4 NOVEMBER 1972, Page 26



Clive Gammon

When Heritage (BBC 2, to be repeated this Friday) trumpeted itself on to the box at teatime on Saturday I was still numb with the trauma of watching the All-Blacks flatten Western Counties in their first match of the tour and the thought in my mind was that if things go on like this I might have to auction my coveted pair of stand tickets for the Wales-New Zealand game at Cardiff next month. Dammit, if my heart can bleed for alien Gloucestershire and Somerset, what is it going to be like watching the dismemberment of Wales? Llanelli has since restored hope; but even amid Saturday's pain I could still appreciate the professionalism of the commentator, Bill McLaren who, season in, season out, is unobtrusively authoritative and informative in a way no soccer commentator has ever managed to be.

And so, as I say, to Heritage which seemed from the titles and early moments to be the timely sedative I needed, in spite of it looking a bit like animated travel posters from BOAC's window on Fifth Avenue what with all those plume-shaking horseguards. TV cameras ,for the first time, the Radio Times promised, had been allowed to record an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace (" Guests may not applaud, or move about, or stand up during the ceremony. But they may quietly talk among themselves ").

This vicarious guest, though, was soon moving about in a restless and irritated fashion. As twenty-five minutes of hardhitting republican propaganda this would have been hard to match. Robert Hardy reverentially showed us the actual route to be taken by the lucky recipients of various gongs and sashes as they made their way over the lovely carpets to the lovely state ballrooms to a school prize-giving writ large. The big-timers came first: the Director of the Medical Branch of the RAF went smartly down on one knee and was processed into knighthood (I suppose for being good at making sure that airmen got the right medicine); Mr Cecil Beaton, distinguished in grey tails and a lily-of-thevalley buttonhole ("I'm not a carnation man," the Radio Times said he said) was similarly honoured for being a good photographer. Away down the list was Private Bennett who got a small, otherranks medal and no sash for gallantry in Belfast. And since all this was too boring even to fill twenty-five minutes, the programme had to be eked out with film of the Caernarvon Castle charade of a few years ago when the Queen, you'll recollect, gave Wales to Prince Charles.

It was like being whisked back to the Crawfie 'fifties. Either this sort of mumbojumbo should be left in a decent obscurity or looked at with a colder eye. But I don't suppose the cameras would have been allowed in, in that case. On the subject of real heritage, though, what a fine film was The Making of the English Landscape (BBC 2). Unpatronising and visually delectable.

Not delectable was the much-heralded Cannon (BBC 1) (" Frank Cannon, a big man who walks alone in a dangerous world."). Cannon is meant to be different from your run-of-the-mill Eye. Well, yes, he is fat and he puffs when he runs, and the first episode let us know that he has a fine palate for Californian burgundy-type. Otherwise he is as plastic as any other transatlantic telly tec. And so, evidently, will be the series.