TVThe discussion about "commercial" television makes one watch programmes with a special interest just now. Seeing really good stuff makes one wonder whether this will he available when industry forces keen competition for mass audiences; and seeing bad stuff makes one fear how much of it will be foisted on to us in the good new days to come.
All this was very much in my mind as I watched the magnificent production of ''Crime and Punishment" on Sunday. Dostoevskv's novel, which combines the qualities of a thriller with a profound penetration into the human conscience, has not been well suited either to film or stage presentation. What can television make of it?
Here, so it seemed to me, the intimacy of watching in the home. the production emphasis on the tortured faces of Raskonikoff sari Sonia, the insistence on the essential dramatic simplicity of the story, all gave it a power and directness, not to be otherwise obtained except by those who read the original. The "thriller" quality could hold the viewer and take him by the hand into some
understanding of the spiritual values and conflict. It was a new experience.
Would "commercial" television think it box-office? Yet, I wonder how mans, who watched the dark and unfamiliar for a few moments could turn it off. After that. 1 need hardly praise the chief actors, hut a special word for Kenneth Hyde's rendering of the pathetic, drunken Marmeladoff.
Alan Bullock's "International Survey" has not always come off. But his study on Tuesday of Germany and the key to a settlement there was vividly presented, well explained and fairly argued. I watched it with a German friend who expressed hetself amazed at the objectivity and high standard shown. Here, again, what would "commercial" television think of a programme like that. especially as compared with "Time for Dancing," which preceded it?
Having seen Don Pasquale at Sadler's Wells, I ask myself what on earth prevents the television cameras installing themselves there, and letting millions see and hear that delightful diverting opera bouffe. Sadler's Wells would be filled for months after. M. B.