28 AUGUST 1964, Page 10

Spectator's Notebook

I RARELY comment on par- ticular TV programmes. Normally I stick to simple and widely accepted gener- alities such as 'The BBC must go.' But a recent re- view of ten years of Euro- vision opened my eyes. At last I understand how the superb technical efficiency of the BBC engineers and the excellence of (most of) their producers can co-exist with such frightening amateurism at the top. The answer is that the high held 'uns don't really believe television exists. Over their evening cocoa they still swap tales of 2L0 or even of the magic lantern. How else explain the interminable shots of the torch- bearer at the Winter Olympic Games going on —and on, and on and up and up and up while (with the aid of maps) we were told over and over again that this was actually seen at the same time (would you believe it?) by viewers in Spain and Ireland and Russia and Scandinavia —pause—inside the Arctic Circle? And then we kept switching from the torchbearer to a moving picture of a simple Norwegian family, inside the Arctic Circle, of course, watching the man going on and on, etc. But where was Father? Pb, the sheer cunning of the BBC! He was being held back for an action shot. Presently in he came to his simple Norwegian homestead to be greeted with a glad cry from his children and the Scandinavian equivalent of 'Welcome home, dear papa, from your hard day's work log- rolling or whatever and come and see this won- derful moving picture of a man going on and on and on and on and up and up and up, and take no notice, dear papa, of the television camera in the corner which is to show everyone how surprised we are at being able actually to see this man going . .

And then we moved to Dimbleby. 'I am actually standing here in Berlin' (and he was, dear reader, he was) 'and here is the actual frontier marked by a nail in the street.' And he bent down (he did, dear reader, he did) and do you know you could actually see the nail. 'On this side of the nail,' and the chubby index finger moved tentatively into East Germany, 'a man dare not speak his mind. But on this side . . . ' and proudly the finger rejoined the ranks

of the free, . . he can.'

And so, 'Itch, to Dimbleby compering the Vatican. 'The scene you have just witnessed was actually taking place [pause for reverent glance at his fingernails] as you saw it.'

If you,don't believe me, ask the good Sir Hugh for a copy of the script. And if there is any difficulty, just mention my name.