Page 11, 17th January 1936

17th January 1936
Page 11
Page 11, 17th January 1936 — BROADCASTING

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B) Wilfrid Rooke Ley


The B.B.C. was well inspired to broadcast Murder in the Cathedral. A play better fitted to the microphone it would be difficult to find. The broadcast must have brought to thousands their only opportunity of listening to one of the most beautiful plays of our time and to Robert Speaight's performance of Becket, which bids fair to rank as one of the classics of the English stage. I think that any playgoer who can recall the outstanding performances of the last thirty or forty years will be prepared to set Mr. Speaight's Becket among them.

The broadcast afforded an object-lesson in how a poetic play should be spoken; but then the cast was perfect. I hope the Shakespearean producers listened-in and took a lesson from it. With regard to the production generally, I thought the trick of moving voices away from the microphone and bringing them back again—

too, a broadcaster of no mean attainments, for he acted the dialogue between Pepys and the traitor as convincingly as if there had been two voices in the studio. His royalist sympathies, if well in the background, were not for a moment in doubt. If the other talks in this new series are half as good as Mr. Bryant's, none of them must be missed.

The second week of the " Proms " convinced me that I wrote all too temperately in my last letter about the non-broadcasting of these concerts. To be fobbed off with only the one part of a " Prom " is plainly dishonest. I hope the audiences at the Queen's Hall were duly grateful to the few million wireless-licence-holders whose money goes to pay for these concerts. Suppose the B.B.C. was to run a music-hall and out of a score of turns broadcast only three? I can imagine what the " Entertainment " page in a certain section of the press would have to say about it.

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