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

The Lull Before The Storm

19550921-ITV01Under the headline “Personality in News” in The Times and “Personality and News” in The Guardian are reports on Independent Television News’ Editor-in-Chief Mr Aidan Crawley who told a news conference yesterday that in the bulletins provided by ITN the newscaster will be invited “to inject something of his or her own personality” into the broadcast.

The Times’ piece continues with extra detail which records that Mr Crawley said that over 100 people had been given trials as newscasters and the selected people, in addition to Mr Christopher Chataway who has already been named, were Mr Robin Day, a former president of the Oxford Union and a former topical talks producer with the BBC; Mr David Lloyd-James, a freelance broadcaster educated at Haileybury and Trinity College, Cambridge; Mrs Barbara Mandell who has spent eight years on the staff of the South African Broadcasting corporation; and Mr Rex Keating who has been a programme consultant in Beirut and director of the department of broadcasting in the Government of Cyprus.

In all, the company had engaged 170 people “as newscasters, reporters, editorial workers, camera technicians, cutters and administrators.”

The Guardian’s Radio Critic (RC) was quite taken with a “happy show” on last night, namely the programme celebrating the silver wedding anniversary of Wilfred and Mabel Pickles. I’m not sure whether RC’s conclusion, “It is impossible to judge a programme which was so personal by any rational standards” is meant to be positive, negative or neutral. It’s unlike RC to remain positive through the column but even a repeat of A. P. Dearsley’s The Adventurer is described as “a comedy with some fresh ideas and amusing dialogue.” Good grief.

After the successful trial broadcast a couple of days ago, some problems with the ITA’s Croydon transmitter yesterday: it was off the air from 2.25pm to 3.10pm and from 4.30pm until 7.30pm. “A small fault developed” said an ITA spokesman quoted in the Daily Express.

The BBC’s last night as sole purveyor of television to the capital and parts of south east is a low key affair. The second part of The Grove Family story “One for the Road” opens the evening’s viewing and that’s followed by floodlit athletics in Sportsview and a visit to J. B. Priestley at Home, on the Isle of Wight. More Contrary, at 9.45pm features the Salici Puppets and Eileen Fowler and her Keep Fit Girls. Are they saving their big guns until tomorrow or going down without a fight?

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