17 MAY 1957, Page 7

NO SOONER does the Independent TV Authority do something sensible—backing

Associated Re- diffusion's broadcasts to schools—than it spoils the effect by doing something really silly in objecting to the proposed films on the achieve- ments of British industry, sponsored by the Institute of Directors. The Authority was right to make its position clear by warning the Institute not to try to make political capital out of the films; but its objections apparently went farther than that. Why this sudden determination to keep to the strict letter of the TV Act? I have not noticed that the Authority is so scrupulous in relation to some of its other programmes: in spite of the rules against sponsoring, the News of the World has been allowed a programme in which to plug the News of the World. Still, I must congratulate the Authority, and Associated Re- diffusion, on the schools broadcasts. Even if the early broadcasts are not conspicuously sue- ccssful, the basic idea is sound : to encourage children to observe, rather than to try to teach; them examination subjects. I am sure AR were right, too, to go ahead and produce the best pro- grammes they can, and trust that their merits will attract audiences. The BBC's protracted and largely futile consultations with all the appro- priate authorities, many of whom were prejudiced against schools television from the start, achieved no worthwhile results, and have merely led to the Corporation being second in the race.