They Say… April 1959


The critics and the public weigh in on Associated-Rediffusion

Cover of 'Fusion' 6
From Fusion 6 in 1959

‘I believe you are the right person I should write to on the following matter. It concerns the film entitled ‘Christmas in Cyprus’, which as you know was made out here largely under the direction of Peter Hunt, and shown over your network on Christmas Day in England.

‘You have very kindly sent us a 35 mm copy of the film and this has been seen by a large number of the security forces in Cyprus. I would like you to know what a very good impression indeed this film has made; it does not overstate the case and it shows very vividly the part played by the Security Forces. I am sure that it has been a big factor in raising the morale of the soldiers.

‘I would, therefore, like to thank you very much for all the trouble taken in preparing this film and for your kindness in letting us have a copy.’

Letter to Captain Brownrigg from Major-General Kenneth Darling, Director of Operations in Cyprus.



‘It is so very nice of you to reply to my letters. I expect you think it is quite mad for a happily-married mother to be writing after photos of TV heroes. But at least it proves what a good job you are all doing. Keep it up!’

Jean Swain, Coventry (Viewer’s letter to programme correspondence).


‘Congratulations and thanks for these very fine programmes. Daniel Farson’s interview with (R.C.) Fr. Christie; “The Killing of the King” – First Class!!!’

Edward O’Hara, Yorks. (Viewer’s postcard).



‘Yet for all the fortune he has made in Associated-Television he is still a man of the people. His humour is lusty. His manners are adequate, but not impeccable. When he goes up to his close-carpeted suite in Television House he will still pat the lift boy on the back and know his Christian name.’

Extract from Daily Express story on Mr Lew Grade. We have been asked to deny reports that as a result lift boys are now going to be employed.



‘I would like you to know how much I appreciated your “Hallé at Work” programme. I thought the sound was handled particularly well.’

Viewer’s ‘phone call to Night Duty Officer.
Director: Cyril Coke; sound balancer, Tony Couch.


‘The lady in the programme should be shown off a bit more because she is good looking.’

A 14-year-old boy’s comments on Muriel Young’s appearance in ‘Lucky Dip’.


‘As it turned out we were given a production which can truly be called distinguished. Ronald Marriott directed with the deftest blending of sensitivity and passion, and the acting was good down to the humblest member of the 40-strong cast.’

Denis Thomas, Daily Mail on ‘The Killing of The King’.


‘Please forgive this rather long letter, I know you are busy, but being a strong supporter of commercial TV long before it became a reality, I feel I must let you know my observations of the viewing public.

‘I am an insurance agent and have to call on people in their homes and as my pet subject is TV I know you would be pleased to know that 90 per cent of the people who have a choice of programmes choose ITV. But the biggest let down is the much vaunted ‘‘Play of the Week”’.

‘In contrast, “Film of the Week” is very popular and the general opinion is a film is better than the average play…. So take less notice of M.P.s and enemies of ITV, many of whom haven’t a TV set.’

Letter from Tooting viewer.



‘Being a young housewife whose main pleasures are derived from a three-year-old son and a one-year-old TV set, you may be sure that my choice in programmes is confirmed to those which give the highest degree of entertainment.

‘Therefore, although I have never in all my days written to any personality (not even in my film-struck teenage days) I felt that I must write to you on a superb programme “Look In” which has only one fault – it is too short! Hoping you will continue indefinitely to give myself and others so much pleasure for many a Tuesday evening to come.’

Letter to Michael Ingrams from Mrs Lois D. Morris, Middlesex.


‘Why not have a separate channel for kids. That would suit everybody and please all of us. If that fails, the other alternative rests with the parents. Why do they allow the kids to sit up? They seem to be allowed to do as they please. That is why there is so much delinquency about.’

Letter from Redhill, Surrey, viewer complaining about ‘Mark Saber’ being taken out of the early evening because of the large number of children viewing.



‘I like “Lucky Dip” because you get so many personalities.

I have never written to “Lucky Dip” before because today was the first time I have seen it.’

Young Isle of Wight viewer.


‘Usually the show succeeds: it has some of the drive and guts of Fleet Street, and is not afraid of being brash now and again. I think most viewers would welcome a quarter of an hour’s extension here.

Henry Turton, Punch, on ‘This Week’.


“This Week” turned from men to rabbits and gave us one of those cleverly-cut interviews with children which grip the heart.’

Colin Frame, The Star.
Director: Sheila Gregg; interviewer: Michael Nelson; scriptwriter: Colin Willock.


‘… the people who put on television entertainment have a sense of responsibility appropriate to those who pour shows nightly into the home, where children may be watching. After inquiry into current stage plays I reject with scorn all complaints about TV violence and puerility.’

L. Marsland Gander, Daily Telegraph.


‘I want to hand a belated pat on the back to Associated-Rediffusion…. Associated-Rediffusion was the first company to transmit commercial television programmes in Britain and it has been well aware of its responsibilities in the field of culture from the start. One of its first acts was to place the Hallé Orchestra under long-term contract and for nearly five years it has featured this orchestra in televised performances and on the concert platform. AR-TV also embarked on the ambitious scheme for staging classical plays at the Saville Theatre and, after short runs, transferring them to the television screen. The company is now offering more life drama than any other programme contractor.

The half-hour news feature programme, ‘This Week”, has been maintained in a peak-hour time every week since January, 1956. AR-TV also introduced the first regular television broadcast for schools ever seen in Great Britain, but the Beaverbrooks and the Mayhews prefer to forget about the good things and think only of the Westerns, the variety shows and the advertisements.

‘The Beaverbrook Press has backed many losers in its time but its campaign against television may well turn out to be its biggest failure.’

Ernest Kay, Time and Tide.


With all these faults the play still had some highly entertaining moments. Gladys Young (Aunt Ben) was a delight, and the meetings of the Irish M.P.’s full of life. Costumes and camera work excelled.’

Dick Sear, Daily Mirror, on ‘Parnell’, Play of the Week.
Director: David Boisseau; Costumes designed by Ernest Hewitt; Cameras manned by Vic Gardiner, Jeff Sheppard and the rest of crew 1.



Illustrations by Geraldine Spence

About the author

'Fusion' was the quarterly staff magazine for Associated-Rediffusion and Rediffusion Television employees.

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