HC Deb 10 March 1954 vol 524 cc2218-20
13. Mr. Hayman

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General what representations he has received regarding the quality of the British Broadcasting Corporation's radio reception in West Cornwall; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Gammans

Representations have been made recently by a number of hon. Members, and by local authorities and others. Reception of the Home Service in the Redruth area was improved last October, when a low-power transmitter opened there. Elsewhere in West Cornwall improved reception depends on the provision of V.H.F. sound broadcasting, but I am afraid it is too early to say when such a service can be provided there.

Mr. Hayman

Will the Assistant Postmaster-General bear in mind that although Penryn in my constituency is only about seven miles from the Redruth transmitter, the reception is very poor indeed, and that the clerk to the West Penwith Rural District Council, writing officially, states that the conditions in West Cornwall are appalling? Will he give an undertaking that V.H.F. will be introduced before either commercial television or alternative television in any other part of the country?

Mr. Gammans

Very high frequency and commercial television have nothing whatever to do with each other. I am well aware that in parts of Cornwall, as in other parts of the country, sound reception is very poor, and that the only remedy is the introduction of V.H.F.

14. Mr. R. J. Taylor

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General if he is aware that the wavelength of 434 metres is of no use in the Morpeth area, and that when it was announced on 27th February, 1954, at 9.15 p.m. that those who wish to listen to "Saturday Night Theatre" should tune in to the above mentioned wavelength instead of 261 metres, inconvenience was caused to those listeners who can only rely on 261 metres for any kind of a reception; and what action he proposes to take in the matter.

Mr. Gammans

This change of wavelength was made by the B.B.C. at the last moment, and they regret the inconvenience which may have been caused to listeners in North-East England. The normal wavelength of 261 metres was used for a substitute programme which, I understand, was a boxing match of particular interest to Northern Ireland.

Mr. Taylor

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that I put this Question down on account of the widespread dissatisfaction in the North of England at the abrupt changing of this programme on the night of 27th February, switching the broadcast of the Saturday night play to 434 metres from 261 metres, which meant that the people in the North-East were deprived of their Saturday night play, to which they look forward as one of the B.B.C.'s popular programmes? As there are 1,636,248 sound licences in the North-East, it is safe to assume that about five million people were disappointed. How long is this to go on? How long have we got to be tied up to Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland tied up to us, so that we lose our plays?

Mr. Gammans

This change is not made by the Post Office but by the B.B.C. on its own volition. If it occurs frequently and not as an isolated occurrence, then I think something will have to be done about it.

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