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

Gloomy Monday

It feels like a weird old mish-mash on television today, high on improvement – which is not a bad thing – but low on entertainment… of any sort.

Programmes open at 3pm with a repeat of an episode in the half-hour American series I’m The Law, which stars well-known actor and rhyming-slang George Raft. Children’s Television consists of Painting in Oils in which Mervyn Levy gives the first of a series of talks; This Was News which “helps you understand the events of recent weeks”; and For Deaf Children which this week includes features on swimming and life-saving.

The evening’s entertainment is not that dissimilar, with a film of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s recent visit to Norway and Peaceful Co-existence wherein Christopher Mayhew MP “concludes his examination of the relationship between communist and non-communist worlds.” The series on the British Theatre, Stage by Stage, reaches programme five and celebrates the actress Sarah Siddons who was born almost 200 years ago, on 5 July 1755. Later, there’s a half-hour about People in Russia. Only Café Continental lightens the evening.

Is there anything left for us to read in the current issue of The Stage? Yes, there is. Under the headline “Plans for Opera and Ballet Highlights” is a profile of Charles Reading who, it says, “has recently signed a three-year contract with Associated-Rediffusion [and] is planning programmes which will constitute an entirely new form of entertainment.” The piece continues, “Though it is as yet too early to give practical details, he has indicated that he will combine opera, ballet, music, drama and spectacle into a new type of show that could only be presented through the TV medium.” Well, we shall have to wait and see shan’t we?

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