Edited by KEVIN MAYHEW
Holding two new babies
PLENTY of romance in the column this week because last Tuesday was Valentine's Day. The first romantic story: on the day he heard that he was to be the new Religious Programme's Officer for I.T.V. Christopher Martin's wife had a baby.
He says the television job frightens him, but he's got a pretty good idea of what it's all about. "The point of religious television," he says, "is not simply to provide a service for church-goers. It must re ch the vast majority of people who, as statistics show, are well-disposed but uncommitted. We must engage their attention. "1 think it must be arresting, even startling and never comfditable, because, as I understand it, the Christian Gov't!' only sparks off an effective resnonse when it startles complacency about the way things rre."
Martin is 35 and lives with his wife and two children in Barnes. "The estate agents call it Little Chelsea. If it's not careful, it's going to become fashionable," he says regretfully. His two boys are called Benedict and Leo. "We think one of them may become Pope."
At the moment Christopher M rtin is writing a "1984type novel"; all about unemployment and vast government re-training camps and what happens as things get worse and worse. "The two good guys get beaten and the system wins," he says. "It's not very clever, mainstream or mod. Just a story,"
The Church Times, in a euphonius phrase, has described him as "a-son of the vicarage." At Oxford he read classics and philosophy and then soldiered in Egypt and Cyprus. A spell of teaching at Brasted Pre-Theological College, and then in 1957 Martin started Prism, which has now been swallowed up by New Christian. "I started that magazine," he recalls, "partly because the Church Times wouldn't print the things I liked."
Before his I.T.V. job which he takes over from Penry Jones. who has moved to the B.B.C., he worked in public relations. He also writes a "funny" column for a motoring magazine. Just recently he drove a policeman half-way round the West End of London on the roof of his car. "I thought he was a thug and he thought 1 was a jewel thief," Martin explains.
SECOND romantic story: the path of true love. Christobal Reyes, the natural successor to Spain's famous flamenco dancer Antonio say those who know, is in London with his fiancee Marina Torres. They are here to escape the wrath of his gypsy family who want him to marry a gypsy girl.
When I met the two, look ing small and cold, in Covent Garden this week, they were busy trying to get clearance from the Spanish Embassy for their wedding in a Catholic church. Meanwhile they are dancing each evening at Antonio's Restaurant, looking tall, proud and very Spanish.
Christobal has written to his family. "I explained that Marina and I have known each other for six years. We hone our marriage will not cut us off for ever from my family." Now he's anxiously waiting for a reply.
He will be unable to return home for at least a year.
According to gypsy tradition the relations of the girl his father wanted him to marry would kill him. "The police don't bother too much about the odd gypsy who is killed for honour," he explains.