By EVE MacADAM
IT seemed at first proper that
both BBC and ITV should each have two women as against eight men commentators for the Royal Wedding today: Jean Metcalfe and Anne Edwards for the BBC and Nancy Wise and Bettie Spurling for ITV. But—on second thoughts—is it? If the wedding day is the most important one in a woman's life and is, therefore a woman's occasion par excellence, why do we take it for granted that men should interpret it?
To suggest that all the commentators should be women or even 50 per cent women is preposterous, and I make it merely to indicate how today everyone accepts the man's eye view. In television men predominate as commentators, oracles, writers, medicos, fashion experts, directors, cameramen, and in every other department.
yET in the entertainment world, as in the press, men agree that the "woman's angle" is the most important single factor. This is because women do most of the watching and reading and—is this the heart of the matter?— women control the nation's spending power via the housekeeping money.
Tom Fleming as King Henry IV in the BBC's 15-part series of Shakespeare's historical plays covering the lives and times of the 15th century kings of England.
One glance at a day's programmes on television and sound, and a page of a popular daily, will prove that the fare provided is not for women at all but for men: red Meat in the way of sport and violence, and dessert in the way of sex and cheesecake. There is really no "woman's angle" in TV, generally speaking, and there cannot be while so few women participate on the production side. Is this a good or bad thing? The week's programmes seem to indicate that the absence of women in more serious features like "Who Goes Next'?", "Right to Reply", "What the Papers Say", make them colourless, and their inclusion (all too rare) in features like the "Brain's Trust" adds a dimension.
"WHO Goes Next?" cried out for a woman to speak up for women against the Lord Chief Justice's recommendation of birching. And, if a woman were occasionally invited to take over "What The Papers Say", we might get some telling criticism.
For instance, "Time" reported that the Peugeot kidnapping was
almost certainly inspired by rehash in Paris-Presse of the famous Lindbergh tragedy. A woman critic would have fastened on this, and knocked the British Sunday paper which followed the bad French precedent and regurgitated this well known crime. But for the charm and tolerant good sense of Ruth Pitter in last Thursday's "The Brain's Trust", Wolf Mankowitz might have got away with his usual act of enfant terrible. He was out to shock when he said: "Priesthood without a God—very useful. I go for that," but Ruth Pitter put him quietly in his place with: "God was there first: it is impossible to disassociate a priest from his God."
THE Epilogue throughout the week was given by Catholics, Fr. John Coventry. S.J., Provincial of the Society of Jesus, and on Saturday by Jr. Gordon Albion, historian and parish priest, also a well-known broadcaster.
Fr. Coventry gave us much to ponder over in speaking of prayer as "a type of listening" and "if we don't have a time of quiet, we become afraid of silence, get used to commotion, and so become deaf to the voice of God."
TUCKED away in the Third Programme late on Saturday night was an interesting discussion between two philosophers on the fact that God is, God has to be, and is not evidence manufactured by philosophers but is knowledge that has come to men recurringly. The speakers were H. D. Lewis, author of "Our Experience of God" and Professor of the History and Philosophy of Religion at London University, and the Rev. David Jenkins, Fellow and Chaplain of Queen's College, Oxford. They told us how we must learn to recognise the truth of God's existence, but their talk was given the off-putting title of "Intuition, Evidence, and Belief' and thus could have attracted only the eggheads. Ong had the feeling at times that the learned gentlemen enjoyed being abtruse and many of their elucidations were far from lucid. At other moments, however, their similies were rewarding, when, for instance, Lewis compared the difficulty of learning to recognise the truth of God's existence with the difficulty a child experiences in grasping new knowledge. "The only thing then is to start again, present a child with the same evidence but in different words and from another angle until the fact is apprehended."