HC Deb 02 December 1959 vol 614 cc1177-8
34. Mr. Holland

asked the Postmaster-General if he will use his powers under Section 9 (2) of the Television Act, 1954, to direct the Authority to refrain from broadcasting in apparently documentary style any fictional matter casting an adverse light upon the officers of Her Majesty's Prison Service.

Mr. Bevins

The Authority tells me that both it and the programme company regret that the dialogue of a recent play contained remarks which seemed to cast an unfair reflection on the Prison Service as a whole, though it says there was no intention of presenting a misleading picture of the Prison Service. Specialist advice on this series is now being obtained and the Authority and programme contractors are watching the matter carefully.

Mr. Holland

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the programme in question, namely, "Probation Officer" televised on 23rd November at 9.35 p.m., caused considerable concern to numbers of my constituents who are giving devoted service in Her Majesty's Prison Service at Wormwood Scrubs under very difficult and often hazardous conditions?

Mr. Bevins

Yes. If I were a prison officer I should have been angry with certain things which were said in that programme, but I assure my hon. Friend that processes are now under way whereby I hope that the Authority will be able to make amends for that.

Mr. Ness Edwards

Is it not a good thing that the B.B.C. has apologised for its departure from the usual high standard of its documentaries, and should not that in itself be some consolation to those men who feel hurt by what was said?

Mr. Bevins

There is a slight misunderstanding here. The Authority was the Independent Television Authority.