10 JANUARY 1964, Page 18


SIR,—In his grand slam at BBC Television last week Christopher Booker was rather unfair to those of us in both the BBC and 1TV who were present at the annual awards dinner of the Guild of Television Producers and Directors on November 22 last.

'When Kennedy dies,' says Mr. Booker, 'the top executives are all too busy receiving meaningless awards at the Dorchester to keep the nation informed.'

First, all those whose job in television is to keep the nation informed left the Dorchester as soon as they heard the news of President Kennedy's death— and did a lot of pretty creditable work in the follow- ing hours and days.

Secondly, it was no more the fault of top executives this year that the President's death happened to coincide with the dinner than it was that the dinner of a few years ago happened to coincide with the Lewisham train disaster.

Thirdly, if Mr. Booker thinks that the Guild's awards are meaningless he might think again when he realises that they have nothing to do with the popularity in the usual sense or with publicity in any sense but are the result of professionals in television judging the work of fellow professionals. The Guild recognised the talent of, for example, Donald Bayer- stock and the brilliance of his programme Tonight (Mr. Booker lavishly praises both in his article) when it made awards to Mr. Baverstock as long ago as 1957 and 1958 and the Guild, this year, gave a special award to That Was The Week That Was.


Chairman, Guild of Television Producers 80 Great Portland Street, London, W1