14 JULY 1961, Page 18


Spot the Difference


FORSTER WHY not a special panel game for the Pillcington Committee, to be called Spot the Differ- ence? For with the new regime in Shepherd's Bush apparently determined to play ITV's game by competing on the same ground—which is to say ground of the latter's determining—the pattern of programmes is ossifying fast into similarity; quality equated with minority, and usually placed either early or late in the evening, and the emphasis broad and wide at peak hours with, as a result, less concern about quality.

Not surprisingly ITV is winning—they can even permit themselves the luxury of more and more varied home-produced peak-hour products, knowing that the BBC's mentality is unfitted for this particular game, and that the Corporation is likely to react by throwing into the breach a revival of an old costume play, That Lady, as it did last Sunday, or by giving over most of Stin' day evening to the tripe of Pandora and tht Flying Dutchman, product of some film deli about which the Corporation's business peoPp doubtless feel rather smug.

Last Monday evening indicated the balance,' Each side produced two hours of filmed Amen' cana—one fifty-minute Western each, and tOld other half-hours each, none of it very striking. I° fact nobody could claim that Des and Crurteht which BBC offered as the first item, was in a,rIY way superior buying to Saber of London V11.? which ITV hastened one's desire to go to li,(1" The former is a new BBC series in which Forrei° Tucker is skipper of a small boat involved II; adventures off the Florida coast—the kind O low-budget quickie in which the production .0 so careless that a back-projected sea heaves MO not a strand is dislodged of the long hair of 4,1° girl standing in a studio boat. How disdain!, BBC used to be when ITV showed this sort thing. Granada's Coronation Street on the sag° eveniiig seemed to consist of four houses—% a public, where the barmaid was having troti with a rude landlord, another a draper's sh?! where the sententious proprietor was making woman assistant do all the work, a third where gossipy virago never opened her front door 10; to trouble, and a fourth where a youth practis his guitar and a young girl befriended a runa01 from an approved school. Having heard entho5; iastic reports, I was rather disappointed: TA, aim is plainly to catch audience interest making people identify themselves more than usual with the characters of the fiction, anti, dare say it is all real enough, though the Ord haviour of the landlord may well have strain., the credulity of the drinking classes. The dialaw was nicely heightened (`Shall we partake of herb?' says the draper, suggesting tea), but 1Pf four little dramas simmered without giving oril sense of coming up to the boil, and if one doesfico , care by the end of the programme, it is el harder to care again next week.

ATV's new slice-of-life serial goes into Store territory with Harpers (of Bazaar faincot Written by Owen Holder, last week's epis° made a crude and rather irritating stab at illtj colour-bar problem by introducing a colourer girl assistant to Harpers for the first time And oh, what misunderstandings, and what pathetic white girl assistants, and what a manageress, and what an insulting menistiner who provoked the final explosion! But Harpers is apparently the kind of store whereo,' junior accosts an assistant manager in the teen and asks him for the loan of a quid °P Friday. It could never happen in Harrods.