27 JANUARY 1956, Page 28

Late Night

THE Third Programme occasionally performs a useful function in giving us plays which we are unlikely to find in the theatre. Padraic Fallon's Diarinuid and Grainne ought to have been a good example; but the Third goes col- lectively daft at the mention of Ireland. The cast were more Oirish than the Irish; for by some misfortune, even actors who speak with a normal Irish accent in real life often affect an agonising brogue in plays (for that matter, English actors go stage-English, too).

The casting of Diarmuid and Grainne was wonderful in its eccentricity. Jack McGowran is a fine natural comedian, much neglected by myopic managements; to ask him to play King Cormac was like asking Frankie Howerd to play King Lear—though, mind you, he was making a good list at it up to the time, early on in the proceedings, when I switched off. unable to bear Adrienne Cord's Subtopian Grainne.

I have been watching some of the late night stuff on commercial television, as that is where good programmes go to before they die. The most recent casualty is Thursday's The Scientist Replies; apparently it did not sink to the level required by the science fiction devotees. I believe it is to be replaced by Maurice Goldsmith's programme; I apologise for mistitling him (see correspondence), but the company's publicity credited him with a Chair. Friday's Cine Holiday was a good and pleasant idea, showing some amateur produc- tions which have been entered for AR's film contest; and as a devoted admirer of Joan Sims and George Benson, I was delighted to see them in Here and Now, along with a promising blues singer. But straight revue does not 'take' on television; it generates no warmth. If, for example, the excruciating song 'There's a Glow in the Heart of West Riding' is to be sung by two young people who are ostensibly gazing over that district from a nearby peak, it is necessary that'the peak should not be so obviously a studio prop. A film of the West Riding, say, is needed to give verisimilitude.

The only programme I have come across which attempts thus to exploit the medium's possibilities is the Jack Jackson Show on Sunday night. The records he plays arc as tire- some as the visitors he introduces (among them, last Sunday that delinquent Liberace, Frank ie Vaughan). But the use Jackson makes of trick visual and sound effects is entertaining. I do not know if the programme's inventiveness,

ingenuity and technical skill are to be credited to him or to his co-producer; but it makes the hulk of television's basic slag, Commercial or Corporation, look incorrigibly amateur.