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

Bobbing and Weaving

Robert Cannell, writing in the Daily Express, reveals the secret behind last night’s opening edition of This is Your Life. Eamonn Andrews had spent the day looking after boxer Freddie Mills on the understanding that the sportsman was to be the unwitting “victim” in the new series of This is Your Life. Once in the television theatre, Andrews discovered that the cameras were on him – because he was the victim, in a programme presented by American host Ralph Edwards. It wasn’t entirely a joke on Andrews, though, he will be hosting the other editions in the series – just not this first one.

The Express also finds a reason to promote a new strip in Tuesday’s Junior Express Weekly: a picture story “by the famous big game explorer and TV personality Michaela Denis.” In case you’re unsure, take note: “It is a jungle-thriller for which every boy or girl is waiting!” Price 3d.

Under the heading Television Audiences IncreasingThe Times  provides a précis of a BBC report on the viewing and listening trends for the second quarter of this year, based on BBC audience research. The BBC report estimates that the average size of the adult “sound public” (those living in houses with a sound receiver but no television) has fallen from around 26 million in the same quarter in 1954 to 23,500,000 in 1955. The adult “television public” is approximately 12,700,000 compared to 9 million last year.

This has adversely affected the average level of sound broadcast listening between 6pm and 11pm. It’s down from 14.4% of the adult population of the United Kingdom to 13.2%, though the majority of this fall is caused by a reduction in listening by the “television public” and by the increase in the number of people who fall into that category. The Times‘ report concludes:

The percentages for the quarter for levels of listening and viewing among the whole adult population during evening hours when all BBC services were on the air are shown as: sound, 12.1; television, 13.1.

“It will be noted that television audiences are now tending to exceed those of sound broadcasting”, the report says, “even though the television public comprises only a minority – about one third – of the population.”

On TV today, there’s much sport. The day features much Country Cricket from the “roses” match between Yorkshire and Lancashire at Bramall Lane, Sheffield and this shares the afternoon schedules with Athletics from the White City Stadium in London where Great Britain takes on Germany. As if that wasn’t sufficient, the evening includes thirty minutes of Swimming where the South of England take on the North of England in a friendly contest held in the most obvious of locations: Kilmarnock.

This is followed by another Dixon of Dock Green where P.C.s George and Andy encounter “The Dock Green Desperado”. Light entertainment “devised and produced by Richard Afton” under the title The Saturday Show takes up the hour between 9.15pm and 10.15pm where Myles Bell introduces Ray Martin and Norrie Paramor and their respective orchestras, The Television Toppers, Margot Berry, Leonard Webb and Ferry Kurucz. The evening is topped off by the Tall Story Club where Robert Macdermot “endeavours to control the imagination of the storytellers” who include Sir Miles Thomas, John Gregson, Audrey Erskine Lindop and Rolf Harris. Josephine Douglas produces.

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