HC Deb 23 March 1955 vol 538 cc2053-6
7. Mr. E. Johnson

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General if he is aware that reception of the Welsh Regional programme is unsatisfactory in Manchester; and if he will take such action as may be necessary to bring about an improvement.

Sir. E. Boyle

The primary concern of the British Broadcasting Corporation in regard to the Welsh programme is of course to make it available in Wales, and in my hon. Friend's reply of the 2nd February to the hon. Member for Anglesey (Mr. C. Hughes) he described the present difficulties in doing so. Manchester lies outside the normal range of the transmitters used for the Welsh Service, and the British Broadcasting Corporation considers that special measures to extend its coverage, even if these were possible, would not be justified.

Mr. Johnson

Is it true to say that all the difficulty is due to interference from stations in Eastern Europe? Is the hon. Gentleman aware that many Welshmen do not like to get their programmes from East of the Iron Curtain? Is it not possible to alter the B.B.C. wavelengths in order to overcome this interference?

Sir. E. Boyle

It is true that there is an East German station pirating the Welsh frequency. The present position in that matter is that a reply from the Soviet High Commissioner is still awaited. The B.B.C. has written to the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Watkins), who has particularly interested himself in this Question.

Mr. Ness Edwards

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that we are also sinners in this respect, and especially the Americans? We are all pirating on the Continent of Europe, and it is unfair to place the responsibility entirely on the East Germans and the Soviet authorities. That excuse has been put forward too often.

Sir. E. Boyle

I was not doing that. I was answering the Question that the hon. Gentleman put to me.

26. Mr. Grimond

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General what steps he is taking to improve reception of British Broadcasting Corporation services in Orkney and Shetland.

Sir. E. Boyle

The B.B.C. informs me that, owing to the distance from the transmitters and to interference from a Spanish station, it is difficult to give completely satisfactory service in Orkney and Shetland, but that in spite of this reception is reasonably satisfactory in the daytime. The Spanish authorities were last written to in December and the matter is being taken up with them again.

Mr. Grimond

Cannot something be done to strengthen and improve the transmitters? I am a constant listener in Orkney and I hear almost all European languages except Spanish. Is the hon. Gentleman certain that it is Spain which is causing the trouble? Cannot he make representations to Germany and Russia, which also seem to be causing interference?

Sir. E. Boyle

I will pass on that information, but I gather that the Scottish Home Service has been subject to varying degrees of Spanish interference since 1951.

33. Mr. Hurd

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General if he has considered the complaints made to him about the poor reception of the Home Service broadcasts in the Newbury and Hunger-ford district; and if he will now state what action is being taken to give satisfactory reception.

Sir. E. Boyle

Very little complaint has been made from this area, either to the Post Office or to the B.B.C. My noble Friend understands that the B.B.C.'s Home Service programmes are in general satisfactorily received in this district, though at night there is some fading, and some interference from abroad. We have taken up this interference with the countries concerned. The B.B.C. tell me that there is good reception of the Light and Third Programmes in the district.

Mr. Hurd

Is my hon. Friend not aware that my Question referred to the Home Service? Will my hon. Friend ask the Postmaster-General to have further talks with the B.B.C. and go to Newbury and Hungerford and try to listen to the Home Service in the evening? He will find it impossible to get any clear reception. Will he have further consultations?

Sir. E. Boyle

This is a difficult point because Newbury and Hungerford are both on the fringe of the service area of the London and West Regional Home Services. By day the reception of the London Home Service should be quite good, but the Newbury district is on the limits of the area in which no fading is evident at night, and consequently after dark the signal will not be very strong. We are doing our best, but this is a really difficult case.

Mr. Hurd

Should not there be a relay station there?

Sir. E. Boyle

I will ask my hon. Friend about that.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

On a point of order. Would not the difficulties in which the House was placed a little earlier at Question Time, relating to the desirability of original answers to Questions being given in this House instead of in another place, be resolved by giving my hon. Friend, whose answers today have been entirely satisfactory, the office of Postmaster-General?

Mr. Speaker

That certainly is not a point of order.