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

Lights? A Turn Off

The Guardian carries the news that the so-called “silent hour”, from 6pm to 7pm, which comes into force at the end of this month, will be broken only in Wales. The silent time, which currently runs between 6pm and 7.30pm, has been taken up with regional programmes including special Welsh-language programmes. Apart from any Welsh productions shown during the “silent hour” the whole of the country will be able to see all broadcasts made by the BBC’s regional television units.

In a short piece, same paper’s Radio Critic (RC) finds that the televising of Blackpool’s lights “are always a disappointing spectacle… since light without colour and without any sense of distance and contrast loses about 80 per cent of its charm.” RC’s other verdicts: David Nixon’s It’s Magic “was only fair” and Disneyland “of limited appeal” and its ideas “would be so much more amusing if the dialogue were not generally tedious.” “Most interesting,” RC writes, “was Press Conference with Mr Malcolm MacDonald, which included many thoughtful questions and answers, but made no sparks fly.”

The Mirror’s Clifford Evans introduces us to Peter Turvey. Who’s Peter Turvey? Well, he’s a 27-year-old sorting-office worker, but in a week’s time he’ll be appearing on Variety Parade under the name Gene Baxter.

Also appearing soon will be comedian Derek Roy who will be hosting a commercial television version of the Radio Luxembourg show People are Funny which will be staged on Saturday nights in four cinemas in the London area. And who owns these movie houses? None other than Sidney Bernstein’s Granada Cinemas!.

Davis also reveals that the main Saturday announcer on commercial television will be Bob Danvers-Walker and on Sunday it’s most likely to be Bernard McNab. The weekday announcers will be women, and one of these is 26-year-old Muriel Young+60 who has been seen in over 150 BBC shows. She said, “I always wanted to say something, but the BBC would never let me speak.” “Instead,” says Davis, “vivaceous Muriel slipped into tights, a saucy short skirt and went around carrying chairs and caption cards for shows such as Top Hat Rendezvous and TV Music Hall.” Davis points out that her new situation is a complete reversal – she will be heard but not seen.

The Times reports that the BBC’s “permanent television link with Continental countries will be opened next Thursday, when for an hour before midnight viewers will be offered a programme from Paris. Links are at present possible with France, Switzerland, West Germany, Holland, Belgium and Italy.” It is hoped that extensions to Austria and the Scandinavian countries will soon be in place.

Tonight’s programmes are not quite so exotic but do include the first of six half-hour crime dramas written by Berkely Mather under the title As I Was Saying. In tonight’s, Ballard Berkeley, Henry Oscar and Victor Rietti star in “An Eye for Detail”, produced by Andtrew Osborn. After that, the Bernard Brothers are the featured artists in The Saturday Show while Robert Beatty heads the line-up in Saturday Night Out, before the evening is rounded off with a Sports Special.

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