Television is seen. The “balanced” picture is visually honest, as precise as careful preparation and skilled presentation can achieve. Television combines sound and verbal integrity.
So-called “serious” programmes form a group which is much admired (and much misunderstood) We believe that serious subjects can be dealt with responsibly and intelligently while gaining in impact by lively and entertaining presentation. Being serious does not call for pomposity.
Many ATV programmes have demonstrated how a lively approach can grip the viewers’ attention by stimulating thought and opinion.
Cultural programmes need not be rarified by fussy TV treatment! Ability to blend information with alert treatment has been demonstrated consistently by Sir Kenneth Clark in his programmes on art and architecture and by Alan Taylor, the Oxford don whose history lectures (given without notes, illustrations or backgrounds) set new standards in the vast field of informative broadcasts.
No “opinion” programme has been more successful than “Free Speech”, with its discussions laced by frank exchanges and lively personalities.
Topicality is admirably served by “Right to Reply” and “The Warning Voice”. Its interests have been strongly represented in the Midlands by such surveys of current affairs as “Midland Affairs” and “Midland Grouses”. “Midland Montage” continues to supply features which give the background to the news, and “Look Around” has won esteem as a regional documentary.
The range of topical and documentary features is comprehensive. ATV has turned the searchlight of inquiry on many subjects of profound public importance.
They include “Prison Officer”, “Abortion”, “Polio”, “Eichmann” and major studies of the American way of life. These, under the title of “Main Street, U.S.A.” and “The New Americans” were screened immediately before and after the Presidential Election.
In “Mockba Moscow” ATV broadcast the first full uncensored pictures of life in Moscow as Muscovites went about their ordinary duties.
In dealing with subjects of special regional interest we believe that all assignments should be treated as fully and carefully as inquiries which find their way onto the national network. A good example of careful preparation was provided by “The Fighting Midlands…”, a series in which General Sir Oliver Leese discussed and illustrated the history, campaigns and honours of famous Midland county regiments.
ATV were pioneers in the widely-praised dramatisation of social documentary programmes. These include “Emergency – Ward 10” (the screen’s most successful and longest-running serial), “Probation Officer”, the “Deadline Midnight” stories about life in a national newspaper office and “Harpers West One”, a series about day to day events in a London store — on both sides of the counter.