They Say… August 1959


The critics and the public weigh in on Associated-Rediffusion

Cover of 'Fusion' 7
From Fusion 7 in 1959

‘My wife and I would very much like to get tickets to see one of your programmes as we are trying to be in London for our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary on a second honeymoon. When we got married the only way we could get the family car for our honeymoon was to take my mother and family along, which consisted of a pet monkey and seven children. Most of our honeymoon was spent looking after the seven children and chasing the monkey who was always getting loose. We do hope if we can make it that the second honeymoon will be less eventful than the first.’

Letter addressed to ‘Commercial TV London, England’, from Greensboro, North Carolina, U.S.A.


‘A massive slice of ham was cut off by Associated-Rediffusion last night in the play “Family on Trial’’.’

Nancy Spain, Daily Express


‘“Family on Trial” was one of the most worthwhile ITV plays I have seen for a long time.’

Phil Diack, Daily Herald



‘Your programme is a very good one. I like it very much. I enjoy the music page best. Will you have some more animals because I like animals. I enjoy your programmes because there is a lot of variety in them. The programme is not too long. That is why I like it.’

Edenbridge, Kent, viewer, aged 9, on ‘Lucky Dip’.


‘I would be very interested to know who are the twelve most popular BBC television actresses considered by the BBC, in order of popularity and, also, I wondered if you could tell me if there is a new panel game to take the place of “What’s My Line?” If so when is it due to start.’

South Devon viewer’s letter addressed to Associated-Rediffusion – one of the few which we couldn’t answer


‘Surely the oddest thing about television is the fear, prejudice and open hostility which it seems to arouse. There is a widespread feeling among educated and responsible people that it is something more than a new means of communication; that it is a sinister influence undermining educational standards and social life.

‘I believe this to be nonsense, and I am certain that the same things were said about the printing press and other inventions in their nursery days.’

L. Marsland Gander, Daily Telegraph



‘As a member of Associated-Rediffusion’s Educational Advisory Council and a headmaster who has been using television programmes for schools since their inception in 1957, I was interested in your readers’ letters on schools TV.

‘It was reassuring to see that most of them agreed with the policy adopted in this country; namely, that at present television programmes for schools should be supplementary to the work of the teacher and make no attempt to replace him.

‘There is no danger of standardization, because teachers receive sufficient advance information – by means of Teachers’ Notes – to enable them to select and use programmes according to the particular needs of each class.

‘I, too, am “cool” about the closed-circuit “master-teacher” technique sometimes used in America. In this country the teaching profession still has a big job to do in making fuller use of the existing service and helping the two broadcasting organizations to produce the best possible programmes for schools.

Letter to News Chronicle from Fielden Hughes, Wimbledon



‘I should like, now that our bookings have temporarily come to an end, to thank you all for your most valued support and co-operation.

‘There is no doubt at all that this particular department is still fired with the old “pioneering” spirit, and the manner in which you nurse such a diverse range of peculiar products in each programme fills me with admiration.’

Letter from an advertising agency to advertising magazines.


‘Despite the slight discrepancies, Cyril Coke’s production extracted every ounce of entertainment from a smooth plot and a neat, if not witty, dialogue.’

Neville Randall – Daily Sketch, on ‘Skyline for Two’


‘By handling the main idea respectfully and playing down the marginal incidents, the director, Mr Cyril Coke, made something stilted and humourless of the whole.’

The Times


‘We have had our TV set for four months now and after looking in at your programmes almost every evening I thought I would like to thank you for such good entertainment. One hears people criticise television but I can only think they must be very hard to please. We have three young children so can very rarely go out of an evening. We think the children’s programmes are very good, our children will never miss any of them. Please thank everyone concerned for giving us such good viewing in such a friendly way.

Letter from Thornton Heath, Surrey, viewer



‘When I grow up I would like to be the mother of eleven athletic boys. Then I could start a football team of my own and sell them to Gateshead, because they need some help.’

Letter from 12-year-old Blaydon-on-Tyne viewer.


‘I would like to make a suggestion about the programmes when you get the extra viewing time. Is it possible to have a record programme similar to the one Joan Edwards used to introduce in the early days of commercial TV? There have also been some really good shows that could bear a repeat. How nice it would be to see the “Father Knows Best”, “Sir Lancelot” and other series we enjoyed so much over again.

‘I must be one of your most devoted TV viewers as I am handicapped and I pass many a happy hour watching TV. So you see I for one would welcome the extra hours of TV.

Letter from Dalton-in-Furness, Lancashire, viewer


‘Having viewed television both here and in Canada I have come to the conclusion that your network cannot be surpassed and I must thank you for the fine plays that we, the viewers, appreciate.’

Letter from viewer in Hyde Park Gate


‘As a play it held me just about as closely as an animated story in an American magazine and, oh, so seldom animated.’

Nancy Spain, Daily Express, reviewing ‘ The Winner’


‘“The Winner”, directed by David Boisseau, turned out to be one of the smoothest plays of the year.’

Richard Sear, Daily Mirror


‘Why must such delectable programmes as “Private Secretary”, “Dick and the Duchess”, and “African Patrol” be screened at such unreasonable time as 6.10 p.m.? They are fresh and amusing and such a change from the eternal westerns. At 6.10 p.m. housewives like myself are cooking dinner with one hand and putting the youngsters to bed with the other. It makes me hopping mad to have to miss them, just catching a glimpse in passing. Surely programmes such as “This Week” or “What the Papers Say” could be switched to this time instead. After all, although these programmes are interesting, I do not think it would seriously upset anyone to miss them.’

Letter from Leyton viewer


About the author

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

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