29 MARCH 1963, Page 8

The Culture Movement The real trouble with television is that

few people of intelligence find it easy to sustain serious interest in it for any length of time. It is this which has always left the way open for the commercial interest. Now the Society of Film and Television Arts has just submitted to the Postmaster-General its proposals for the amendment of the Government's Television Bill. This is to exempt from the proposed levy on the companies all expenditure on performers and writers (about £3,000,000 a year), the object being to enable companies to buy up writers and pro- ducers. give them contracts, and so presumably to produce better programmes of original and creative interest. Just as dealers buy up artists, cause them to produce too much, and drop them as soon their name is no longer of use to them?

I'm ays chary of people who are prepared to talk endlessly about artistic standards and it seems to me that we should wait until the 'cul- ture movement' actually produces something before we start giving tax reliefs for a break- through which may never take place. Particularly when the alternative source of revenue to the exchequer is likely to be an increase in the tele- vision licence.