20 MAY 1955, Page 22


WE shall hardly know until after the election whether wireless and television have had much effect on voters, If you pay attention to what is written on the subject you might conclude that the electors are being bored into even greater apathy by the election broadcasts. But if you trouble to inquire from election agents in different parts of the country you may be told, ' as I have been told, that although broadcasts tend to cut down numbers attending meetings they also make people more interested in arguing and asking questions.

The two party television broadcasts this week were well done. 1 wondered why Labour bothered to create trade names like 'Creino' and 'Solvo' in their shop-window dressing while giving what might have been a vrtjuable advertisement to Lyons Tea if it had

n turned out to be merely a cheap stunt. I doubt if it deceived many viewers. Dr. Sum-

merskill looked well but I wished she had com- pleted her heartrending account of how children are eating less fish by telling us how much meat they cat. Technically the Conserva- tive broadcast the next night was much more difficult to put across and considering its greater complication was much better pro- duced. I had doubted if five Ministers and ten editors (originally twelve, but two were ill) could possibly be seen and heard in thirty

minutes but it went smoothly. Mr. Hugh Cudlipp of the Daily Mirror and Mr. Michael Curtis of the News Chronicle were the best of the questioners but there was nothing to choose between Sir Anthony Eden, Mr. Butler, Mr. Macleod, Mr. Macmillan and Sir Walter Monckton for straight answering, Sunday's What Every Woman Knows seemed somehow to slip through the net which

the BBC casts round the discussion of politics at election times. I have not been able to find any candidate by the name of John Shand, but surely if the Corporation is being so careful it might have been expected to shy off a play which not only portrays an election, with posters, but lets us into some of the secrets of speech writing? It was another reminder of how unwise it is to neglect Barrie. Gordon Jackson and Barbara Mullen played the parts as though they had been written only the other day which, even when putting them in costume, is the right way to tackle Barrie's pieces.

Thunder Rock on Tuesday had some modern allusions dragged in to give the impression that

it was written only the other day instead of in 1939, but they did not spoil the play. If it was worth doing, though, it deserved more than an hour of the viewers' time. I have always found it the most convincing of plays with dead people in them, but the producer, Rudolph Cartier, took a big risk when he tried to intro-

duce a doublecamera trick at the end. Any attempt to make the dead look like ghosts is