139 JOAN NEWTON
LOOKING and LISTENING
RADIO and TV. One of the
many compensations for writing this column is the letters that reach me. from all over the world. The confidence that many readers have in my power with the BBC is a little frightening though
very flattering. I do know the BBC are influenced quite a bit by public opinion and Catmotie HERALD readers must not be afraid of writing to BBC or ITV if they feel something is wrong somewhere. or to pay g compliment.
We must. however, he fair to ptoducers and realise that they have so many different kinds of corns to avoid treading on that sometimes they can scarcely move at all.
sympathjse with a reader ft pin the Republic of Fire who com plains that an Irishman engagcsi In illegal activities in one of "-I he Sky Larks • series, was shoe n making a large Sign of the 1 The fault here does lie with ilie producer in not knowing that the Sign of the Cross should not he used so lightl5.. but it would he quite foolish to object on the grounds that Catholics and Irishmen never engage in illegal activities !
DO hope patents are still keeping a watchful eye on the BBC's TV Sunday serial for children "Queen's Champion" by Shaun Sutton, It is a really cm:client production but is written about such a tricky period in history-the eve of the Spanish Armada—that there are bound to be difficulties.
We had some visiting cousins
lust Sunday who asked "which are the basidies and which are the goodies?" The explanation that the "baddies" in this production
were Catholics and should therefore really he "goodies' was Lou complicated for words.
T do hope the author wilt soon mitke it abundantly clear that the e 'eked Catholic in this story was not a good Catholic in the strict sense. and that at the time of the Armada Catholics and nonCatholics all united in the defence Of their country.
E have all had an immense amount of pleasure from the three TV programmes called "Armchair Voyage" in which Sir Mortimer Wheeler conducted a cruise throught the Isles of Greece. I did literally feel it to he an armchair voyage 'because these programmes were so skillfully contrived as to give one the feeling
of actually being on the boat and visiting all those fascinating places. The time was not too late at night for the historically minded children to be able to join in.
LASLI"Fuesday the BBC television
gave us a very thoughtful play -"The Freedom of the Prisoner by Ediard Schaper. translated by Isabel and Florence McHugh. Both the author and the translaws are Catholics and the author himself was persecuted by both Nazis and Communists until 1947 when be found refuge in Switzerland.
This play was about a political prisoner in the time of Napoleon's projected invasion of this country. The young Lieutenant, played by Eric Lander. is patently innocent of treason hut he is kept waiting for trial. is later condemned, and has the greatest difficulty in resigning himself to his fate.
The priest. beautifully played by Robert Harris. by his sincerity and eloquence shows the Lieutenant hciw to make the hest of his misfortune. The end of the play, mainly because of Robert Harris s tine acting, was very moving. I don't think Eric Lander was able to convey the mental torture of the imprisoned man well enough to make the play's beginning very significant.