of anchor-men in television that when a really big television day comes along the champions of both ITV and
C nthare worked into the ground. Anchor-men are those really reliable, experienced commentators or interviewers who can be counted upon to carry the flag when all around them is in chaos.
It is only to be expected that men like these should be in short supply. But to judge from the events or last Tuesday (November 3) they number only two—Richard Dimbleby and Alastair Burnet.
Shortly after 10 o'clock that day Lord Cholmondley ushered them along the carpets of the House of Lords to an improvised staircase. They climbed to tiny cells, a few feet square, each containing a microphone and a monitor.
The staircase was taken away and the eyes and ears of the television millions were sealed away for two or three hours like dangerous bats in the belfry of the House of Lords.
Their connection with the outside world was confined to a set of headphones which enabled them to hear the voices of the respective television producers closeted nearby in outside broadcast wagons,
When Parliament had been opened, the Queen's Speech read and the last junior peeress had left the Chamber, the two stalwarts acre let out by ladder. Some time during the day they presumably had to dub a shortened commentary On to the edited versions of the ceremony that were to be put out that evening Later still, the first results of the American Presidential election started coming and television— warmed no doubt by the experience of our omit General Election —prepared for another marathon. And of the course the anchormen for these programmes, too, were iume other than Richard Dimbleby and Alastair Burnet. The follosting morning at 6.30 a.m., when another American election programme started, there were Iaimbleby and Burnet yet again. There is no doubting the enormous professional skill of these two men. But at this rate they will surely be dead long before their time. After their feats of endurance it might seem churlish to criticise any part—however small—of the talent they display so prodigally in television marathons. But it would he an improvement if the attention to small details—which was much welcome when first started— should be confined to the important details. 1 suppose there is marginal interest in the fact that earls have four pearls and four strawberry leaves on their coronets, or whatever they do have, and undoubtedly the relatives of pageboys and postillions are delighted to hear their kin identified on the air. But I do get so tired of hearing about the ancestry and adventures of the horses that have any proximity of the Queen or another member of the Royal Funny.
wish I hadn't been so critical of the innuendoes in the Eamoun Andrews Show a couple of weeks ago. No sooner was it in print— although I don't suppose there was any connection—than the dead hand of Lord Hill fell on the hapless Mr. Andrews and the papers reported that the TTA had ordered a "clean-up",
The ITA are dab hands with their sledge-hammers when a nod would have done just as well. Mr. Eamonn Andrews, who looks as if he personally has neser told a doubtful story in his life, looks increasingly unhappy as every guest comes in. At the mention of Freud or bosoms he leaps into the discussions like a startled fawn and changes the subject. And the trouble with the programme is not so much lack of propriety as a lack of stimulating talk and ideas. Mrs. Pamela Mason raised a good hare last week by saying that fathers were fairly useless ancl dispensable creature when it came to raising a family. This was good, provocative stuff. But, alas, the others—apart from Mr. Andrews himself—just agreed with her and the hare wasn't given a good chase. The truth is, of course, that the responsibility rot raising these pro vocative subjects is the responsibility of the host not the guests. Mr. Andrews might be spared angering the censorious Lord Hill if he initiated more topics for his guests to talk about instead of waiting for one of them to be risque.
was glad. to see religion the topic of a discussion programme outside the normal religious programme hours — even though it was, so far as I know, confined to the area served by Southern Television. The programme was called Your Questions, Pleaae, and particularly remembered an answer given by Mgr. George Tomlinson to the question "What is wrong with the Church?". He replied that so far as the Catholic Church in Britain was concerned we had been too inaards looking. Because of the various legal penalties now lifted, which once surrounded Catholics, we had tended to become a rather closed group. He said we talked a special language to each other, without enough attention to the world outside: and that from the inspiration of Pope John and the Council this was now changing. Unfortunately the Series of Your Questions, Please, has not been a uniform success, certainly not enough to justify a national networkine. But it was rewarding to see that ITV companies do not intend to confine religious subjects to the 6,15 to 7.25 spot on Sundays which has been the virtual limit of their operation for so long.