Page 5, 16th January 1959

16th January 1959
Page 5
Page 5, 16th January 1959 — LOOKING and LISTENING

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Tv/radio By Ian James

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Keywords: Gilbert Harding

Tremendous TV trivialities


A READER has suggested that " I spend too much time on the trivialities of television. I am sorry if 1 have given that impression. l do not think the impact of television at all trivial, though I do think it has. just now, taken the place of horror comics or X-films as the bete noir in the eyes of school-teachers and other moulders of the young. The same reader also remarks that I use as much space on quizgames as on coronations and ceremonials. This is a bit ambiguous as I never write about quizgames (on television, that is).

QUIZ GAMES THAT makes me wonder, when

is a quiz-game not a quizgame? They can be as ridiculous and degrading as I.T.V.'s "Take Your Pick" and "Double Your Money", where the questions

could be answered by a five-yearold but where the excitement of winning prizes is the chief draw. right up the scale to B.B.C.'s elegant "Who Said That?" pre

sided over by Gilbert Harding, where the questions and answers are merely an excuse for discussion.

Gilbert Harding also appears in radio's "Round Britain Quiz" where erudition is the order of the day. Then again on TV is that delightful "Animal, Vegetable, Mineral?" where experts have to guess the origins of various archaeological or artistic exhibits.

These can surely not be classed as trivial, so I think we must come to the conclusion that it is the lure of the money prize which makes so many TV quizzes appear trivial and unpleasant. Where the contest is one of learning against learning, then I think we all get a great deal of pleasure and profit from the programme.


ANOTHER very vexed question " in many households is as to when to let the children view and what they should view. On the radio there is not so much difficulty because the minority Third Programme provides most of the adult programmes, and there is not the terrific impact of the actual picture of horror or sin in front of the child.

I was very pleased indeed when Richard Dimbleby, last week warned us that Monday's "Panorama" on Communist China was considered unsuitable for children because it was rather frightening. 1 think it is most important for parents to know whether a programme is merely frightening or just frankly immoral.

So far neither channel has brought itself to announce that a feature or play is likely to upset the morals of the young. It seems to me that "they" are far more concerned about frightening the young.

We have all discussed this among ourselves in our family and decided that a frightening feature may produce a nightmare or two but has no lasting effect on the child. We did not. in fact, consider Panorama's programme on Communist China the least bit frightening.

On moral grounds it fell down badly because there was nothing at all to show that the Communist State was a had thing. If we had not already known it was so, we might have thought that China was certainly doing well out of Communism.


I HAVE just time to mention

▪ some really Christian programmes on both sound and television which have given me great pleasure last week.

First, on B.B.C. TV, Sir Malcolm Sargent's musical programme of recollections in which he was brave enough to mention that taboo subject "death" in connection with Elgar's "Dream of Gerontius-. Richard Lewis sang Gerontius's dying prayer with great feeling and beauty.

Then on radio's Third Programme on Saturday we had a repeat of "Adam". translated by Fr. John W. Doyle, S.J. The charm of this early Anglo-Norman piece was increased on a second hearing, and I only wished that the whole of the play could have been done. We just heard the first act up to the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden.

eatiticase "II III/ I. I I I .1.

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