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

Gutter Press

More small beer in today’s Times, where there’s news of an agreement which, you’d imagine, would have been sorted out somewhat earlier: that between the actors’ union Equity and the three commercial television contractors, the Associated Broadcasting Company, Associated-Rediffusion and Granada Television Network. The press statement was jointly released by the three companies and Equity and it hints of further agreements which will be signed and announced in the coming weeks. This one provides a standard rate of two guineas a day for rehearsals and a minimum of seven guineas for his or her fee for a single performance.

Surprise, surprise. Under the headline, “Well, Well – whose idea was this?” the Express’s Robert Cannell is not especially impressed by last night’s programme broadcast from inside a London sewer which featured “a long, dark tunnel in which flowed a dark stream, and a group of men working.”

He concludes, “the man viewers should have seen down the drain was the one who thought of this as entertainment for a summer evening.”

The Mirror’s letters page carries contrasting views of the controversial production of Wolf Mankowitz’s plays. Miss A. B. Nathan of Pinner, Middlesex “thoroughly enjoyed his TV plays on Tuesday” and asks, “why, when somebody tries something new, do viewers dive for the telephone to protest?” Mrs V. Wiley of Winchester Avenue in North West London found that the plays spurred her household into action: “After seeing Wolf’s plays my family decided to club together to get our set adjusted to take ITA programmes.”

Writing in “Our London Correspondence” one of the Guardian’s London Correspondents reports that Sir Robert Boothby has written to the New Statesman and will be saying that “he does not intend to pay the faintest attention” to the Postmaster-General’s recent instructions to broadcasters which he considers “one of the most formidable menaces to freedom which our democracy has faced this century.”

The evening’s viewing concludes with another Appointment With Drama play, in this instance Henry Mara’s translation of Jean Giraudoux’ “The Apollo of Bellac” starring Denholm Elliott and Natasha Parry, produced by Tony Richardson – his second play this week. Let’s hope this is looked on more favourably – by audiences and critics alike – than was his production of Wolf Mankowitz’s “It Should Happen To A Dog”.

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