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

The Nine They Came A-Calling

Some significant news in The Times and The Guardian today – they say that yesterday the Independent Television Authority reported that nine applications had been received for the Northern and Midland contract which had been re-advertised following the withdrawal of the Kemsley-Winnick group.

The Guardian also quotes, seemingly in full, a statement issued on behalf of Maurice Winnick.

The late withdrawal of Lord Kemsley at a very late stage left Mr Winnick with insufficient time to re-form as strong a group as that which had previously been successful in obtaining the license for the Northern and Midland stations. Mr Winnick has therefore been unable to put in another application. He is busily engaged with his programme companies in producing programmes for this country and America. It is possible that he may affiliate himself with some other group.

The Guardian’s Industrial Staff report on the fact that Independent Television News has asked the Labour Party for permission to film part of its annual conference. As mentioned a few days ago, the BBC has recently been granted permission, and it is assumed that ITN will be given access under a similar agreement.

Friday’s television adaptation of Giraudoux’s “L’Apollon de Bellac”, under the title The Apollo of Bellac, occupies the thoughts of The Times’ television reviewer (TR).

TR suggests that “Some viewers of last night’s television version will recall the exquisite revival of it at the Athénée Theatre in 1947”. Now, I know this is The Times but even so, how many of its readers are likely to have seen a revival of this play, three years after the end of the war, in French, in a threatre in Paris? Showing off, are we, TR?

As a result TR finds that the “difficulty of translating Giradoux’s mannered prose and the requisite lightness of touch both proved too much for television.” “All the same,” TR continues, “the best scene… did make much of its impact – thanks to a magnificent performance lasting a few minutes by Miss Jane Henderson as the earthbound wife.”

Saturday afternoon on BBC television is mostly filled with sport, with either the British Games, which confusingly incorporates an international match against Hungary, and the the fifth cricket test against South Africa occupying the entire schedule from 3pm to 6.40pm, apart from the time devoted to a Hopalong Cassidy television film in the middle of the afternoon. The evening’s television begins with In Town Tonight and continues, after the news, with the last of six looks at Dixon of Dock Green. After highlights on this afternoon’s athletics, George Inns produces an hour of entertainment in the form of The Ted Ray Show, and the evening is rounded of with another Tall Story Club where Robert MacDermot’s guests include Alfred Wurmser, Hella Toros, Peter Jones and Ernest Dudley.

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