Religion takes the air
By JOAN NEWTON
RADIO AND TV. Last week I
wrote about the work done at the Radio Centre, Hatch End, and now being done by Independent Television in making both laity and clergy more aware of the religious possibilities of broadcasting. Last Sunday we had some more fine examples of radio religion. On the B.B.C. "Brains Trust" there was the genial Bishop Dwyer of Leeds in company with Marghanita Laski, J. A. Birch, and Sir Eric Jones discussing among other subjects, that problem of birth control and the growing population of the world. I was glad this came up again, as many viewers had been worried when the Huxley brothers had thought that birth control was the only solution to this difficulty. It was a very peaceful session of the Trust, which I had found a bit disappointing, as 1 hoped for a few fire-works with this combination.
ALITTLE. later in the evening Fr. Hollings appeared on I.T.V. in a talk about Purgatory. The producer, Michael Redington. is certainly becoming a master of the art of religious presentation, but 1 think he tends to be overdramatic and the various musical insertions came through with too much bang. I would be the last, though, to disapprove his choice of Elgar's 'Dream of Gerontius" in a discussion such as this. Sister St. Helen, of the Society of the Helpers of the Holy Souls, supported Fr. Hollings admirably in explaining our beliefs about a place which non-Catholics might prefer not to think about. On the radio, too, the Abbot of Downside, who by now is a very experienced broadcaster, spoke with authority and was listened to with deference in a -Christian Forum" from Dorset. This is a religious kind of "Any Questions" and must prove a very valuable source of discussion for study F groups and the like on other evenings.
:Ore' AC*.: Op: ISe • , • 41; * 101; igCW: I THE more I listen and watch the more 1 find myself relating every programme to children or young listeners. It could be said that practically every television Stti programme, anyhow, is not above the mental age of-say-15. Some radio programmes, not necessarily on the Third Programme, are a bit more adult.
Even so, I am convinced that broadcasting. if properly used. can be of the greatest use in the rearing of children, and generally speaking, it is fair to say that both B.B.0 and I.T.V. keep this in mind all the time.
The B.B.C.schools programmes for the very youngest listeners, for instance, are among the best to be heard. "Let's Join In", which is really a very junior "Junior English", keeps up a remarkably high standard.
An exquisite little story, "The Sixpence that Rolled Away", which one would have expected to have been twee in the extreme, was written by the poet Louis MaeNeice and was a perfect example of a beautifully written tale for young childhren. Gordon Reynolds' "The Music Box" is a toddler's introduction to music and is immensely popular while playing first-rate music. too.
RADIO'S Children's Hour, of course, has always kept a very high standard and is now celebrating John Masefield's 80th birthday with a production of his "The Midnight Folk". Much as we all love this story, our favourite will always be " The Box of Delights" with its excitements and Christmassy atmosphere. Many radio and TV Children's Hour favourites can be found, by the way, in the "FI.B.C. Children's Annual" which is edited by Ursula Eason and published by Burke for 7s. 6d. This is a reasonable price for an annual and perhaps explains why the book isn't as fat as it has been in other years. Patrick Moore on "Looking at the Planets"; a story about "The Lone Ranger", and Gilbert Flackforth-Jones' "Green Sailors" are but samples of the varied material in this pleasant-to-look-at book.
SithOULD end by saying that Emlyn Williams' "Trespass", all about the dangers of spiritualism, which was televised by the B.B.C. last Saturday, was the most exciting, best produced, and best acted plays I have seen for a long time. (This could do with a repeat some time.) Then Margaret Date's producs tion of the ballet "Giselle" last Sunday was so beautiful in every way that I cannot find adjectives to describe it. The scenery, music, and dancing (Nadia Nerina was Giselle) combined to show me that television production can be put high among the arts and that this lovely performance more than made up for the hours of dreary watching I have to endnre in this job.