26 FEBRUARY 1972, Page 18

How Reverend?

From: Dr John A. H. Wylie

Sir: Some weeks ago you lent me me generously of your space to state my views concerning some of the televisual fare proferred by the BBC. May I impose further upon your hospitality, this time more briefly, publicly to castigate the Corporation for slipshod misuse of

the style ' The Reverend which it allows to recur time and time again both on the air and, as if to compound the solecism in print, in Radio Times Even the histionically, if not always historically, impeccable Mr Robert Hardy referred in 'In Darkest Africa ' to The Reverend Dugmore (?),' whereas he would, I am quite certain, never permit himself to say 'Dame Robson' or 'Sir Gielgud.'

Properly, The Reverend and a surname should be separated by a first name, an initial or other qualifying title: viz The Rev John or J. Smith, The Rev Dr or Professor Smith, the Rev Lord Smith, the Rev Father Smith or, faute de mieux, the Reverend Mr Smith but never, please never, The Reverend Smith.

John A. H. Wylie

9a Portland Place, Brighton.