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

Wolf… Shown The Door?

The two one-act plays by Wolf Mankowitz shown last night by the BBC come under the scrutiny of The Times newspaper. Described as “bold experiments” the reviewer feels that neither of the plays – “It Should Happen to a Dog” and “The Girl” – “persuaded one that Mr Mankowitz has yet quite discovered how to accommodate archetypal images to the set of Jewish characters he knows so well and whose rhythms of speech he conveys so impeccably.”

The reviewer considers Tony Richardson’s production of “Dog” to be “inventive” but is less taken with Patricia Foy’s production of “The Girl” and declares the pair “at best, merely interesting.”

The Express‘s Robert Cannell is less charitable, suggesting that viewers had rung the BBC to complain that the two plays were “incomprehensible”.  He adds that “One, ‘It Should Happen to a Dog,” was a free reconstruction of the story of Jonah an d the whale . It was crystal clear compared with “The Girl,” which did not seem to be about anything.” He concludes that, “it was all hardly worth the electricity needed to put it over.”

The actor playing the boxer in “The Girl” is named Harry Corbett. Fortunately the plays were on late enough to avoid confusing any children who may have been on the lookout for a small yellow bear. Sounds as though he might have improved them somewhat.

The paper has better news, on the subject of Life with the Lyons. It mentions that the first series ends tonight and that BBC audience research shows that the family “are the funniest people of 1955”>

Aside the the Lyons, the evening’s viewing includes a London v. South contest of Hydroplane Racing commentated upon by Raymond Baxter, a programme from the Welsh Plant Breeding Station of the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth and a programme entitled Pocket Edition wherin Jimmy Young introduces half-an-hour of ‘Variety in Miniature’ with Ken Morris & Joan Savage, The Coronets, Janie Marden, Martin Lukins, John Van Derrick, Jack Martin and the Steve Race Quartet. Duncan Wood produces.

Elsewhere the Labour Party have agreed that part of their conference at Margate will be televised by the BBC on an experimental basis. This is news, and an improvement – from the BBC’s point of view – on 1954 when the party refused the BBC’s request. Perhaps they were concerned to make the change, even if only as an experiment, because the Conservative Party allowed the cameras into their 1954 conference.

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