10 JANUARY 1964, Page 13


Vale. I for one shed tears. One tear anyway. The decline and fall of this splendid programme is sad. Hugh Carleton Green (member of the Establishment, Knight, and the best of luck) says that it has to come off because 1964 is an election Year. This of course is nonsense. No one knows better than the Director-General of the BBC that the decline led to the fall. When the programme returned after its break it was sadly weaker in ideas and the new content of the programme was inadequate. Perhaps the answer is that television eats everything, that nothing on the goggle box can ever last at the highest level. Of course TW3, even in its first phase, was often crude. Of course it was usually too long. But it was rarely dull and it was salty, malicious, arrogant and often very very funny. I have long been an admirer of this pro- gramme and indeed said in a debate in the House of Commons, when winding up for the Government, that I was a fan 'with one excep- tion.' Bernard Levin in the next edition of TW3 made great play with this. He ended by asking in his mock menacing voice what my exception Was and when I was going to disclose it. A few moments later the phone rang. I knew who it Was before I answered.

'Hello, Randolph.'

'Ho,' said Randolph, 'and what is your one exception?'

'Bernard Levin. I think he is a brilliant writer, but hopelessly miscast on that particular pro- gramme.'

Can I send them a telegram to tell them?' 'Certainly,' I said. And I suppose Randolph did.