21 JUNE 1963, Page 19


Not to Wallow


FOR some years now I have been seeing shocked complaints from parsons and county coun- cillors about the quantity of X-type sex on television, and for years 1 have been rushing to the set to get a plateful, only to find that my receiver wasn't picking up the juicy transmissions which these other blokes get all the time. The past week or so, however, has compensated for all past deficiencies. Practically every programme except Magoo has been sizzling with the wonder ingredient, and I almost begin to suspect that there is a top-level con- spiracy to put us ofl sex by.drowning us in it. The most confusing contribution came from Lord Hailsham. I haven't fed his remarks into the computer yet, but from my own confused recollection, he seems to have indicated that the Christine Whatsername scandal was actually the work of a clergyman, who started it off by publicly championing Lady Chatterley's Lover. Well, we all knew that until the Chatterley trial, sex was confined to dirty foreigners, but it does take television to make these truths clear to the masses.

Almost at once we got Peter Draper's new play, A Sickening Thud (ITV), which was fairly roaring with intimations of lust (among the Welsh, of all people!). Mr. Draper at his best is magnificent, and this was just about his best, though I feel there may be some moral danger in making us laugh about sex. The correct British attitude, surely, should be reverent disgust.

This Week, after following everybody else into a good wallow with Miss Thingummyjig, switched to a rather apprehensive discussion of Sex and the Single Girl, from the book of the same name. Many tongues hovered on the brink of a really filthy word (virginity—there, I've said it) and it was boldly suggested that a girl could, er, know, several men without ending up as a broken blossom; and also that the modern girl attached no financial or status significance to preserving her, er, er, and then there was another ITV programme on venereal disease.

The last, a World In Action special, almost convinced me that the heart of the nation is sound. The facts were terrifying, and stated with the vivid simplicity which is the trade-mark of the programme. Most alarming was the increase in VD among adolescents. A fourteen-year-old who was with me at the time watched in gape- mouthed concentration, in fact; but he reported later that on polling his contemporaries, he found that all their parents had brusquely switched off as soon as the programme started.

Television may be hipped on sex, you see; but the ordinary British man is too well-balanced to allow such filth into his home to corrupt his kids with knowledge.