19 JUNE 1953, Page 7

At Bay " But why is it called ' commercial

television' ?" enquired my friend from Ruritania.

"Because,' I said, " it will be controlled by private enterprise and partly used for advertising."

" Why then do you not talk about ` the commercial Press' ? "

" That's different," I said : adding, in the hope of creating a diversion, " In America the advertisers' announcements, called plugs, occur frequently and are often in poor taste." " So it is felt," continued the pestilential fellow, " that if something works badly in a foreign country it is certain to work badly here ?" " That's about it," I said.

" In Russia," the Ruritanian pointed out, " broadcasting is a State monopoly. Do you regard their system as satisfactory ?"

" No," I said. " But how do you reconcile • . . " " Stop !" I commanded him with an imperious gesture. " It is a quarter past four." And moving swiftly over to the wireless set I switched on " Mrs. Dale's Diary," fortissimo. He looked rather puzzled, but not much more than he usually does.