There was Cyril Bennett, beaming through his black-rimmed glasses and expounding the virtues of ‘The Young Tigers’, a series of nine programmes starting at the end of June and featuring Jack Hargreaves in interviews with nine people who made their mark in life before they were 30. Then he would switch the conversation round to the next Intertel programmes – two on the United States, one about its riches and the other about its poverty.
There was Guthrie Moir, seriously ramming home points about ‘Towards 2000 – The Britain We Make’, the educative series of 35 programmes which started on April 23, Shakespeare’s birthday.
There was Robert McPherson lecturing quietly on the double achievement of schools in launching ‘Cross Roads’, the first television religious series for schools, and ‘You and the World’, the first series for backward children, both to be started in the week beginning April 27.
There was Eric Maschwitz extolling the virtues of Donald Sinden as the new television vicar in ‘Our Man at St Mark’s’ and giving details of the new series ‘H.M.S. Paradise’, starting in the autumn.
There was Antony Kearey’s beard swotting through the smoke as he talked about the outstanding cast of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, scheduled for June 24. or of his plans for drama later this year, including Dostoyevsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment’.
In the afternoon it was the turn of the advertising agents to take the floor and get the feel of the new Rediffusion. The words ‘ratings’ and ‘cost per thousand’ broke above the swell of conversation. The massed ranks of the advertisement department who had taken over from the publicity department’s morning stint went into action. Better ratings, better programmes and a brighter prospect for advertisers… this was the theme.
In the evening on the television screen ‘No Hiding Place’ returned with two new sergeants. Cleo Laine swung through ‘Lyrics by Shakespeare’. The Play of the Week – ‘Finger on the Balance’ kept many people up late and schedules were torn apart so that a special tribute to General MacArthur could be inserted to prove that schedules are not inviolate and that topicality can, and does, get priority. Every programme from 8 p.m., apart from a party political broadcast, had been a Rediffusion origination. Incredible? No. Significant? Highly.