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

Pulling the Wool

The Guardian and The Times revive the subject of the 14-day rule and report that one of the Liberal Party’s treasurers, Philip Fothergill, is expected to renew his party’s attack on the rule at a meeting today.

The Guardian’s Political Correspondent (PC) quotes again a particular passage in Dr Hill’s restatement of the ruling which requires that the BBC and ITA “Shall not on any issue arrange discussions or ex parte statements which are to be broadcast during a period of a fortnight before the issue is to be debated in either house or while it is being so debated.”

PC notes that the BBC has already interpreted the word “issue” to “imply an element of controversy in Parliament, and not to refer to any topic on which there is broad agreement.”

PC also wonders what would happen “If Sir Robert Boothby, for example, sneaks some forbidden words into a broadcast, will the party whip be withdrawn from the sinner? The Government and the offical opposition would look very foolish if they tried to impose some heavy penalty either on the broadcasting authority concerned or on the broadcaster. Indeed it is difficult to see how the party machines could enforce their gag with any decorum”.

We shall see.

Elsewhere in The Guardian, among the classified advertisements, the attractions at the Hippodrome (Tel: Ardwick 4101) include “New TV Stars Chic Murray & Maidie”.

Same paper’s Radio Critic (RC) notes that “perhaps on of the most ominous signs yet [of the approaching competition in television] is that the Grove Family are now to be with us for a full half-hour every week.” Clearly not a fan, RC adds, “nobody need wonder how they can keep it up week after week for the Groves are forever the same, and one half-hour of them is the same as half a lifetime. In this lies their great strength and also their horror”.

RC did enjoy the BBC’s visit to Powis Castle with Clough Williams-Ellis as one of the guides, and thought that the repeat of The Unloved “deserved to be seen again.”

The Guardian’s Radio Correspondent reports that Panorama will be returning on 19 September, with Richard Dimbleby as chief commentator, “but Max Robertson and Malcolm Muggeridge will also appear.”

David Attenborough will be returning in Zoo Quest on 13 September – this time the joint BBC/London Zoo expedition has been to British Guiana.

And, of course, The Grove Family return this evening, with a half-hour episode entitled “The Price Ticket.” After that there’s half-an-hour of Sportsview, thirty minutes of The World in Wool (from the International Wool Fashion Festival) before an hour of Music for You introduced by Eric Robinson. News aside, the evening ends with a Special Enquiry on “Schools in Britain”. The commercial companies must be quaking in their boots.

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