Page 5, 9th October 1959

9th October 1959
Page 5
Page 5, 9th October 1959 — `Father Afterthought'

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`Father Afterthought'

"FATHER AFTERTHOUGHT" I' more officially Canon Edmund Arbuthnott—got the second surprise of his life when on Monday he was spotlighted as the central figure in the B.B.C. televised "This is Your Life" programme. His first surprise was when during the war a German bomb fell on a South London church and he found he still lived.

The Canon was introduced as the man who had a lot to do with the introduction of the Young Christian Workers' movement here 20 years ago; as the priest who was everywhere when bombs fell on Dockside; as head of the Southwark Catholic Rescue Society, where some of his 1,000 "children" could not pronounce his name and called him "Father Afterthought"; and finally as the youth leader who is now back in the Y.C.W. movement as its national chaplain.

A Protestant clergyman called to him on the night of a fearful blitz as Fr. Arbuthnott lay buried in the debris "Edmund, don't move," he said, and the minister prayed for him as men struggled for hours to release him. "I'm ready to die," Fr. Arbuthnott replied. But he lived to hear his story retold on the B.B.C.

Canon Arbuthnott is still wondering who suggested last Monday's telecast. "I've a suspicion Fr, Gordon Albion can explain," he said.

This is the first time that a Catholic personality, particularly a priest. has featured in this popular B.B.C. series.

Research work for the production of this programme was carried out by Mr. Liam Nolan, a 28-yearold Irish Catholic who lives in South London and has been nearly two years on the staff of BBC Television as a writer. Fr. Gordon Albion and Fr. Agneilus Andrew, O.F.M.. were also "in on the secret". second of Aidan Crawley's series "With Europe in View." The subject was "Is Morality OldFashioned?" and the priest was Fr. Dominic de Grunne.


This series uses Eurovision to enable several countries to take part in a discussion at the same time. Fr. de Grunne ably represented Britain with John Waine. France had one speaker and Italy two. The latter, I am afraid, did not show up very well. At the beginning of the programme their voices could not be heard at all, and when they did start joining in the discussion it was difficult to make out what they were saying. This kind of cross-channel talking is interesting mainly because it does seem wonderful that we can see people talking to each other across such a vast table. But the programme time is again too short for any real conclusions

to be reached. Is Morality OldFashioned?"-1 still don't know.

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