HC Deb 21 January 1953 vol 510 cc176-8
7. Mr. Murray

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General what arrangements he is making throughout the country to relay the televising of the Coronation procession; what is to be done in this connection for children to see the procession in safety; and if he will have this matter looked into, so that every available hall and cinema shall be utilised for television on 2nd June, 1953, and thus give that section of the public who have not been able to purchase a television set the opportunity of enjoying the procession.

Mr. Gammans

I am pleased to inform the House that special licensing arrangements will be made to enable the television broadcast of the Coronation ceremony and processions to be shown in halls, cinemas, or other public places, whether to paying or non-paying audiences. The showing of television programmes to paying audiences is not covered by the standard £2 broadcast receiving licence, and therefore with the full support of the B.B.C., who have consulted other interests concerned, my noble Friend will issue in due course a simple collective licence to cover the Coronation broadcast. I am informed that no copyright claims will be made by the Performing Right Society in respect of the public showing of the B.B.C.'s Coronation broadcast. So far as displays to non-paying audiences are concerned an ordinary licence held by the dealer supplying the apparatus will be held to cover on Coronation Day all the sets he installs for the occasion.

Mr. Murray

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that his reply will give great satisfaction throughout the country, especially to the children of the poor people who are unable to afford a television set? I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will receive the honour that is due to him on this occasion.

Mr. G. R. Howard

Can my hon. Friend say whether this will apply to West Cornwall, where people feel great disappointment that they will not be able to have the television facilities which other parts of the country have?

Mr. Gammans

I am sorry; but obviously this arrangement will not apply to any part of the country that cannot receive the television programme.

Mr. Ness Edwards

While associating myself with what my hon. Friend the Member for Durham, North-West (Mr. Murray) has said about these excellent arrangements, may I ask the hon. Gentleman what is to be the charge for the collective licence, and will any general conditions be laid down as to its use?

Mr. Gammans

No; there will be no charge for the collective licence. It will simply mean that on the day of the Coronation there can be public showing of the Coronation procession and ceremony either to paying or non-paying audiences without any formalities.

Mr. Ness Edwards

But surely the public are to be safeguarded against exploitation, and if the free use of this transmission is to be permitted in the case of paying audiences surely some conditions are to be laid down to prevent the paying public from being exploited?

Mr. Gammans

What I envisage as likely is that arrangements will be made by local authorities and voluntary bodies for the public showing of the Coronation broadcast, and I hope that in that way the public will be safeguarded.

Dr. Bennett

Will my hon. Friend not now permit the establishment by voluntary bodies or private firms of temporary relays so that Portsmouth and the Solent area may be able to receive these transmissions for the benefit of cinema showing?

Mr. Gammans

I congratulate my hon. Friend on coming back to the charge by a back door, but he will appreciate that that point really does not arise out of this question.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

In view of the continued and great disappointment which this will cause to Aberdeen, could not the Assistant Postmaster-General recommend that the Coronation procession should pass through Aberdeen?

Mr. Paget

When the hon. Gentleman comes to consider the conditions of these licences, would he include a stipulation that anywhere where there is payment there shall be cheap seats for children?

Mr. Gammans

That, I think, really does not concern the Post Office. It is a matter for local authorities, voluntary bodies and individuals who will undoubtedly be arranging for public showing of the procession on Coronation day, and I think it is at that level that the hon. and learned Member's representations should be made.

Mr. Manuel

Could the Assistant Postmaster-General arrange that where a collective licence is being issued a condition ought to be that there should be no charge made for the show to which the licence applies?

Mr. Gammans

That would possibly limit the showing to the transmissions. There is bound to be expenditure in showing them in certain places.