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

And Nothing But The Truth

Writing in The Observer, Alan Brien looks back at the week’s drama and isn’t overly enthusiastic. He finds A Phoenix Too Frequent “a courageous choice” and considers that George Cole and Noelle Middleton, “though well-spoken and well-produced remained distant and aloof, like fish in an aquarium.”

Likewise, in The Browning Version, Joyce Heron’s portrayal of the wife “lacked the sluttish sensuality that should have given the action its raison d’etre” while Peter Cushing, as Crocker-Harris, “remained the worm which refused to turn and forfeited our sympathy.”

With not much else in the newspapers I have to hand, there’s time for a gander at The Stage newspaper’s TV Page. This too has caught up with the Associated Broadcasting / Billy Graham story I first mentioned a few days ago, and provides more details about Dr. Graham;s schedule. Apparently, his appearances will commence in September and he will appear once per month on Sunday evenings. From January 1956 he will appear every Sunday night, in a 15-minute programme from 10.30pm, for a 26-week season. The series, entitled Christianity, began filming at Highbury Studios on 20 July.

The page’s ViewPoints columnist (hereafter, VP) enjoyed Philip Mackie’s play The Whole Truth, particularly the “brilliant” first half, though VP felt that turning the killer into “the inevitable maniac” by the end let the play down. There is talk of this making a transfer to the stage, so I’ll refrain from giving away any key details of the plot and instead look at Holiday Hotel, a Ronnie Taylor / Barney Colehan production from Blackpool. Here, VP likes the hosts Jimmy Jewel and Ben Warriss – “an ideal couple to hold the entertainment together” – and Jimmy Clitheroe. The Three Monarchs and Frankie Vaughan get name-checked by VP but additional praise is heaped on Hylda Baker and “Cynthia” who were “always amusing”, with Hylda “doing all the talking as well as cutting a load of bread in two for a ‘sandwich’ and spilling an ice over Cynthia’s chest”.

Ted Ray’s domestic encounters with a brother-in-law Harold played by “that fine actor” Kenneth Connor is the highlight of The Ted Ray Show as far as VP is concerned and “the sooner either the BBC or the commercial companies sign Ted and Kenneth Connor to continue this as a separate programme, the better.” VP notes a change in the overall style of the programme: “what started out as a programme of all-star acts compèred by Ted Ray has developed into a comedy programme by Ted Ray, with the acts incidental, to allow him to have a breather, as it were, even though they are of the calibre of Tony Bennett.” Worth noting that for this edition production was by George Inns alone while the previous programmes were under the control of Bill Ward with Inns assisting.

In other news: Eric Portman and Margot Grahame have filmed a play entitled “We, The Accused” for commercial television, with Dennis Vance producing. Although the news item doesn’t specify which series or which company this relates to, Vance’s name suggests that this will be for the Associated Broadcasting Company.

The Telebriefs Column reports on some rights acquisitions made by the commercial companies. Associated-Rediffusion have picked-up the British rights to Inner Sanctum and Hopalong Cassidy from NBC while the Associated Broadcasting Company have 26 half-hour TV films from the US series Hans Christian Andersen.

Closer to home, escapologist Denton de Gray has finished making a half-hour solo film for A-R, featuring “aqua-escapology and water comedy” at the Oasis Pool, Holborn, London and Dudley’s Billy Dainty is being lined up to compère a BBC television series in the autumn.+60

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