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

Months of Sundays

Another Sunday, this time 3 July 1955. With neither cricket nor tennis to bolster the schedule, it looks rather bare. The children have a Rex Tucker play – “The Watch” – while the grown-ups get an Anthony Steven play, based on a novel published in 1954 and written by Maurice Edelman. This is “A Dream of Treason” and stars John Robinson, Jill Bennett and Arthur Young; Ian Atkins produces. The story centres on a Foreign Office official, Martin Lambert (Robinson) who is instructed by his superiors to betray a cabinet paper to a French newspaper.

Humour is provided with 45-minutes worth of Holiday Hotel from the Norbreck Hydro in Blackpool – and this is basically a north-western version of yesterday’s Marine Parade with a thirteen line list of contractuals in Radio Times where it explains where you can see you idols Norman Evans, Jewel and Warriss, Jimmy Clitheroe and Semprini – to name just a few.

Tucked away in a fifteen minute slot is the sixth and last programme in the series Orson Welles’ Sketch Book, and this week his subject is bull-fighting. In case you’re unfamiliar with the series, Welles is mainly shot in medium close-up, sometimes working on a pen-and-ink sketch but mostly turned to the camera and addressing the audience directly.

Welles’ voice and his gift for story-telling make for an engaging quarter-of-an-hour. The programmes are filmed, not taped, but despite this allowing the makers to edit them, they do little of it, with the bulk of Welles’ tale in this edition being told without a cutaway, in a single take of at least ten-minutes duration in the middle of the programme. Here’s part of his introduction:

Huw Weldon produced the series, and this edition must have felt like a strange interlude between the jollity of the panel show One of the Family which finished at 8.15pm and the aforementioned Holiday Hotel which started at 8.30pm.

So, after keeping you in suspense for a couple of days let’s take a look at the Associated Broadcasting Company‘s planned Sunday schedule, as printed in this week’s The Stage. The schedule is intended to run from Sunday, 25 September 1955, but for how long remains unknown.

2.00pm Musical show – details to be announced.
2.30pm Sunday AfternoonKenneth More hosts and John Irwin directs a magazine show “designed to offer all the variety of a Sunday newspaper”.
3.30pm Stage 55 in which half-hour British plays will alternate with Hollywood productions, thanks to a deal with Screen Gems. Mentioned in despatches are Sir Ralph Richardson and Robert Morley in the UK plays, Claudette Colbert, Robert Mitchum and Edward Arnold in the US.
4.00pm Going Shopping with Elizabeth Allan – an advertising magazine.
4.30pm Zoo Club – a weekly visit to Regent’s Park Zoo, produced by Stephen Wade and Anna Lett.
5.00pm Noddy – puppet adventures with Enid Blyton‘s famous character.
5.30pm Swashbucklers, in the form of The Adventures of Robin Hood or The Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel.

7.30pm News.
7.40pm Palladium Preview – a visit to the stars’ number one dressing-room at the London Palladium.
7.45pm Movie Magazine – news and scenes from films on current release, introduced by John Fitzgerald.
8.00pm Sunday Night at the London Palladium – international stars, eight support acts, the George Carden Dancers and the London Palladium Skyrockets Orchestra directed by Eric Rogers. Bill Ward will produce. Guests already lined up include Gracie Fields, Bob Hope, Norman Wisdom, Johnnie Ray and Richard Hearne.
9.00pm Theatre Royal – famous stars in half-hour plays which will include adaptations and original works. Actors already contracted include Eric Portman, Margaret Leighton, Donald Wolfit, Wendy Hiller, Flora Robson, David Tomlinson, Wilfred Hyde White, Sam Wanamaker and André Morrell.
9.30pm I Love Lucy
10.00pm News and Newsreel
10.15pm An outstanding personality in a solo spot, details to be announced.

Can’t wait.

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