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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 33 No. 12. 5 August 1970

The 625 Line

The 625 Line

Image of David Smith

Stringalong with Gilbert Part II

In 1963 when it appeared that Harold MacMillan was about to fade into history (courtesy of Mr Profumo) the satirical magazine Private Eye launched a fund to have him preserved for British satire. This valiant prop-up job immediately came to mind at the sight of Gilbert Stringer's farewell last week—particularly in view of the quintessential parting shot that the lame duck D.G. fired off at the time. He must have been saving this quote for years before releasing it in all its fatuity. I submit it as follows:

"New Zealand television offers the best coverage and programmes of any single-channel service in the English-speaking world."

Highly subject opinionising apart, the plain fact is that the number of English-speaking countries left operating a single channel service can be counted on the fingers of a leprosy-ridden hand. This would tend to indicate that Gilby-Baby instinctively hedged his bets to the last.

Another alarming facet of his passing (also having MacMillanesque overtones) is that his successor Mr Sceats was chosen in a manner not entirely dissimilar to that of Alec Douglas-Home. All the competent men were democratically canvassed and democratically rejected leaving the shadowy timeserver to ooze back onto the stage. Not a good start and I get the impression that we ain't seen nothing yet.

Talking about seeing nothing, the Expo coverage of NZ National Day at Osaka proved something of a non-event featuring an open-air version of theatre of the absurd. Like I've always said: when you are given an open air stage the size of two rugby grounds the only honest thing to do is stage two rugby games. However consolation there is in the fact that bad though ours was, Aussie's was a damn sight worse.

The Commonwealth Games Reports have consistently proved the highlight of every single night's viewing, with the exception of the opening ceremony. Action all the way with technically perfect reproduction. Perhaps the choice of Christchurch as the venue for 1974 will provide some stimulus for a second channel in colour.

Ukridge. Most unusual for the BBC to misspell a name. They consistently missed off the initial "P"

Catchword, apart from being by far the best organised and smartly run party game on TV, has shown a glimmering of redeeming social value on other grounds. Any programme that can unearth a contestant who amongst other things fails to recognise Nikita Khruschev ("I know it began with 'K' ") and the theme from "Hello Dolly" is helping to weed out the mentally inferior members of society. Definitely required viewing for Parliamentary candidate selection committees and teacher studentship panels.