finals… Children’s television will not be broadcast today or tomorrow” and there’s nothing but tennis until the weather at 7.25pm. 

Following the news and newsreel, The Grove Family meet “The Duchess” in the final, fifteen-minute, episode in a series that started in April 1954. Will it get a second season?

For half-an-hour, the memory man Leslie Welch answers questions from the Oxford and Cambridge University cricket teams and this is followed by An Evening on the River in which water-borne cameras take viewers on a two-mile cruise “Down the Dart”.

Comedy is provided in the fifth edition of Bath-Night with Braden where Bernie is accompanied by Benny Lee, Pearl Carr and Graham Stark. Brian Tesler produces. This week’s TV Page in The Stage reviews the previous edition of the show noting that “[the] series has improved since first seen four weeks ago,” adding, “The entire show knits together with a merry air”. Braden himself comes in for particular praise: “He seems more relaxed and sure of himself, and the intricate timing patterns woven into the script, in which the viewer leaves the action of a skit to get Braden’s sarcastic aside on what he thinks of the last line delivered, are working out better than before.”

The un-named reviewer laments the fact that there are only six shows in the series and finishes by remarking, “Perhaps that is a scoring point for commercial TV. It works in series of 13, 26 and 39 – not six.” Will it? We shall see.

Meanwhile it’s sell! sell! sell! over in TV land. The Stage reports that Jack Train is busy filming thirty-second commercials to promote the sales of radio and television sets at Currys shops. The BBC, on the other hand, are looking to start their own shopping guides to rival the Advertising Magazines being planned by the independent companies. Isobel, Lady Barnett is being tested as commère and, using a slightly odd turn of phrase, they add the information that “Doreen Stephens, the BBC TV producer, will probably present the programme in the autumn.” Presumably they mean “present” as in “television presentation by”.

It won’t be quite the same as the ad-mags, though. The piece finishes by clarifying, “Only difference between the commercial TV programmes, in which the firms pay for a mention, and the BBC’s is that the firms have no BBC guarantee that their products will be mentioned by name.”

We’ll have to wait and see whether this plan comes off. No room to look at the ABC Sunday schedule today, perhaps tomorrow.

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