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

Visually Impaired

Saturday, 2 July 1955, and we’ve reached the final day of Wimbledon. Readers of Radio Times are warned that coverage may over-run, in which case this evening’s live In Town Tonight will be telerecorded and shown on another date. ITT is simultaneously broadcast on the wireless, sound only – obviously, on the London, Midland, North and West of England Home Services. So what happens if the tennis over-runs? Do the radio broadcasts still go ahead? If so, do they get repeated when the programme’s eventually broadcast? Perhaps it won’t come to that, but if the ladies’ doubles final is running late you can guarantee coverage won’t end early because both pairs in the final are British, meaning that the country is guaranteed its first title winners since Dorothy Round‘s singles win in 1937.

The evening’s drama is provided by the last of six Lester Powell plays in the series Terminus – this week it’s “Trial Balance” with Patrick Holt and Ursula Howells – while light entertainment comes in the form of Marine Parade, a visit to the Bathing Pool at Great Yarmouth(!), and The Saturday Show, which this week stars the Bernard Brothers. I can’t help but wonder whether the latter’s name is pronounced burrnud or burr-narred. Perhaps someone out there can tell me.

Almost hidden in today’s The Times but rather more prominent in The Guardian is a news snippet which notes that the Postmaster-General (Charles Hill) has introduced a bill to amend the Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1949. This was the Wireless Telegraphy (Blind Persons) Bill which aims to reduce the combined television and license fee from £3 to £2 for households where there is a blind person in the family. It had its first reading on Friday 1 July. Let’s hope they make it law.

It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. Do what? Well, PYE Ltd require radio and television testers in their Cambridge factory. The small-ad says that the work “offers wide scope for experience in checking, adjusting and fault finding. Good opportunities are offered to men with service or amateur radio experience.” No salary is mentioned, but prospective employees – presumably only male ones – should apply in writing to the Personnel Officer.

Lastly, here’s a thing. Clifford Davis in the Daily Mirror takes the BBC’s Cecil McGivern to task. His beef is that fewer BBC programmes will be introduced by in-vision announcers. Why? Apparently it’s because commercial television is planning to do away with announcers and instead programmes will be introduced by “anonymous off-the-screen voices” and printed captions… and the BBC is intending to follow suit. Davis reckons that the announcers foster an “intimate personal touch between announcers and viewers that has distinguished and established the BBC’s TV service. To lose Mary, ‘Mac‘ and all the others now will be like parting with old friends. This is a mistake, Mr. McGivern. Think again!”

Davis’ counterpart at the Daily Express, Cyril Aynsley, is equally perturbed, as is McDonald Hobley himself who is quoted as saying, “If we have to be voices only, then tomorrow wouldn’t be too soon for me to leave.”

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