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

The Corporation Fights Back

An unnamed Daily Express TV Reporter reveals that, to fight commercial television, the BBC will broadcast better and longer programmes which will cost the Corporation £40,000 extra per week. The improvements will include:

  • Thirteen hours more viewing each week (49 hours compared to 36)
  • Cheerful Sunday afternoons, including a newsreel (1 hour), symphonies or light orchestral concerts (1 hour), a comedy film (30 mins) and a TV Brains trust (30 mins)
  • Brighter Thursdays – a new play or documentary instead of a repeats
  • A weekly Panorama
  • The Grove Family increased to 30 minutes from 7 September
  • A newsreel to end each evening
  • The changes will apparently bring an extra 20 programmes a week including a major Tuesday night talk series starting with another David Attenborough Zoo Quest series.

There will also be a light entertainment – sometimes two – every night.

Can’t wait.

The Mirror‘s Cassandra also reports on the parliamentary broadcasting restrictions I mentioned yesterday. Cassandra describes this as an “absurd ban”, suggesting that, “Surely it is in the public interest that our affairs should be discussed as widely as possible.”

The Times reports on a point made in the BBC’s current annual report and accounts: namely that the inducements offered by various commercial television companies to BBC staff have been on such a scale that “the effective continuance of the BBC’s operations seemed to be jeopardised in the immediate future”.

The paper also mentions the BBC’s press release regarding the increase in transmission hours and notes a few changes which aren’t mentioned elsewhere. Namely that Children’s television will be increased by about 15 minutes per day and Saturday afternoon broadcasts will be from 2.30pm to 5pm.

Around one-and-three-quarter hours are devoted tonight to ‘Scenes from’ The Barber of Seville broadcast from the Glyndebourne Opera House and – lest we fear something less than authentic – “sung in the original Italian”.

Before this, we’ve got a British version of a popular American show. Tonight, This Is Your Life makes its debut and it’s introduced by the man who devised it – Ralph Edwards. T. Leslie Jackson, of What’s My Line fame is producing it. Who will tonight’s subject be?

Lastly, for today, The Times, in part of its editorial, brings up the government’s 14-day rule which the paper says, “should be strenuously fought by public opinion. The fact that it has the support of the Opposition is unimpressive. This is a case of the Parliamentary parties wishing to have a closed shop for debate. They cannot enforce it on the ordinary citizen. They cannot enforce it on the Press. They cannot talk convincingly about wanting an informed democracy while they behave in such a fashion.”

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