EXPERIMENTING AT SEVEN O'CLOCK
TVConcentration on the Sunday 7 o'clock religious programmes is demanded at the moment because here at least some pioneering work is going on. The time, by the way, is awkward for those who go to evening services, but this makes it all the more important that the programmes should be directed at the less fervent, the minimists, the doubters and the otherwise indifferent. The B.B.C. last Sunday was a quarter of an hour early with its programme on religion and hunger. The fact that it was to be staged at Royaumont and that Abbe Pierre would appear was a special inducement in my case.
A YEAR or two ago I visited Royaumont and had a meal there with its director. One regrets that the Church had disap peared and that the ancient abbey is secularised, but it is being wisely run as a cultural centre and home from home for students. Alas, we are only allowed the briefest glimpse of the glories of the place. Alas, too, we saw very little of Abbe Pierre, and his beautiful voice was drowned by an English summary. The inherent desire, apparently international, of TV. to be complex would not allow us to be inspired about the theme in such a lovely setting. We were switched to a rather crude film, sections of which could more easily have been used as breaks to illustrate Abbe Pierre's words. Finally, we rested on the flats, architectural, liturgical and devotional, of St. Martin's-in-theFields. Fineid Fineid at least, gave me a good excuse to switch over to the last part of ITV's discussion on " The Congregation." 1.r is unfair to judge any programme on its final section. 1 can only say that by this time an Anglican clergyman was hogging the picture, trying excitedly to get over his view that church music and hymns should be jazzed up, if the people were to be attracted. A Catholic gentleman with a beard vainly tried to suggest that churches were built for more important business, and, despairing of getting a word in, brandished the crucifix on his rosary. The camera flitted over to a third party, but he was even less successful in getting a hearing. Not a very successful evening, but both channels were rightly going on experimenting, and an unsuccessful experiment is far better than falling back on the obvious and the easy.
RADIO. While the winds whistles round the house and we shiver away from our fires, our radio can be very comforting. There are some programmes and voices which are so evocative of warmth and comfort that the freezing weather can be forgotten in gales of laughter. It is blissful, for instance, having the " Take It From Here " team with us again. Jimmy Edwards, whether he is being Mr. Glum or just himself, has an Edwardian richness to his voice which is just right for this time of year. Dick Bentley, June Whitfield and Wallas Eaton, though more lugubrious at times, are always very funny. We particularly enjoyed the musical commercial skit they all gave us last week which brought the story of Lady Godiva up-todate. It is not surprising to learn that this programme is very popular in Australia and Now Zealand.
YOU might not think there was a lot in common between Jimmy Edwards and Gerald Hoffnung, the artist. The latter was to be heard this week choosing his records for his stay on that now very over-populated island in the " Desert Island Discs " series. They have, in fact, very much the same kind of cuddly voice and they both play brass instruments. Mr. Hoffnung' s choice of records was, not unexpectedly, as interesting and amusing as his drawings. He warmed our hearts by saying he adored cats and pleased me even more by choosing the cats' duet from my favourite "L'Enfant at les Sortiltges," by Ravel, for one of his records.