Television gets blamed for all manner of things, sometimes reasonably, sometimes ridiculously. On Wednesday, 29 June 1955, the Daily Express reports that the British Transport Commission, which were then responsible for running the railways, were in the red to the tune of £11,900,000 because of “rocketing costs and fewer passengers.” Passenger journeys were down by 1.3%. Why? Because of new housing, the growth of private motoring and television.
Meanwhile the Daily Mirror carries the ‘news’ that researchers believe that suburban housewives are more anxious than city dwellers and take outside jobs in order to be able to afford new furniture, cars and televisions.
The same paper’s Cassandra column also records that the dock strike, which was being reported as over just a week ago, is anything but, and that many TV sets are being returned by strikers who can’t keep up their hire-purchase payments. Cassandra’s view: “it is a queer sign of the prosperity of the country and that grip that this rather sinister instrument has on the population.”
Fortunately, things are more stable on the small screen which continues to bring us the adventures of Bobby in France and also provides another of J. B. Priestley’s You Know What People Are.
After many years of success on the wireless, today also sees the television debut of Life with The Lyons starring the Lyon family – Ben Lyon, his wife Bebe Daniels, and their children Barbara and Richard. The four play vaguely fictionalised versions of themselves, with scripts by Bebe, Bob Block and Bill Harding, production by Bryan Sears and, this week, guest actors including Molly Weir and Charles Hawtrey.