§ 7. Mr. Mayhew
asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many filmed programmes are now available for the teaching of English by television overseas.
§ Mr. Mayhew
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman, first, why, in this increasingly important field, the Americans have been allowed to build up such a strong lead; second, why the right hon. Gentleman has prohibited the B.B.C. from playing a part; and third, whether his prohibition extends to the commercial programme companies?
In reply to the first point, it is true that the Americans have been busy in this field and we are now—perhaps too late—getting busy in it. As to the second and third supplementary questions, there is no prohibition on the B.B.C. The Central Office of Information is the official body, as laid down in Command Paper 225, for the provision of such material, although, of course, it goes to documentary and other film companies and to the television bodies in order to get what it wants. In the case in question, the B.B.C. was invited to contract by the Central Office of Information. It declined so to do and the films were made by a programme company.
§ Mr. Mayhew
Can the right hon. Gentleman confirm that it is open to the B.B.C. to export these television programmes on teaching English to foreign countries?
The Question is about the preparation and manufacture of these 774 films. These films, when made available, will be available, of course, not only to foreign broadcasting stations but to anyone else who will help to give them a wider circulation.
§ Lady Tweedsmuir
Are larger sums going to be allocated, for example, to the British Council for the purpose of advising on the making of these films? The number of three seems to be very few considering the new countries which are starting up television.
Although the number is three, there will be, of course, very many prints, and the British Council is proposing to distribute these films to its posts in Australia, Burma, Ceylon, Chile, Greece, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Sweden, Thailand and Turkey.