29 JANUARY 1972, Page 19

Pots and kettles

Sir,—Pots bearing a particularly heavy carbon deposit should beware of calling the kettle black. Last week Will Waspe drew attention to the fact that one of my television notices in the Times involved an error in naming a playwright; and he inferred from this that the playwright's relationship with the press was evidently cosy. ((Does anyone follow that reasoning?) He did not point out that the error appeared in only one regional edition of the paper before being corrected.

In the process, however, he gave my name as "Christ Dunley " — a title to which I do not even aspire, let alone actually bear. Lower down he managed to give a correct version of my surname. For the record my full name appears below; spelled correctly throughout, I trust.

In the same column it was stated that: "There is a gentlemen's (and, where necessary, a ladies') agreement between the TV companies and the TV critics that when the latter are invited to programme previews they don't knock the shows in advance."

During the two years I have been attending previews nobody—either in commercial television or at the BBC, or among other critics — has ever even hinted at such an agreement to me, and if they were ever to do so I should not pay the slightest attention. I should be most surprised if any other critic took a different attitude.

The lie can be given to this extraordinary piece of fantasy anyway by even a cursory glance at Elkan Allan's page of previews in the Sunday Times (probably the longest in the national press) or the few lines each day previewing the coming events in the Times (probably the shortest).

Chris Dunkley The Times, Times Newspapers Limited, Printing House Square,