HC Deb 14 December 1960 vol 632 cc402-3
24. Mr. Pentland

asked the Postmaster-General on how many occasions he has required the British Broadcasting Corporation to refrain from broadcasting plays or films containing inaccurate presentations of British industrial operations.

Mr. Bevins

None, Sir.

Mr. Pentland

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that, when such serious types of programme are televised, it should be the duty of the B.B.C. to see that they are factual productions? Is he aware that a recent production called "Pay Day" was an insult to both management and men in the mining industry, and that it presented an entirely inaccurate account of how a pit is worked under the Coal Industry Nationalisation Act and of the miners' conduct of trade union business at pit level? Is it not time that this industry's operations, and the lives of its communities, were properly dealt with by the B.B.C.?

Mr. Bevins

I have already said to the hon. Gentleman, in reply to an earlier Question, that this was intended to be a purely fictional work. It was a play, and as such it was not intended to be factual. But having said that, I do appreciate the feelings of the hon. Gentleman and of all people who work in the mining industry, and I am quite sure that what he has said today will have a good effect.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that we are now reaching a stage in which it is becoming increasingly difficult to get men into the pits, and that programmes of this kind, casting slurs on the miners, are of no help? If we have a crisis in the industry, which we might well have, it will have a serious effect on the country as a whole.

Mr. Bevins

I have tried to be fair and to put this matter in its proper balance. This play was seen by many people, and most people would regard it as a work of drama and not think of it as a reflection upon the mining community.