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

One L – or Two?

The Guardian‘s un-named Radio Critic has found time to take a look at the BBC panel show Who Said That? finding it “an improvement on some of the more deadly specimens of the quiz craze.”

The panel, in the main, gets RC’s approval, having been “chosen for intelligence rather than showmanship”. So, Nancy Spain is “quick, forthright and sometimes provocative”; Gilbert Harding “is back in a setting that suits him” and “His spotting of quotations… was uncommonly quick.” John Betjeman was “adequately” replaced last night by Robert Henriques, but RC finds Betjeman’s “slightly melancholy air… a pleasant contrast to much that goes on in television” and looks forward to his return. Only Joanna Kilmartin gets a black mark on the grounds that she “appears diffident and lacks facility.”

It’s only Wednesday, so are the BBC trying to fool us into thinking we’re a day nearer the end of the week by peppering tonight’s prime-time with repeats? Between 8.30pm and 9pm we have a repeat edition of the European-made but U.S. funded anthology series Orient Express and later, from 10pm until the sound-only news just before closedown, George Cukor introduces a number of film excerpts featuring Greta Garbo.

Between those two we have a new edition of Off The Record where Jack Payne introduces the Concert Orchestra and the George Mitchell Singers, and Transatlantic Exchange where our very own TV cook, Philip Harben, meets Chef Phillip of NBC’s Home programme, in London, and they demonstrate national dishes.

However, to finish, let’s look at something which is on a little earlier in the evening, when half-an-hour is devoted to Brighter Cricket and a match between the North and the South of England. But what is Brighter Cricket? And will it have traditionalists tutting over their tea?

Fortunately, Radio Times carries a description. It is a form of six-a-side cricket, devised by the Weston-super-Mare Cricket Club, with some quite different rules to ‘ordinary’ cricket. To the batting side, boundaries are worth more than in the standard game, as a normal boundary is worth six runs but “a hit out of the ground” counts for ten. Any batsman who allows three balls to pass without scoring a run has his score cancelled and anyone scoring 25 runs or more must immediately retire. Wides and no-balls count four runs each, and the RT then contradicts itself by saying that “every fieldsman bowls one over during each innings of five overs”. So presumably there is still a dedicated wicket-keeper, and “every fieldsman” doesn’t include him.

Will it catch on? Is there a series in it? Time will tell.

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