18. Mr. Ian Gihnour
asked the Postmaster-General when the Government propose to authorise independent television to begin transmissions in colour.
§ Mr. Edward Short
I would refer the hon. Gentleman to the speech I made on Thursday in the debate on Motion for the Adjournment.
In view of the very small audience for B.B.C.2, the frequently bad reception and the possible other demands made upon it, is it not quite plain that it is utterly wrong that the right hon. Gentleman should go on preventing commercial television from transmitting in colour?
§ Mr. Short
There is another Question on the Order Paper about this; but it is not just a question of transmitting on 405. The fact which we have to face is that for very many years to come most viewers would receive the colour transmission in black and white, which does not give a good picture. We cannot justify spoiling the picture for the vast majority of viewers so that a small minority of people who can afford the very expensive set can have colour television, especially when colour television will be available on B.B.C.2 next year.
§ Mr. Short
There is another Question on this matter. What I am saying is that this is not the essential point. The essential point is that for very many years to come most people would receive colour transmission in black and white. The black and white picture from a colour transmission on 405 is not satisfactory. We cannot justify penalising the vast majority of viewers so that a wealthy minority can see colour television on two channels instead of one.