23 June 1955, a Thursday. This means that there’s a new issue of The Stage to look at. Fortunately, after months where their television coverage was usually restricted to a maximum of half-a-page, they’ve seen sense and we have a whole “TV Page” in this edition. Let’s hope it’s not a one-off. This time round it’s mainly interested in what’s happening at the new ITV companies.
Its lead story is that Reg Dixon (the comic actor, not the wizard of the pipes and stops) has been signed by Associated-Rediffusion to appear in 39 thirteen-minute comedies under the title Confidentially.
A-R also trumpeted the news that 49-year-old Leslie Mitchell has signed a contract with them. His duties there are “to appear as chairman of discussions, panel games and audience participation shows; to supervise the production and presentation of special events; and event to train other interviewers and presentation personnel.”
A-R had drama news too – five more 54-minute dramas has been filmed at Shepperton by the subsidiary company Future Productions Ltd. These were “The Glorification of Al Toolum”, “The House in Athens”, “Goodbye Jonah”, “The Inward Eye” and “Summer in Normandy”.
Their London compatriots, the Associated Broadcasting Companyhave their own news, which includes the snippet that as well as Theatre Royal, for which 39 27-minute plays are already in production, a second series of dramas – to be called Sunday at Three – will shortly go into production.
The page does slip in the odd note about Auntie and tells us that “Two of the original coppers in The Blue Lamp play – Jack Warner and Peter Byrne – will be seen in Dixon of Dock Green, which begins a six-week serial on BBC TV on July 9″.
On screen, much of the daytime schedule is given over to sport in the form of cricket and tennis. The former finds Brian Johnston and Peter West commentating on the second test match between England and South Africa at Lords. With tennis occupying much of the day’s broadcasting, only 90 minutes was given over to cricket, and it would have been an interesting day with England all out for 133 and South Africa 145/5 by close of play. I don’t know which Wimbledon matches Michael Henderson, Dan Maskell and Dennis Coombe would have commented on, but they might have seen Jaroslav Drobny beat Jack Arkinstall in four sets or a straight-sets victory for Ken Rosewall over John Barrett.
A gap in the sport allowed a repeat of Sheilah Ward and Peter Ling’s play for youngsters The Right Answers. It shared the 17:00-17:55 children’s television slot with The Young Cook in which Margaret Alcorn showed us how to make meringues.