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

A Tanner a Day

Phew! It’s Tuesday and I haven’t even looked at The Stage‘s TV Page. So let’s rectify that.

A small news item reports that the Associated Broadcasting Company’s magazine programme, which will be seen every Sunday afternoon commencing 25 September, will be called Sunday Afternoon, a title which the paper considers “provocative”. Have I missed something?

The show, they say, will feature show business celebrities including Chin Yu, David Williams, Ludovic Kennedy and Leslie Welch “as well as celebrities from other walks of life.” “Lionel Gamlin”, it adds, “will act as off-screen commentator.”

Before Sunday Afternoon, but on Sunday afternoon – at 2pm, apparently – the “phenomenon of American show business” Liberace will appear on film every week.

Associated-Rediffusion have finally settled on a young actor and actress to play the leads in their daily serial. Says TV Page (TVP), “These roles obviously were plum parts, as with them would go fame and a well-paid acting job.” The casting director had been hoping to use unknowns, and one of them is just that: Howard Pays. Opposite him is the rather better-known Patricia Dainton who has appeared in a number of films and plays.

TVP says, and I’d better quote this in full:

They were picked – along with 10 others – by producer John Lemont and director Robert Hartford Davis from 350 possibles, many of whom ready about the jobs first in The Stage. Two-hundred and twenty-five were personally interviewed, 73 were auditioned, 50 short listed, 30 tele-auditioned and 12 cast.

The piece goes on to reiterate that the actors had to be free of other contracts and comparatively unknown so that their characters could be built up. They also had to “be willing to be associated indefinitely with ‘Sixpenny Corner’, the title of the serial”.

The full list of regulars is revealed as Robert Webber (Mr Norton), Robert Desmond (Stan Norton), Bernard Fox (Tom Norton), Stuart Saunders (Uncle Fred Norton), Olive Milburne (Aunt Mabel Norton), Betty Bowden (Mrs Sharpe), Walter Horsbrugh (Mr Sharpe), Shirley Mitchell (Yvonne Sharpe), Edward Judd (Denis Boyes) and Elizabeth Gott (Mrs Boyes). Curiously, TVP does not seem to have the names of the characters played by Dainton and Pays. No doubt we shall find out in due course.

In TVP’s TeleBriefs column, it’s reported that Independent Television News (ITN), who will be providing “three newsreels a day for ITA viewers” will go into action from 1 September and put together three newscasts each day through a closed-circuit. They have, it says, “sleek black-and-silver shooting brakes for each mobile camera team, and also two men camera-and-mike teams on foot.” It also reports that ITN have engaged three interviewers: James Hartley, Barbara Mandell and Lynne Reid Banks.

Jimmy Jewel and Ben Warriss have resigned as comperes of the BBC’s Holiday Hotel as “They have a heavy task in the Black Brothers’ ‘Big Show of 1955’ at the Blackpool Opera House and say: ‘We don’t want to work ourselves to death.'”

There will be a series of what Associated-Rediffusion call “English Westerns” during the week, from September. These will be swashbucklers based on the true-life adventures of highwayman Claude Duval. They say that these “colourful seventeenth-century stories have all the ingredients of the modern ‘Western’. Duval, gallant and daring, is another Lone Ranger. Stage-coach hold-ups, galloping horses, and damsels in distress have their counterparts in the romantic setting of the period and the English countryside.”

And who will be playing the dashing hero – if a highwayman is indeed a hero? Well, “The star… has yet to be chosen, and the director and supporting cast will be announced in due course.” If they want to get these on early doors they’ll have to get a move on.

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