In today’s Observer Maurice Richardson echoes Bernard Levin’s views about the Norman Dodds news-film. Richardson found “Summer in Normandy” “very moderate” and turned instead to the BBC’s Animal Vegetable Mineral which he describes as “so consistently viewable”.
Patrick McGoohan’s portrayal of the “go-getting Seth Makepeace, stealing the secret of Crompton’s spinning jenny, and troops firing on Luddite mill-workers, was a really efficient production, better than anything we have seen for some weeks.” That was part one of “The Makepeace Story” being shown as part of Sunday Night Theatre in case you’d forgotten.
Richardson finds much to enjoy in The Adventures of Robin Hood – where “Friar Tuck” was “a most vigorous piece of characterisation despite the O’Cedar mop wig.” He also seems to like The Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel but baulks at the bowdlerisation which has changed “this demmed (or damned)” to “that cursed”.
As for three different petrol commercials: Esso’s is “desperately depressing”; BP’s use of Terry-Thomas makes him feel that “Terry-Thomas is advising me to fill my lighter, rather than my tank”; while Shell “continues to dominate with its excellent, sponsored, historical-topographical Betjeman films.”