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

Sharing It Around

The Times carries an interesting report headed Actors in Television Advertising Films. It says that “[a]ctors in the one-minute advertising films to be used in commercial television will be paid a minimum fee of £7 per day.” This decision has been reached after negotiation between the Association of Specialized Film Producers, British Actors’ Equity and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising.

A second principle was also agreed: in addition to their initial fee for appearing in the production, actors will be paid “use fees” depending on the number of times the advertisement is shown. The production fees will be paid by whichever company makes the advertisement film, but the use fees will be paid by the advertisers themselves.

The rates so far agreed are 10% of the actor’s original fee for a single transmission after the first, or 50% of the original fee for a block of nine further transmissions, after the first. Further amounts would be payable for additional transmissions. The newspaper also notes that “there is a limit from three to seven years on the length of time the film can be used” but neglects to say what determines where, in that range of years, a particular commercial falls.

The same paper reports that “Commercial television programmes will be seen for the first time at the National Radio Show, which opens at Earls Court on August 24, if advertisers think it worth while exhibiting their films to the 30,000 people or more who are expected to attend daily.” It goes on to say, “If there are applicants for showing advertising films, up to 10 per cent of the programme time will be given to one-minute, half-minute or quarter-minute film advertising ‘spots’. A nominal rate for the whole 10 days, 30 showings in all, has been fixed at £50 a minute; £30 for half-a-minute, and £20 for a quarter-minute item.”

There’s good news for the BBC too, as the number of television licenses increased in June by 52,505. This has brought the total number of broadcast receiving licenses to 14,035,567 of which 4,676,422 were for television.

And so, what of Peter Brook’s short play? The Times‘ television reviewer believes that the play “is the kind of serious dramatic joke… which to succeed must from the first wholly arrest the attention; and this, alas, it fails to do.” The reviewer suggests that neither of the two characters in the play – a husband and a wife – “possessed sufficient character for the encounter between them… to be more than merely pointless.” Tony Richardson’s direction sounds more interesting, being, “full of unusual angles and close-ups of wedding rings and tanks of tropical fish.” Unfortunately, the invention here, “only made one aware of the missing sleight of hand in the writing of the play.”

The Guardian‘s Radio Critic is no less scathing, describing the play as “poor stuff” and “based upon so extravagant an idea… that it failed to carry any conviction.” At least RC says it was “well acted” so a crumb of comfort for the actors, Yvonne Mitchell, Michael Gwynn and Violet Fairbrother.

Better received, up in Manchester, was The Big Meeting, a film of the Durham Miners’ Gala, produced by Arthur Swinson and narrated by Robert Reid which RC calls “an excellent regional production” and “a film which one likes to think made viewers in the Home Counties sit up and take notice.”

There’s quite a variety on BBC Television today. In the afternoon, Gerald Campion plays the title role in the second episode of Billy Bunter of Greyfriars School and that’s followed by a visit to Headingley for a couple of hours worth of cricket.

The First Night of the Proms is covered between 8.15pm and 9pm and at 9.15pm Jack Warner makes his third appearance as Dixon of Dock Green in a Ted Willis episode entitled “Night Beat”. Russell Hunter has a guest role, Douglas Moodie produces.

The evening is rounded off by Variety Parade with Moris, Marty & Mitch, Dennis Spirce, Russ Henderson’s Trinidad Music, Bethe Douglas, George Martin, Danny Purches, Peter Glover and June Laverick. The George Mitchell Singers are also present, as are the Peter Glover Dancers and the Variety Parade Orchestra conducted by Eric Robinson. Ernest Maxin is the producer.

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